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THE WORLD’S BILLIONAIRES

THE TOP 20 Eike Batista GLOBAL RANK: 7

$30 BILLION 

Brazil’s richest man is riding high on oil fever. His oil and gas driller, OGX Petróleo e Gás, produced its first oil in a test well offshore in late January; his 61% stake in the company is worth $19.8 billion—two-thirds of his net worth. The bombastic entrepreneur is also betting on his former passion, gold: In March 2011 he spent $1.5 billion to take private Canadian-listed Ventana Gold, which owns what he says is an incredibly promising mine in Colombia.

Carlos Slim Helu GLOBAL RANK: 1

$69 BILLION 

MEXICO TELECOM, DIVERSIFIED

Slim retains the title of world’s richest man for the third year in a row despite a fortune that’s $5 billion smaller than a year ago—primarily because of a lower share price for telecom giant América Móvil, which accounts for more than half his net worth. In April the company was fined $1 billion by Mexican regulators for monopolistic practices but is appealing the decision. 78 | FORBES

MARCH 26, 2012

FROM LEFT: RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP / GETTY IMAGES; JOAO PINA / REDUX; MARK BLINCH / REUTERS / LANDOV; SUSANA GONZALEZ / BLOOMBERG; JOSHUA LOTT / BLOOMBERG

BRAZIL MINING, OIL


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Ricardo Salinas Pliego & family

Iris Fontbona & family GLOBAL RANK: 32

GLOBAL RANK: 37

CHILE MINING

MEXICO RETAIL, MEDIA

Fontbona is the widow of mining and banking magnate Andrónico Luksic, who died in 2005. Her family controls Antofagasta, one of the world’s largest copper miners. A decline in the miner’s share price shaved nearly $1.4 billion off her net worth since March 2011. The clan also holds shares in Quiñenco, a consumer packaging and beverage maker, and Plava Laguna, a chain of Croatian beach resorts. During a December 2011 telethon, the usually press-averse Fontbona publicly donated $3 million to help Chileans with disabilities.

Salinas Pliego is the world’s biggest gainer in dollar terms. His net worth is $9.2 billion higher than a year ago thanks to a more than doubling of the share price of Mexicolisted home appliance and electronics retailer Grupo Elektra. Analysts point to a small float as one reason for the price spike; an equity swap with UBS and a new placement on the Mexican stock index further reduced supply and drove share prices higher. He also controls Mexico’s second-largest broadcaster, TV Azteca, and wireless phone company Iusacell.

$17.4 BILLION 

$17.8 BILLION 

Alberto Bailleres Gonzalez & family GLOBAL RANK: 38

$16.5 BILLION 

MEXICO MINING

GLOBAL RANK: 48

Bailleres chairs Mexico’s second-largest mining company, Industrias Peñoles, one of the world’s largest silver miners. Thanks to higher prices for precious metals and the opening of his El Saucito mine in Zacatecas, his fortune is up $4.6 billion since 2011 on a steep rise in Industrias Peñoles’ share price; his 69% stake is worth $13.4 billion. He is reportedly a patron of bullfighting.

David Thomson & family GLOBAL RANK: 35

$17.5 BILLION 

CANADA MEDIA

Thomson, a camera-shy media magnate and chairman of Thomson Reuters, stepped into the spotlight this past year with a deal in which he helped buy the National Hockey League’s Atlanta Thrashers, relocate them to Canada and rename them the Winnipeg Jets. Thomson’s net worth fell $5.5 billion due to a near 30% drop since March 2011 in Thomson Reuters’ share price. CHANGE IN FORTUNE:

 UP

 DOWN

 UNCHANGED

´ NEW TO LIST

German Larrea Mota Velasco & family

$14.2 BILLION 

MEXICO MINING

The media-shy Larrea reigns as Mexico’s copper king. His copper producer, Grupo México, had another stellar year, revenue-wise. But with stock prices slightly down, Larrea and his family, who control 51% of the mining conglomerate, saw their fortune drop by $1.8 billion since last year. Larrea remains elusive, avoiding journalists and photographers.

RETURN

MARCH 26, 2012

FORBES | 79


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THE WORLD’S BILLIONAIRES

THE AMERICAS — TOP 20

Joseph Safra

Eliodoro, Bernardo & Patricia Matte

GLOBAL RANK: 52

$13.8 BILLION 

GLOBAL RANK: 86

BRAZIL BANKING

$10.2 BILLION 

CHILE DIVERSIFIED

Antonio Ermirio de Moraes & family GLOBAL RANK: 67

$12.2 BILLION 

BRAZIL DIVERSIFIED

Luis Carlos Sarmiento GLOBAL RANK: 64

$12.4 BILLION 

COLOMBIA BANKING

Sarmiento, once Colombia’s top builder, parlayed his construction fortune into a financial services empire, Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores, with stakes in 4 Colombian banks, a leasing company and a pension fund. His son, Luis Carlos Sarmiento Gutiérrez, is the chief executive officer of Grupo Aval.

Revered businessman is the former chairman of family-owned conglomerate Grupo Votorantim, whose activities span steel, metals, pulp, finance, energy and cement. His net worth has jumped $6.9 billion since last year due to new information that Antonio and his family own all of Grupo Votorantim, not 25% of it, as previously estimated.

Jorge Paulo Lemann GLOBAL RANK: 69

$12 BILLION 

BRAZIL BEER, INVESTMENTS

Onetime investment banker built a fortune in beer with a controlling stake in Anheuser-Busch InBev. Now he and his longtime partners, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira (see), are trying to turn around hamburger chain Burger King, which they bought via their 3G Capital for $4 billion in 2010. 80 | FORBES

MARCH 26, 2012

Siblings Eliodoro, Bernardo and Patricia share a fortune based on forestry and paper products as well as stakes in telecom, banking and shipping firms. Last May Eliodoro stepped down as president of 5 of Grupo CMPC’s holdings but maintained leadership over Empresas CMPC, the primary holding company. Bernardo oversees the family’s stake in Banco Bice and electric utility Colbun.

Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila & family GLOBAL RANK: 97

$9.5 BILLION ´

COLOMBIA BEER

Santo Domingo Dávila became the face of the Santo Domingo Group after his father, 87-yearold Julio Mario Santo Domingo, died in October 2011. A Harvard history grad, Alejandro is the eldest son from the jet-setting beer magnate’s second marriage. In 2005 Julio Mario swapped control of his Bavaria brewery for 15% of SABMiller. The Santo Domingo Group holds a 14% stake now worth $9 billion.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: ZUMA PRESS / NEWSCOM; BILLY FARRELL / BFA / SIPA PRESS; JUAN MANUEL VARGAS / NEWSCOM; PASCAL GUYOT / AFP / NEWSCOM

Brazil’s wealthiest banker is expanding his turf. His Grupo Safra announced in November it would spend roughly $1.1 billion to acquire control of Bank Sarasin, a private bank in Switzerland, from Rabobank of the Netherlands. Safra paid $285 million early last year for the office space of the 660 Madison Avenue building in Manhattan, home to Barneys New York.


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THE WORLD’S BILLIONAIRES

THE AMERICAS — TOP 20

Horst Paulmann & family

Marcel Herrmann Telles

$9.3 BILLION 

BRAZIL BEER, INVESTMENTS

CHILE RETAIL

Paulmann and his family own 63% of Cencosud, one of Latin America’s largest retailers, with malls, supermarkets, department stores, an insurance brokerage, entertainment centers and a travel agency. Last year Cencosud stores were raided when the government accused the retailer of sending goods from Argentina and passing them off as relief for the 2010 earthquake to avoid taxes. Paulmann vehemently denied all accusations.

$5.7 BILLION 

Carlos Alberto Sicupira GLOBAL RANK: 196

$5.2 BILLION 

BRAZIL BEER, INVESTMENTS

Partners of billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann (see), Marcel Telles and Carlos Sicupira share control with him of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer company, and hamburger chain Burger King. The trio also control Brazilian retailer Lojas Americanas.

Brothers James and Arthur head the family’s New Brunswick business conglomerate, which includes oil, natural gas, gas stations, timber, shipbuilding and more. Its Irving Shipbuilding’s Halifax Yard won a monstrous contract in October 2011 to build $25 billion worth of frigates, destroyers and patrol ships for the Canadian military. Their brother and business partner, John, died in 2010.

$4.5 BILLION 

$7.6 BILLION 

BRAZIL STEEL

CANADA RETAIL

Marcel Telles

Carlos & Alejandro Bulgheroni GLOBAL RANK: 199

$5.1 BILLION 

ARGENTINA OIL

The brothers turned Bridas, an oil services company founded by their father, into Argentina’s second-largest oil and gas company. In 2010 China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC) paid $3.1 billion for a 50% stake. Last year Bridas agreed to buy 60% of Pan American Energy from British oil giant BP for $7.1 billion, but Bridas terminated the deal in November.

MARCH 26, 2012

$5 BILLION 

CANADA DIVERSIFIED

GLOBAL RANK: 232

GLOBAL RANK: 121

82 | FORBES

GLOBAL RANK: 205

Dorothea Steinbruch & family

Galen Weston & family Weston stepped down from the board of retailer Associated British Foods late last year. He still serves as executive chairman of George Weston Ltd., the Canadian food and retail giant founded by his grandfather in 1882. In July his Selfridges unit purchased Ogilvy’s, a Montreal department store chain, for an undisclosed amount.

James & Arthur Irving

Steinbruch and her children control one of Brazil’s largest steelmakers, Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN), with $9 billion in revenues and a $15 billion market capitalization. Their net worth dropped by $1.3 billion since last year as CSN share prices fell. Dorothea’s son Benjamin serves as chairman and chief executive of CSN. The family also owns Banco Fibra; Dorothea’s son Ricardo is chairman of the board.

FROM TOP: FREDY BUILES / REUTERS / LANDOV; HERWIG VERGULT / AFP / GETTY IMAGES; DAVID X PRUTTING / NEWSCOM

GLOBAL RANK: 98

GLOBAL RANK: 178


Forbes Billionaires 2012 - Americas