3/11/2012

Surprise additions to Forbes' billionaires list

ZAWYA

Forbes magazine released its annual tally of billionaires on Wednesday, reporting that a record 1,226 people around the globe have a net worth in the ten digits, an increase from last year of 1% in terms of numbers.
One made the list on the strength of girdle sales, another powered by electric sports cars. Still others lost billions or fell off the list altogether thanks to the weak global economy and the gyrations of financial markets.
About 441 list members lost wealth during the year, nearly equal to the 461 who expanded their fortunes and only a fraction, 180, held steady, according to the magazine.
The group's total combined net worth is up 2 percent at $4.6 trillion (Dhs16.8 trillion). The average worth of a list member is $3.7 billion (Dhs13.6 billion).

FAMILIAR FACES
The top of the list contains many of the same names from recent years.

Carlos Slim of Mexico remained the world's richest man for the third year in a row with a $69 billion fortune (Dhs253.3 billion), down $5 billion from last year. Forbes attributed the drop in Slim's fortune to the decline in share prices for regional cell phone carrier America Movil, his largest holding.

Bill Gates of Microsoft Corp. came in second at $61 billion (Dhs223.8 billion), up $5 billion as his company's shares hit a 10-year high. And Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway came in at third place with a $44 billion fortune (Dhs161.5 billion), down $6 billion from the prior year.

NEW NAMES
There were a number of interesting new faces on the list as well.
Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal and founder of Tesla Motors, joined the list as the world's 634th richest person as the value of stock in his electric car company rose. The widow of Apple's Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, took his spot on the list.
One of the most interesting additions to the list this year was Sara Blakely, the founder of women's slimming undergarments company Spanx Inc. At age 41, Blakely is the world's youngest self-made female billionaire.


BIGGEST LOSERS
It wasn't the worst year on record but a few billionaires on the list lost a pretty penny. Losses ranged from $100 million to $10.4 billion, according to the magazine. Of the 441 people who lost money, at least 81 people lost more than $1 billion.

The biggest loser was Lakshmi Mittal of India, owner of the world's biggest steel company. His net worth dropped $10.4 billion (Dhs38.1 billion), leaving him with $20.7 billion (Dhs75.9 billion).
He's still one of the richest men in Asia, but his company struggled with low demand and high costs. Other losers include Olega Deripaska of Russia, whose net worth is roughly half what it was last year as lower prices for aluminum and slowing demand hurt the stock price of his company, United Co.


Forbes magazine's top billionaires worldwide by rank in net worthCarlos Slim: $69 billion (Dhs253.3 billion), telecommunications
Bill Gates: $61 billion (Dhs 223.8 billion), Microsoft Corp.
Warren Buffett: $44 billion (Dhs161.5 billion), Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Bernard Arnault: $41 billion (Dhs150.5 billion), LVMH Moet Hennessy
Armancio Ortega $37.5 billion (Dhs137.6 billion), Zara International
Larry Ellison $36 billion (Dhs132.1 billion), Oracle Corp.
Eike Batista $30 billion (Dhs110.1 billion), mining and oil industries
Stefan Persson $26 billion (Dhs95.4 billion), clothing chain H&M
Li Ka-shing $25.5 billion (Dhs93.5 billion), diversified industries
Karl Albrecht $25.4 billion (Dhs93.2 billion), discount supermarket chain Aldi Group