Top 10 World’s Richest People 2011

James Ryan Jonas

The Forbes list of the World’s Richest Persons for the year 2011 is now out. Familiar names and faces dominate the Top 10, with one woman securing a spot after a drought of several years.

Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim Helu is still the world’s richest man, adding $20.5 billion to his net worth last year, thanks to a stronger Mexican peso, rising stock market, and profitable investments by Helu’s conglomerate firm.

Next is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who also ranked 2nd to Helu in the 2010 World’s Richest list. Forbes Magazine says, however, that Bill Gates’ No. 2 position is due to his enormous philanthropic donations. It is estimated that Bill Gates has donated around one-third of his entire fortunes to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Had he not made those donations, his net worth would be around $80 billion, making him the world’s wealthiest man.

No. 3 is the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet. Buffet’s net worth is up $3 billion this year, largely due to the rise in stock value of his company Berkshire Hathaway.

The only woman on the list is Christy Walton, widow of John T. Walton, who was the son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Her net worth stands at $26.5 billion.

Four Filipinos are on the billionaires list, up from two last year:

  • #173 – Henry Sy ($5.8 billion);
  • #512 – Lucio Tan ($2.3 billion);
  • #540 – Andrew Tan ($2.2 billion);
  • #1057 – Enrique Razon ($1.1 billion)

Top 10 World’s Richest Persons – 2011

#1. Carlos Slim Helu

Net Worth: $74 billion (up from $53.5 billion in 2010)
Age: 71
Fortune: Self made
Source: Telecom
Country of Citizenship: Mexico
Residence: Mexico City, Mexico
Industry: Communications
Marital Status: widowed, 6 children
Education: BA/BS, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

The world’s richest person for a second year in a row, the Mexican telecom mogul is also the year’s biggest gainer, having added $20.5 billion to his fortune and widened the gap between him and no. 2, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, to $18 billion. A 19% rise in the Mexican stock market, a stronger peso, and successful mining and real estate spinoffs from conglomerate Grupo Carso all contributed to the astonishing increase. He also merged his fixed-line telecom company into America Movil, Latin America’s largest wireless carrier; the Slim family stake in that holding accounts for 62% of his net worth. He has other holdings in retailer Saks and the New York Times.

#2. William Gates III

Net Worth: $56 billion (up from $50 billion)
Age: 55
Fortune: Self made
Source: Microsoft
Country of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Medina, Washington, USA
Industry: Software
Marital Status: Married, 3 children
Education: Dropout, Harvard University

Microsoft mogul, futurist and America’s richest person has, with help from billionaire buddy Warren Buffett, convinced nearly 60 of the world’s wealthiest to sign his “Giving Pledge,” promising to donate the majority of their wealth to charity either during their lifetime or after death. He is no longer the planet’s richest person, but that’s because he’s given away $30 billion to his foundation. The Gates Foundation, the world’s most influential charity, tackles tuberculosis and polio and funds famine-resistant crops to fight hunger. Gates holds 70% of his wealth in investment fund Cascade, dabbling in everything from autos to hedge funds to Mexican Coke bottler Femsa; the rest of his wealth is held in Microsoft stock.

#3. Warren Buffett

Net Worth: $50 billion (up from $47 billion)
Age: 80
Fortune: Self made
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
Country Of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Industry: Investments
Marital Status: widowed, remarried, 3 children
Education: MS, Columbia University; BA/BS, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Warren Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway climbed more than 15% over the last year adding $3 billion to his to fortune. Along with bridge partner Bill Gates, the Oracle of Omaha is coaxing America’s richest to pledge half their fortunes to charity. “Too often a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse and long-standing friends.” Buffett faked breathing problems when he was 12 so he could move back to Omaha from Washington, D.C., where his father was a freshman congressman. He had read every book about investing in stocks in the Omaha Public Library by the time he was 12. He met value investor Benjamin Graham at Columbia; bought textile firm Berkshire Hathaway 1965, and transformed it into massive holding company: food, insurance, utilities, industrials. Buffett acquired railroad giant Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26 billion in 2009.

#4. Bernard Arnault

Net Worth: $41 billion (up from $27.5 billion)
Age: 62
Fortune: Inherited and growing
Source: Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH)
Country of Citizenship: France
Residence:Paris, France
Marital Status: Married; five children
Education: BA/BS, Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne

The Lord of Luxe easily retains title of richest European. Fortune surged by $13.5 billion as shares of his luxury good outfit, LVMH, rose by more than half over the past year thanks to strong demand for luxuries like Dom Perignon champagne, Cognac Hennessy, Tag Heuer watches and Louis Vuitton accessories, particularly in Asian markets like Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City. The group acquired 20% of Hermes last year. In March the Bulgari family transferred its majority holding in its brand to LVMH in exchange for LVMH shares and board seats. LVMH fired Christian Dior designer John Galliano after he apparently made anti-semitic remarks. Renaissance man also owns yacht builder Royal Van Lent, a hotel in Courchevel; has stakes in French retailer Carrefour and French tour operator Go Voyages.

#5. Larry Ellison

Net Worth: $39.5 (up from $28.0 billion)
Age: 66
Fortune: Self-made
Source: Oracle
Country of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Woodside, California, USA
Marital Status: Thrice divorced, remarried; two children
Education: Dropout, University of Chicago; Dropout, University of Illinois at Urbana

The Oracle chief sits atop a fortune that is $11.5 billion bigger than last year thanks to a 30% jump in the software company’s shares. In November, Oracle won a mud-slinging copyright infringement court battle against German software rival SAP worth $1.3 billion. SAP is contesting the outcome. Oracle has acquired 75 companies over the years worth $40 billion, and figured out a way to turn a profit on its latest big buy, Sun Microsystems, in 2010. One of the highest-paid executives in the U.S., Ellison reaped $960 million in compensation in the past five fiscal years, mostly from exercising stock options; he recently cut his salary to $1. Intends to give 95% of wealth to charity.

#6. Lakshmi Mittal

Net Worth: $31.1 billion (up from $28.7 billion)
Age: 60
Fortune: Inherited and growing
Source: Steel, ArcelorMittal ADS
Country of Citizenship: India
Residence: London, United Kingdom
Marital Status: Married, two children
Education: BA/BS, St Xavier’s College Calcutta

Net profits at his ArcelorMittal, world’s largest steel-maker, are up 18-fold to $2.9 billion in 2010 due to recovery in steel demand and higher margins. Group spun off its stainless steel unit into Aperam, a new listed company, and also acquired Canadian miner Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation. It has funded a 377-foot sculpture called ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics. Europe’s richest resident, he bought Alderbrook Park, a 340-acre country estate outside London, where he plans to build an eco-friendly country mansion for a reported $40 million. Daughter Vanisha acquired stake in Roc Capital Management, a New York hedge fund. Daughter-in-law Megha owns German fashion house Escada.

#7. Amancio Ortega

Net Worth: $31 billion (up from $25.0 billion)
Age: 74
Fortune: Self-made
Source: Zara
Country of Citizenship: Spain
Residence: La Coruna, Spain
Marital Status: Married; three children

Amancio Ortega stepped down as chairman of Inditex, the $15.8 billion (sales) fashion firm in January; he still gets 87% of his fortune from his stake in the publicly traded firm. The company, which operates under several brand names including Zara, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius, has 5,000 stores in 77 countries. Ortega also owns properties in Florida, Madrid, London and Lisbon, a horse-jumping circuit, a stake in a soccer league; and has interests in gas, tourism and banks. Railway worker’s son, he started as a gofer in a shirt store. With then-wife Rosalia Mera, also a billionaire, started making dressing gowns and lingerie in living room. Daughter Marta works for Inditex.

#8. Eike Batista

Net Worth: $30 billion (up from $27.0 billion)
Age: 54
Fortune: Self-made
Source: Mining, Oil
Country of Citizenship: Brazil
Residence: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Marital Status: Divorced, two children
Education: Dropout, RWTH Aachen University

Brazil’s richest man is gearing up to take over the world. Making a play for foreign investors, Batista announced this year the opening of an office in New York and his intention to list some of his companies on the London Stock Exchange. Through his holding company, EBX, Batista controls businesses spanning mining, shipbuilding, energy, logistics, tourism and entertainment. After months of discussions, he was triumphant in February in taking control of Canadian gold outfit Ventana. Two-thirds of his fortune comes from OGX, the oil-and-gas exploration company he founded in 2007 and took public a year later. In rare recent setback, his planned IPO for his shipbuilding business (OSX), meant to be the world’s largest IPO in 2010, was a disappointment and has had a lukewarm reception in the Brazilian market. The son of Brazil’s revered former mining minister who presided over mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce got his start in gold trading and mining. Onetime champion offshore powerboat racer; formerly married to Playboy cover girl. In media interviews he’s been warning Carlos Helú Slim that he’ll soon take his spot as the world’s richest man, but he still has a long way to go.

#9. Mukesh Ambani

Net Worth: $27 billion (down from $29.0 billion)
Age: 53
Fortune: Inherited and growing
Source: Petrochemicals, Oil & Gas
Country of Citizenship: India
Residence: Mumbai, India
Marital Status: Married, three children
Education: Dropout, Stanford University; BA/BS, University of Bombay

His oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company, just forged a partnership with BP, selling 30% stake in 23 oil blocks in India for $7.2 billion and forming a marketing joint venture. The deal is being touted as one of biggest foreign investments in India. He’s also betting on shale gas, having bought stakes in three American energy firms for $3.3 billion last year. He and wife Nita host parties at their recently completed 27-story sky palace in Mumbai, but have still to move in permanently.

#10. Christy Walton and family

Net Worth: $26.5 billion (up from $22.5 billion)
Age: 56
Fortune: Inherited
Source: Wal-mart
Country of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Jackson, Wyoming, USA
Marital Status: Widow, one children

The widow of John Walton inherited her wealth after the former Green Beret and Vietnam war medic died in an airplane accident near his home in Wyoming 2005. Now world’s richest woman, she got an extra bump in her fortune because of her late husband’s early investment in First Solar; shares up nearly 500% since 2006 initial public offering. But bulk still comes from her holdings in Wal-Mart, the retailer founded by her father-in-law Sam Walton and his brother James in 1962. Today Wal-Mart has sales of $405 billion, and employs more than 2.1 million people. The philanthropist supports museums, education and organic gardening.

Source: Forbes

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James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.