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Column 050514 Wall

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mexico's Carlos Slim is No Longer the World's Wealthiest Man

By Allan Wall

Mexico’s Carlos Slim has lost his status as the world’s richest man.  But don’t worry, you’re not about to see don Carlos begging at the intersection.  Slim is now the world’s second-richest man, with a net worth of over US$70 billion.

Each March, Forbes magazine lists the world’s billionaires.  Slim held the title of World’s Wealthiest Man for four consecutive years, but in the 2014 list Slim was in second place, and Bill Gates was back at #1.

Besides its annual March billionaires list, Forbes is now running an updated list throughout the year.  Here is their listing of the world’s ten richest people as of May 1, 2014:

1.          Bill Gates of the U.S., founder and CEO of Microsoft, at $77.3 billion
2.         Carlos Slim and family of Mexico, at $70.4 billion
3.         Warren Buffet of the U.S., of Berkshire Hathaway, at $66.1 billion
4.         Amancio Ortega of Spain, at $64.2 billion
5.         Larry Ellison of the U.S., of Oracle Corporation, at $50.3 billion
6.         A tie between the Koch brothers Charles and David (U.S.), each with $41.4 billion
8.         Cristy Walton and family, U.S., of Walmart, at $39.1 billion
9.         Sheldon Adelson, U.S.  casino magnate, at $38.6 billion
10.       Jim Walton, of the Walmart Walton clan, at $36.8 billion

Forbes explains how Slim’s net worth decreased during the year under review:

“His four-year run as world's richest person has come to an end, primarily because shares of Minera Frisco, his mining company, have fallen more than 50% in the past year as the price of gold and copper plummeted.  That plus a dip in the value of his largest asset, pan-Latin American telecom firm America Movil, combined to knock $1 billion off his net worth, making him the only billionaire among the world's 10 richest to get poorer in the past year. ”

It sounds a little funny to say “poorer” when discussing a multi-billionaire.  Anyway, back to Forbes:

“America Movil has come under pressure in Mexico after the passage of a new anti-monopoly telecom and media law.  America Movil has 70% or more market share of both the landline and mobile markets in Mexico. Slim also holds a controlling interest in industrial conglomerate Grupo Carso, financial venture Grupo Financiero Inbursa, real estate enterprise Inmuebles Carso, and infrastructure development and operating company Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo en América Latina, or Ideal.”

Slim also has holdings north of the border, as Forbes discusses:  “[Slim] continues to hold minority stakes in U.S. companies Saks Fifth Avenue and The New York Times Co. He has also invested in two Spanish companies: Grupo Prisa, a media conglomerate, and CaixaBank, an investment banking firm.”

Mexican billionaires in general had a weak year.  According to Forbes:

“Partially as a reflection of Mexico’s slower than expected 2013 economic growth, the combined net worth of Mexico’s billionaires fell $5.6 billion this year, from $148.59 billion to $142.9. The 4% drop stands in stark contrast to the 25.9% growth in the wealth held by billionaires in the world as a whole for the year.”

There were 16 Mexicans on this year’s billionaires list. That’s four more than last year.  According to Forbes, “Of the 14 billionaires who were on last year’s list, the net worth of seven fell, while four increased their fortunes and the other three remained flat.”

Here is Forbes’ list of the 16 Mexican billionaires:

  • Carlos Slim and family, $70.4 billion. (#2 in world)
  • German Larrea Mota Velasco and family, $13.6 billion (#76 in world)
  • Alberto Bailleres Gonzalez and family, $11.6 billion (#98 in world)
  • Ricardo Salinas Pliego and family, $7.7 billion (#175 in world)
  • Eva Gonda de Rivera and family, $6.7 billion (#207 in world)
  • Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala and family, $5.1 billion (#286 in world)
  • Antonio del Valle Ruiz and family, $5.1 billion (#291 in world)
  • Jeronimo Arango and family, $4.4 billion (#356 in world)
  • Emilio Azcarraga Jean, $2.9 billion (#601 in world)
  • David Peñaloza Sandoval, $2.4 billion (#764 in world)
  • Carlos Hank Rhon and family, $2.2 billion (#819 in world)
  • Jose and Francisco Jose Calderon Rojas, $2.1 billion (#834 in world)
  • Roberto Hernandez Ramirez, $1.8 billion (#1024 in world)
  • Alfredo Harp Helu and family, $1.6 billion (#1124 in world)
  • Max Michel Suberville, $1.5 billion (#1192 in world)
  • Rufino Vigil Gonzalez, $1.1 billion (#1476 in world)

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Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info.

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