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Mexican Carlos Slim (left) is the richest man in Latin America, while Brazilian Jorge Lemann is Brazil's wealthiest individual, according to estimates from Forbes. (Photos: Agencia Brasil and Columbia University)
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Trade Talk

Latin America Billionaires: Lemann Gains, Slim Falls 

Strong declines among many Latin American billionaires.


Mexican mogul Carlos Slim fell from second to fourth place among the world's top billionaires, according to the latest annual ranking from Forbes. Brazilian businessman Jorge Lemann, the key driver behind 3G Capital (owner of AB InBev, Heinz and Burger King), ends up in 19th place, up seven spots. 

Slim’s fortune now stands at $50 billion compared with $72.1 billion a year ago, while Lemann’s fortune jumped from $25 billion last year to $27.8 billion this year.

Brazilian banker Joseph Safra was the third-richest Latin American, with an estimated fortune of $17.3 billion, the same as last year. Forbes calls him the world’s richest banker.

Slim wasn’t the only Latin American billionaire to see a strong decline in fortune.

Grupo Mexico owner German Larrea saw his fortune fall from $13.9 billion last year to $9.2 billion this year; Colombian banker Luis Carlos Sarmiento saw his fortune fall from $13.4 billion to $8.9 billion; Mexican business man Alberto Bailleres Gonzalez (of conglomerate Grupo Bal) saw his fortune decline from $10.4 to $6.9 billion and Ricardo Salinas (Grupo Elektra) saw his fortune almost halved from $8 billion to $4.3 billion.

Something similar happed with the Marinho brothers Joao Roberto and Roberto Irineu (of the Globo company in Brazil), which each saw their fortune go from $8.2 billion to $4.3 billion.

In Sarmiento’s case much of the decline was due to the lower dollar value of his assets, which are held in Colombian pesos, which fell dramatically compared to the US dollar the past year.

Meanwhile, Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin from Brazil saw his fortune grow from $4.8 billion last year to $6.2 billion this year.

Other top billionaires in Latin America include Lemann’s Brazilian business partners Marcel Hermann Telles ($13 billion) and Carlos Alberto Sicupira ($11.3 billion); Chile’s Iris Fontbana ($10.1 billion) and Mexico’s Eva Gonda de Rivera ($6.1 billion), Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala ($5.5 billion) and Jeronimo Arango ($4.4 billion).

In Venezuela, Juan Carlos Escotet (of Banesco) saw his fortune inch up to $3.7 billion from $3.3 billion a year earlier.


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