Posted on Dec. 2014 at 17:04
4.100 billion dollars … This is the amount of wealth of the 400 richest people on earth according to Bloomberg. It increased by 92 billion this year, an increase of 2.3%. A less impressive increase than in 2013, when the richest 300 people saw their fortunes grow by $ 500 billion. The performance of world stock markets, particularly in emerging countries (Russia, Brazil, etc.) or in Europe, may explain the slowdown in growth, especially expressed in dollars. The MSCI World index has therefore only increased by 4% this year, compared to + 24% in 2013.
Unsurprisingly, Bill Gates remains the richest man in the world with a fortune estimated by Bloomberg at 87.6 billion dollars (+9.1 billion). He is ahead of Warren Buffett (+13.7 billion to 74.5 billion) who took advantage of the rise in Wall Street to steal second place from Mexican Carlos Slim, whose wealth fell by 628 million in one year… The main loser of the World Top 5 is called Amancio Ortega Gaona (-4.6 billion to 61.8 billion).
Liliane Bettencourt remains the richest French personality (at 33.3 billion), despite a drop of 772 million in her fortune, and remains the third woman behind Christy and Alice Walton, but ahead of Jacqueline Mars. Note that Laurene Jobs, widow of Steve, has become the 44th fortune in the world ($ 17.4 billion), thanks to the good performance of Apple’s price (+ 41% in one year). Finally the owner of Altice-Numéricable Patrick Drahi is the European whose fortune has increased the most this year (+6.3 billion).
1) Americans take the lion’s share
The Americans trust 10 of the 15 largest fortunes in the world, including the first two with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, ahead of the two industrial brothers Charles and David Koch (more than 100 billion between them), Larry Ellison (Oracle, 49.4 billion) and the Walton family, owners of retail giant Wall-Mart. The highlight: the rise of Mark Zuckerberg who becomes the 13th richest man in the world with 35.3 billion dollars (and one of the youngest since there are only 11 of them under 40) , ahead of the creators of Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) and especially in front of Jeff Bezos, whose fortune fell by 7.2 billion last year. A difference that we find when we look at the Facebook action, which has posted a gain of 46% since the start of the year, against a decline of 22% for Amazon. Reversal of fortune also for Sheldon Adelson (- 8.7 billion), penalized by the fall in the activity of casinos in Macau, where his group Las Vegas Sands carries out more than half of its activity. This is a consequence of the fight against corruption launched in China and which depresses the sector in the former Portuguese counter returned to China in 1999.
2) China is emerging with Alibaba
The IPO of Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant, will remain one of the highlights of the year on the markets. The biggest IPO in history made the fortune of its founder Jack Ma. It went from 3.6 to 28.7 billion dollars in one year, allowing it to occupy the 22nd place of the Bloomberg ranking! No one has made as much money as him, not even Wang Jialin, whose fortune has doubled to $ 25.3 billion. At 60, Jialin, a former soldier in the People’s Liberation Army, is present in commercial furniture, tourism and distribution. It is also the largest theater operator in the world.
Another prominent figure is Wang Jing (42), the main shareholder of the Chinese telecommunications company Xinwei. In one year, his fortune has grown from $ 1.1 billion to $ 7 billion. Wang Jing has especially made a name for himself by being one of the main financiers of the project which has just been launched. To complete this picture, let us also point out the billionaire from Hong Kong, born in Taiwan and graduated from Yale: Joseph Tsai, who took advantage of the tremendous valuation of Alibaba of which he is a co-founder, more discreet.
In total, they are 5 Chinese among the 10 billionaires who have increased their fortune the most this year. According to Bloomberg, the wealth of the 10 richest Chinese has increased by 48 billion dollars in one year! Note that the octogenarian Li Ka-Shing remains the richest Asian (17th in the world with 29.8 billion).
3) Russian berezina
For them, the years go by and unfortunately look alike. Last year the magnates Akhmetov (Ukrainian), Deropaska and Mordashov suffered from the fall in commodity markets. Bis repeated this year against the backdrop of falling oil prices, the plunge of the ruble and Western sanctions against certain people close to the Kremlin. Among the most affected, Leonid Mikhelson (gas group Novatek, -7.8 billion), Alisher Ousmanov (Mettaloinvest, -6.5 billion) or even Vladimir Lissine (-6.2 billion). Vladimir Evtushenkov for his part was arrested and placed under house arrest. He is suspected of money laundering. The former 15th Russian fortune lost 80% of his fortune and even left the ranking established by Bloomberg …
4) Patrick Drahi’s breakthrough in France
They are 5 French among the top 100 world fortunes according to Bloomberg. An almost intangible ranking where we find Liliane Bettencourt, Bernard Arnault (owner of Les Echos), François Pinault and Serge Dassault. But they are joined in the top 100 by a new one: Patrick Drahi, who climbs to 94th place. The (Numéricable, SFR, soon Portugal Telecom…) now weighs 11.5 billion dollars, or 6.3 billion more than a year ago. Its competitor Xavier Niel for his part increased his fortune by 1.1 billion dollars (to 8 billion), but still only points to 156 place. What would have happened if he had been able to get his hands on the American operator T-Mobile US?
5) new faces
Finally, 86 new heads have won the title of billionaire according to Bloomberg, without entering its list of 400, whose entry bar is located at 4 billion. Among them, the heirs of Hélène Pastor, assassinated in Monaco this year, and who shared $ 13 billion. Not to mention Carlos Pellas, who became Nicaragua’s first billionaire at 61. Starting from a family sugar factory, the one who survived a plane crash in 1999 created an empire in banking, tourism and bio-fuel. Another emerging family fortune, the Batista, who created through acquisitions the company JBS, the largest beef producer in the world (12.7 billion dollars in capitalization).
After two good years, 2015 could still be a good time for billionaires, in a context of low interest rates and rising house prices. Without forgetting the drop in oil prices, the impact of which will be far from negligible for global growth, for the household portfolio and ultimately for the profits of the largest companies and their shareholders.