This list of the top 10 money maker of the world is a list of the world’s 10 money maker as of February 11, 2008, based on each person’s total net worth. The total net worth is an estimate measured in US Dollar, based on the closing stock prices of the stock exchanges on which each person’s company is listed, and exchange rates on February 11, 2008. Stock prices are defined as shares of ownership in a corporation, and exchange rates are defined as how much one currency is worth in terms of another. This list only represents each person’s valuation on a single day due to daily fluctuations among exchange rates and stock valuations.
The following list is the ranking of the world’s top ten money maker on February 11, 2008, and does not reflect changes since that date. The top three countries with the most billionaires are: United States with over 400, Russia with 87, and India and Germany with 56 each.
1 Warren Buffet : America’s most beloved investor is now the world’s richest man. Soared past friend and bridge partner Bill Gates as shares of Berkshire Hathaway climbed 25% since the middle of last July. Son of Nebraska politician delivered newspapers as a boy. Filed first tax return at age 13, claiming31.03€ deduction for bicycle. Studied under value investing guru Benjamin Graham at Columbia. Took over textile firm Berkshire Hathaway 1965. Today holding company invested in insurance (Geico, General Re), jewelry (Borsheim’s), utilities (MidAmerican Energy), food (Dairy Queen, See’s Candies). Also has noncontrolling stakes in Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo. Insurance operations flourished in 2007. “That party is over. It’s a certainty that insurance-industry profit margins, including ours, will fall significantly in 2008.” The Oracle of Omaha issued a challenge to members of The Forbes 400 in October; said he would donate 0.89€ million to charity if the collective group of richest Americans would admit they pay less taxes, as a percentage of income, than their secretaries. Had long promised to give away his fortune posthumously. Irrevocably earmarked the majority of his Berkshire shares to charity in 2006, mostly to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gift was valued at 27.48€ billion on day of announcement; donation will far exceed that sum so long as Berkshire shares continue to rise.
2. Carlos SlimHelu : Second-richest man in the world this year; even richer than Microsoft’s Bill Gates, at least for now, thanks to strong Mexican equities market and the performance of his wireless telephone company, America Movil. The son of a Lebanese immigrant, Slim made his first fortune in 1990 when he bought fixed line operator Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) in a privatization. In December, America Movil struck a deal with Yahoo to provide mobile Web services to 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. A widower and father of six, Slim is a baseball fan and art collector. He keeps his art collection in Mexico City’s Museo Soumaya, which he named after his late wife. In recent years, he has donated close to 6.21€ billion worth of cash and stock to fund education and health projects, and to the revitalization of Mexico City’s downtown historical district.
3 William Gates : Harvard dropout and Microsoft visionary no longer the world’s richest man. Blame Yahoo: Microsoft shares have fallen 15% since the company boldly attempted to merge with the search engine giant to better fight Google for Internet dominance. Gates is preparing to give up day-to-day involvement in the company he cofounded 33 years ago to spend more time focused on his philanthropic endeavors. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has 34.31€ billion in assets, donates to causes aimed at bringing financial tools to the poor, speeding up the development of vaccines (for AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis), bettering America’s lagging high schools. Sells 20 million Microsoft shares every quarter, proceeds going to private investment vehicle Cascade; more than half of net worth now outside of Microsoft. Company spent 5.32€ billion to land Web ad firm Aquantive last May. Would-be rival to Apple’s iPod, the Zune, not yet a hit. Believes Microsoft’s far-flung bets, including 10-year affair with Internet-based television, may soon pay off; says next 10 years will be the “most interesting” in software history.
4 Lakshmi Mittal : Heads world’s largest steelmaker, 93.08€billion (sales) ArcelorMittal, which accounts for 10% of all crude steel production. Just delivered 580 tons to be used in construction of the World Trade Center memorial in New York. With 44% stake, is the company’s largest shareholder. Longtime resident of London is Europe’s richest resident.
5 Mukesh Ambani : Asia’s richest resident heads petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company by market cap. His fortune is up 20.3€billion since last year, making him the world’s second biggest gainer in terms of dollars. The biggest gainer was his estranged brother Anil, who ranks 6th in the world just behind his older brother. The sons inherited their fortune from their late father, renowned industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani. But they couldn’t get along and in 2005 their mother brokered a peace settlement breaking up the family’s assets. Mukesh is using some of his money to build a 27-story home.
6 Anil Ambani : The year’s biggest gainer, Anil Ambani, is up21.1€ billion in the past year, and is closing gap with estranged brother, Mukesh, who ranks one spot ahead of him in the world at number five. The sons inherited their fortune from their late father, renowned industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani. But they couldn’t get along and in 2005 their mother brokered a peace settlement breaking up the family’s assets. A marathon runner, his biggest asset is his 65% stake in telecom venture Reliance Communications. He recently raised2.66€ billion from the highly anticipated initial offering of his Reliance Power, the biggest in India’s history. Despite the hype, the stock tumbled 17% immediately after its February listing. In a bid to appease investors, company’s board recently approved the issue of bonus shares. Still feuding with brother Mukesh: battling him in court over a gas-supply agreement.
7 Ingvar Kamprad : Peddled matches, fish, pens, Christmas cards and other items by bicycle as a teenager. Started selling furniture in 1947. Now his company Ikea, which sells hip designs for the cost conscious, is one of the most beloved retailers in the world, with an almost cultlike following. Ikea now has stores in 40 countries, from Sunrise, Florida, to Guangzhou in China. As egalitarian as his brand, Kamprad avoids wearing suits, flies economy class and frequents cheap restaurants. Has been quoted as saying that his luxuries are the occasional nice cravat and Swedish fish roe. Says his home is furnished mostly with his own Ikea products. Last May was awarded the Global Economy Prize by the University of Kiel for his contributions to society.
8 KP Singh : Singh is now the world’s richest real estate baron after listing his real estate development company DLF in 2007. The offering helped triple his fortune to 26.59€ billion this year, up from 8.86€ billion. A former army officer, known as K.P., he joined his father-in-law’s Delhi Land & Finance in 1961. Singh later built DLF City in Gurgaon, his showpiece township on the outskirts of Delhi, by acquiring land from farmers. Over time, he transformed it into one of India’s biggest real estate developers. Group plans to raise another1.33€ billion by listing a subsidiary in Singapore. A keen golfer, he now leaves son Rajiv, daughter Pia to run operations.
- Oleg Deripaska : Former metals trader survived the gangster wars in the post-Soviet aluminum industry. His holding company, Basic Element, now owns Russian Aluminum (UC Rusal), automobile manufacturer GAZ, aircraft manufacturer Aviacor and insurance company Ingosstrakh. In 2006 Rusal, SUAL and Glencore International, of Switzerland, merged their aluminum assets into the United Company Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer. Married to a relative of Yeltsin, Deripaska has been busy expanding UC Rusal’s activities in Russia and abroad, moving it into aluminum production in Nigeria and China. To integrate vertically, has signed agreements to produce coal in Kazakhstan and invest in a nuclear power plant in eastern Russia. Attempting to get a stake in Norilsk Nickel, which co-owner (and fellow billionaire) Vladimir Potanin is fighting.
- Karl Albrecht : Germany’s richest man. After World War II Karl and his younger brother, Theo, developed their mother’s corner grocery store into discount supermarket giant Aldi, which now has more than 8,000 stores and 59.39€ billion in sales. They eventually split ownership and management of the chain into North and South regions. Now retired, Karl used to manage more profitable southern half of Aldi’s business in Germany. Fiercely private: Little known about him other than that he apparently raises orchids and plays golf.