Vuong makes it to Forbes billionaire list again

Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014 14:46

Pham Nhat Vuong remains his name in the world's billionair list. — Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Pham Nhat Vuong, founder and chairman of the Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, remains the country's sole billionaire, US business magazine Forbes announced on March 3.

This is the second time Vuong has been named in the list of the world's billionaires. He has a net worth US$1.6 billion, an increase of $100 million over last year.

The ranks of the world's billionaires continue to scale new heights and stretch to new corners of the world. As many as 1,645 billionaires were found with an aggregate net worth of $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion a year ago.

The estimates are a snapshot of wealth as of February 12.

Vuong ranks 1,092 this year, sliding 118 spots from last year's rank. He could have kept his rank if his net worth had reached $1.85 billion.

Forbes valued that in the past year, Vuong has been busy raising funds, netting $1 billion through a mix of asset sales, loans, private equity deals to fund dozens of property projects across the country.

He completed two major property developments including Vincom Mega Mall Royal City, which is touted as Asia's largest underground retail and entertainment complex. These moves boosted Vingroup's shares by 15 per cent last year.

Vuong studied in Moscow, then moved to Ukraine where he started Technocom, which manufactured instant noodles. He returned to Viet Nam in 2001 to plunge into real estate, eventually selling his food company in 2009 to Nestle. Vingroup's other assets include hotels, education and healthcare.

The Forbes also unearthed a record 268 new 10-figure fortunes, including 42 new women billionaires, another record. In total, there are 172 women on the list, more than ever before and up from 138 last year.

Bill Gates is back on top after a four-year hiatus, reclaiming the title of the world's richest person from telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who was ranked No 1 for the past four years.

Helped by a bounce in Microsoft's shares, Bill Gates returns to the top of the Forbes' annual billionaires list this year amid a leadership shakeup at the software giant that he founded. He's been the richest man in the world for 15 out of the last 20 years. Gates, whose fortune rose by $9 billion in the past year, has held the top spot for 15 of the past 20 years.

Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega (best known for the Zara fashion chain) retains the No 3 spot for the second year in a row, extending his lead over Warren Buffett, who is again No 4. American gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson, who added $11.5 billion to his pile, makes it back into the top 10 for the first time since 2007.

A record net worth of $31 billion was needed to make it to the top 20, up from $23 billion last year.

The year's biggest dollar gainer was Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune jumped $15.2 billion, to reach $28.5 billion, as the shares of his social network soared. Tech and more specifically Facebook have helped propel numerous fortunes lately. The company's COO Sheryl Sandberg joins the ranks for the first time, as does Facebook's longtime vice president Jeff Rothschild. Also, thanks to a $19 billion deal (including restricted stock) with Facebook, WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton join the ranks of Silicon Valley's wealthiest for the first time. They are four of the 26 newcomers whose fortunes come from technology, 10 of whom are American, including Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and Workday cofounder Aneel Bhusri.

Thanks to the tech boom and a strong stock market, the US once again leads the world with 492 billionaires, followed by China with 152 and Russia with 111. But wealth is spreading to new places.

"We found billionaires for the first time in Algeria, Lithuania, Tanzania and Uganda. Also for the first time, an African, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, breaks into the top 25. Worth $25 billion, he moves up 20 spots," said the Forbes.

This is the 28th year of the Forbes Billionaires list. The selection criteria are the individuals' assets – including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, yachts, art and cash – and take into account estimates of debt. — VNS

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