William Gates III
Rank: 1 Net Worth: $40.0 bil, Fortune: self madeSoftware visionary regains title as the world’s richest man despite losing $18 billion in the past 12 months. Stepped down from day-to-day duties at Microsoft last summer to devote his talents and riches to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Organization’s assets were $30 billion in January; annual letter lauds endowment manager Michael Larson for limiting last year’s losses to 20%. Gates decided to increase donations in 2009 to $3.8 billion, up 15% from 2008.
Rank: 2 Net Worth: $37.0 bil, Fortune: self made
Last year America’s most beloved investor was the world’s richest man . This year he has to settle for second place after losing $25 billion in 12 months. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway down 45% since last March. Injected billions of dollars into Goldman Sachs, GE in exchange for preferred stock last fall; propped up insurance firm Swiss Re in February with $2.6 billion infusion. Admits he made some "dumb" investment mistakes in 2008. Upbeat about America’s future: "Our economic system has worked extraordinarily well over time.
Carlos Slim Helu & family
Rank: 3 Net Worth: $35.0 bil, Fortune: self made
Economic downturn and plunging peso shaved $25 billion from the fortune of Latin America’s richest man. Global recession testing his ability to live up to the principles he sets for his employees: "Maintain austerity in times of fat cows." Son of a Lebanese immigrant bought fixed line operator Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) in 1990; now controls 90% of Mexico’s telephone landlines.
Rank: 4 Net Worth: $22.5 bil, Fortune: self made
Database titan continues to engulf the competition; Oracle has racked up 49 acquisitions in the past 4 years. Bought BEA Systems for $8.5 billion last year. Still sitting on $7 billion in cash. Revenues up 11% to $10.9 billion in the six months ended November 30; profits also up 11% to $2.4 billion. Stock down 25% in past 12 months. Invested $125 million in Web software outfit Netsuite; took public in 2007, stock has fallen 80% since. His shares still worth $300 million.
Ingvar Kamprad & family
Rank: 5 Net Worth: $22.0 bil, Fortune: self made
Peddled matches, fish, pens, Christmas cards and other items by bicycle as a teenager. Started selling furniture in 1947. Opened first Ikea store 50 years ago; stores’s name is a combination of initials of his first and last name, his family farm and the nearest village. Retired in 1986; company’s "senior adviser" still reportedly works tirelessly on his brand. Discount retailer now sells 9,500 items in 36 countries; prints catalog in 27 languages. Revenues up 7% to $27.4 billion in fiscal year 2008.
Rank: 6 Net Worth: $21.5 bil, Fortune:self made
Germany’s richest person owns discount supermarket giant Aldi Sud. Retailer faring well amid economic downturn; analysts expect its 2008 sales to be up 9.4% to $33.7 billion. Sales in the U.S. up estimated 20% last year to $7 billion. Plans to open 75 U.S. stores in 2009, including first in New York City.
Rank: 7 Net Worth: $19.5 bil, Fortune: inherited and growing
Oversees Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company by market cap despite stock falling 40% in past year. Merging his Reliance Petroleum with flagship Reliance Industries. As part of deal, will exercise right to buy back Chevron’s 5% stake in Reliance Petroleum at $1.20 per share—the same price at which he sold it 3 years ago. Today the stock trades for $1.80 a share. Increased stake in Reliance Industries in October; paid $3.4 billion to convert 120 million preferential warrants into shares. Reliance Petroleum refinery on India’s western coast began operating in December despite falling global demand and declining margins.
Rank: 8 Net Worth: $19.3 bil, Fortune: inherited and growing
Indian immigrant heads world’s largest steel company; ArcelorMittal was formed via hostile takeover 3 years ago. Stock in company makes up bulk of his fortune; shares at a 4-year low with steel prices down 75% since last summer. Company forced to pay heavy fines after a French antitrust investigation found 10 companies guilty of price-fixing in European steel markets. Arcelor posted $2.6 billion loss in most recent quarter; announced plans to slow acquisitions, cut capital expenditures, pay down debt. Started in family steel business in the 1970s, branched out on his own in 1994.
Rank: 9 Net Worth:Net Worth:$18.8 bil, Fortune:self made
Runs discount supermarket group Aldi Nord; firm holding up amid economic downturn. Sales expected to hit $31 billion in 2008. After World War II he and older brother Karl transformed their mother’s corner grocery into Aldi. Brothers split ownership in 1961; Karl took the stores in southern Germany, plus the rights to the brand in the U.K., Australia and the U.S.
Rank: 10, Net Worth: $18.3 bil ,Fortune: self made
Railway worker’s son started as a gofer in a shirt store. With then-wife Rosalia Mera, also now a billionaire, started making dressing gowns and lingerie in their living room. Business became one of world’s most successful apparel manufacturers. Today Inditex has more than 4,000 stores in 71 countries. Sales: $12.3 billion. Ortega is chairman. Company exported its cheap chic Zara stores to 4 new markets last year: Ukraine, South Korea, Montenegro and Honduras. Stock up 1% in past 12 months, but fortune down because of weak euro.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
IMF sells 200 tonnes of gold to Reserve Bank of India
* Sale is part of total of 403.3 tonnes to be sold by IMF
* Relieves bearish risk of open-market bullion sale
The International Monetary Fund has sold 200 tonnes of gold to the Reserve Bank of India for $6.7 billion, quietly executing half of a long-planned bullion sale that has threatened to slow gold’s ascent.
The deal, which surprised traders who expected China to be the most likely buyer, will relieve the gold market of some uncertainty over how and when the IMF would sell 403.3 tonnes of gold, about one-eighth of its total stock. The deal will increase India’s gold holdings to the tenth largest among central banks.
It also fuelled speculation that other governments — including Beijing — may be ready to diversify their reserves even at near-record gold prices, helping soak up IMF supply that the fund may otherwise be forced to sell on the open market.
The Reserve Bank of India said the purchase was an official sector off-market transaction and was executed during Oct. 19-30 at market-based prices.
An IMF official said the sale was concluded at an average price of about $1,045 an ounce and that the transaction would be paid in hard currency and not in IMF Special Drawing Rights.
Although the IMF’s plan to sell a share of its gold holdings in order to increase low-cost lending to poor countries had been flagged for a year before it was formally approved in September, the speed, scale and identity of the buyer were a surprise.
“It was always thought that some of it would be sold off market but it was a bit of a surprise that as much as 200 tonnes had been sold off market,” said Simon Weeks, director of precious metal sales at Bank of Nova Scotia.
Although India is the world’s biggest consumer of gold, primarily in the form of jewellery and investment among its billion-plus people, its central bank had given few signs of seeking to diversify its reserves pool into bullion.
The proportion of gold as part of its total foreign reserves has fallen from over 20 percent in 1994 to just under 4 percent.
India’s foreign exchange reserves held at the central bank totalled $285.5 billion on Oct. 23, of which gold comprised just over $10 billion. The latest purchase will lift its share of gold holdings from near 4 percent to about 6 percent, much less than most of the developed world but four times China’s share.
The RBI does not officially talk about its diversification strategy. On Tuesday, the RBI said the purchase of IMF’s gold was done as part of its foreign exchange reserve management.