Business | Markets

World's richest lose $8b as markets fall on China outlook

Slim still top fat cat with net worth of $69.2b, although down $210m

  • Bloomberg
  • Published: 00:00 March 25, 2012
  • Gulf News

Billionaires - Mukesh Ambani
  • Image Credit: Bloomberg
  • A file picture of Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Mumbai-based Reliance Industries

New York: The 20 richest people on Earth lost a combined $8 billion (Dh29 billion) last week as markets fell on concerns that the global economic rebound was slowing.

Mukesh Ambani's fortune fell $1.4 billion, dropping his net worth to $23.9 billion. The chairman of Mumbai-based Reliance Industries, operator of the world's biggest oil-refining complex, is 16th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world's wealthiest people. The 54-year-old mogul was 14th on the list a week ago.

"Asian markets have fallen in recent days on the back of concerns that China's economy continues to slow," Mike Werner, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co, said in a e-mail on Thursday.

"China's industrial activity disappointed last month and there has been renewed concerns about troubled loans emerging at the Chinese banks." Global markets fell on news that manufacturing in Europe and China contracted and sales of new US homes fell in February.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell three per cent during the week to close at 20,668.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 0.5 per cent, closing on Friday at 1397.11.

Li Ka-shing, Asia's richest man, lost $1.2 billion as shares of his Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Holdings, which makes up more than half of his fortune, declined 7.23 per cent during the week. The billionaire, 83, has a net worth of $24.3 billion, making him the world's 14th richest person.

European retail magnate Bernard Arnault lost almost $2 billion after shares of his LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury-goods company, fell 5.2 per cent in Paris trading last week. Arnault, 63, ranks fifth on the index with a net worth of $42.3 billion.

Brazil's Eike Batista, 55, whose commodity empire includes a majority stake in OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes, saw his fortune decrease 4.6 per cent to $26.8 billion. OGX, Brazil's second-biggest oil company by market value, fell 4.5 per cent on Friday after reporting lower-than-expected output. Batista's fortune is up 19.3 per cent, or $4.3 billion, this year.

Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of casino operator Las Vegas Sands, saw his fortune rise $375 million. On March 19, the company said it will open the Sands Cotai Central casino resort on April 11 in Macau, China. He's now the 11th-richest person on the index with a net worth of $26.3 billion.

Donated

Adelson, 78, and his wife Miriam, have donated at least $15 million to Winning Our Future, a super-PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

Carlos Slim, the 72-year-old telecommunications tycoon who controls Mexico's America Movil SAB, remained the world's richest man with a net worth of $69.2 billion. He lost $210 million during the week.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, 56, ranked second with a net worth of $63.1 billion. Warren Buffett, 81, is worth $45.5 billion, up $26 million for the week. He ranks third. The world's three richest are up a combined $17.4 billion year to date.

Stefan Persson, 64, chairman of Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz, is worth $24.6 billion and may get richer this week. The company, Europe's second-biggest clothing retailer, reports earnings on March 29.

Twelve analysts covering the company have an average estimate of 1.91 Swedish crowns (Dh1.04) a share, which would be 21 per cent higher than the first quarter in 2011.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, 12 analysts have buy ratings on the company, while 11 have holds and 10 have sell ratings.

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