The richest people in the world got even more obscenely rich in 2012, collectively becoming $241 billion wealthier, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 100 wealthiest individuals. Among them a great many Europeans.
The aggregate net worth of the world’s top moguls stood at $1.9 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31, according to the index. Retail and telecommunications fortunes surged about 20 percent on average during the year. Of the 100 people who appeared on the final ranking of 2012, only 16 registered a net loss for the 12-month period.
“Last year was a great one for the world’s billionaires,” said John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of Red Apple Group Inc., in an e-mail written poolside on his BlackBerry in the Bahamas. “In 2013, they will continue looking for investments around the world — and not necessarily in U.S. — that will give them an advantage.”
Amancio Ortega, the Spaniard who founded retailer Inditex SA, was the year’s biggest gainer. The 76-year-old tycoon’s fortune increased $22.2 billion to $57.5 billion, according to the index, as shares of Inditex, operator of the Zara clothing chain, rose 66.7 percent.…
IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, 86, is the world’s fifth- richest person with a $42.9 billion fortune. The complex ownership structure behind IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, became more transparent in August after IKEA’s franchisor published its financial performance publicly for the first time. His net worth rose 16.6 percent in 2012….
Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, gained $8.1 billion as shares of LVMH (MC) Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA and its publicly traded holding company Christian Dior SA soared.
In May, the LVMH chairman’s net worth was lowered $15 billion on the index because of the way his ownership stake in the world’s largest luxury-goods company is structured. The 63- year-old controls 46.5 percent of LVMH’s share capital, according to the 2011 annual report of the Paris-based maker of Louis Vuitton handbags and Moet & Chandon champagne. That figure includes 5.6 percent of LVMH shares held by Arnault, and a 40.9 percent stake of the company owned by Christian Dior.
Arnault, who is applying for Belgian citizenship for “personal” reasons, owns 70.4 percent of Christian Dior, according to French regulatory filings. The remaining 29.6 percent of Dior is held by outside investors. While he controls all the voting power of Dior’s stake in LVMH, his economic interest is less than the figure reported in the LVMH annual report. His net worth is valued at $28.8 billion.
Europe’s fattest fat cats and how much fatter they became in 2012
Global Rank Name Est. Net Worth Country Change, Year to Date
3. Amancio Ortega $ 57.5 billion Spain 0.1%
5. Ingvar Kamprad $ 43.4 billion Sweden 1.2%
9. Bernard Arnault $ 29.7 billion France 2.9%
14. Liliane Bettencourt $ 26.8 billion France -0.2%
19. Stefan Persson $ 24.6 billion Sweden 0.5%
22. Karl Albrecht $ 23.6 billion Germany 1.6%
24. Michele Ferrero $ 22.6 billion Italy 2.6%
30. Dieter Schwarz $ 21.2 billion Germany 2.1%