Forbes has released its annual list of the world’s richest people, and it’s a bit smaller than usual. The number of billionaires in the world has dropped from 1,125 last year to only 793 now, the publication reports, and the average net worth among them has fallen 23 per cent to a measly $3 billion.
Even Bill Gates took a hit, Forbes’ list reports, with his worth dropping a full $18 billion to $40 billion total. Even with the loss, though, Gates moved back into the top spot he had previously lost, as previous richest man Warren Buffett suffered a substantial slide of his own: Buffett lost $25 billion, Forbes says, as his Berkshire Hathaway shares fell almost by 50 per cent over the past year.
Here’s your top 12 and their current net worth, according to Forbes’ rich list of billionaires in 2009.
Forbes Billionaires 2009
1. Bill Gates — $40 billion
2. Warren Buffett — $37 billion
3. Carlos Slim Helu and family — $35 billion
4. Lawrence Ellison — $22.5 billion
5. Ingvar Kamprad and family — $22 billion
6. Karl Albrecht — $21.5 billion
7. Mukesh Ambani — $19.5 billion
8. Lakshmi Mittal — $19.3 billion
9. Theo Albrecht — $18.8 billion
10. Amancio Ortega — $18.3 billion
11. Jim Walton — $17.8 billion
12 (tie). Alice Walton — $17.6 billion
12 (tie). Christy Walton and family — $17.6 billion
12 (tie). S. Robson Walton — $17.6 billion
Asian Rich List
Two dozen Indians made it to the Forbes list of ‘World's Richest’ with four of them among the top 10, as Warren Buffett dethroned Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who held the top slot for 13 straight years.
Steel czar Lakshmi Mittal, heading the world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal, is in the fourth place with a personal fortune of $45 billion. A long-time resident of London, he is also Europe's richest resident, notes the US business magazine.
Next comes Mukesh Ambani, "Asia's richest resident, who heads petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries, India's most valuable company by market cap" with $43 billion.
The year's biggest gainer, Anil Ambani, is in the sixth place with a fortune of $42 billion. He is up $23.8 billion in the past year, and is closing the gap with his estranged brother Mukesh.
K P Singh, now the world's richest real estate baron after listing his real estate development company DLF in 2007, takes the eighth place in the list with $30 billion. Declaring Buffett as the richest man on the planet, Forbes said, "Riding the surging price of Berkshire Hathaway stock, America's most beloved investor has seen his fortune swell to an estimated $62 billion, up $10 billion from a year ago."
That massive pile of scratch puts him ahead of Gates, who is now worth $58 billion and is ranked third in the world after Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú with an estimated net worth of $60 billion.
The other 20 Indians in the billionaires list are Shashi and Ravi Ruia (43), Azim Premji (60), Sunil Mittal and family (64), Kumar Birla (76), Ramesh Chandra (86), Gautam Adani (91), Savitri Jindal and family (110), Anil Agarwal (164), Adi Godrej and family (178), G.M. Rao (198), Indu Jain (236), Dilip Shanghvi (260), Jaiprakash Gaur (277), Shiv Nadar (277), Uday Kotak (288), Cyrus Poonawalla (307), Anand Jain (327), Chandru Raheja (368), Tulsi Tanti (368) and Rakesh Wadhawan and family (428).
The Forbes list also mentions two Indians, Gautam Adani ($9.3 billion) and Sameer Gehlaut ($1.2 billion), as "notable billionaires".
"Adani is a college dropout who spurned his father's textile trading business to seek his own fortune... Today he is Asia's richest newcomer thanks to two big public holdings, Adani Enterprises, and Mundra Port, one of India's first private-sector ports," it says. "India's youngest self-made billionaire, Gehlaut" is an engineer from the elite Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He started online brokerage Indiabulls with two college friends in 1999. He still heads the company and is its largest shareholder.
A few young tycoons were able to make money this past year in the face of financial turmoil, Forbes said. Among them Indian pharmaceutical kings Malvinder and Shivinder Singh added $100 million to their combined net worth. --Indo-Asian News Service