Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Holding falls in ranking of billionaires

Drop occurs despite increase in net worth

Express Staff Writer

Earl Holding

Sun Valley Co. owner Earl Holding increased his net worth by $900 million in one year but fell 27 places in Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's billionaires, released every March.

With a reported net worth of $3.9 billion, the 83-year-old owner of Sinclair Oil placed 232nd on the list. That puts him above the average $3.5 billion net worth for the world's 1,011 billionaires. Last year's list had 793 billionaires. Of those billionaires on last year's list, only 12 percent saw their fortunes decline.

Holding's fortune increased by about 30 percent from last year when it was reported at $3 billion. However, his fortune has decreased since 2008 when he was reported having $5 billion, meaning his holdings have fallen by 22 percent in two years.

Holding bought Sinclair Oil in 1976, and his energy empire now includes three refineries, 1,000 miles of pipeline and 2,600 gas stations.

Holding isn't the only American who dropped in the billionaire listing despite having increased his fortune.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who had held the title of world's richest person for 14 of the past 15 years, was overtaken by Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, whose holdings include America Movil. Helu's fortune has skyrocketed to an estimated $53.5 billion, up $18.5 billion in 12 months. Shares of America Movil, of which Slim owns a $23 billion stake, were up 35 percent in a year.

In 2009, Helu ranked third behind top-ranked Gates and American investor Warren Buffet. He beat them both this year despite Gates' having increased his worth by 32 percent, and Buffet by 27 percent. Helu more than doubled his fortune.

Americans' dominance in the billionaire listing has waned this year. This year, Americans own 38 percent of the collective $3.6 trillion net worth of the world's richest, down from 44 percent a year ago.

According to Forbes, Asia was the biggest winner this year, adding 104 billionaires and now having just 14 fewer than Europe, "thanks to several large public offerings and swelling stock markets."

Trevon Milliard:

Top 10 richest people:

1) Carlos Slim Helu and family, telecom mogul, Mexico: $53.5 billion.

2) Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, United States: $53 billion.

3) Warren Buffett, investor, United States: $47 billion.

4) Mukesh Ambani, petrochemicals, India: $29 billion.

5) Lakshmi Mittal, steel, India: $28.7 billion.

6) Lawrence Ellison, Oracle software company, United States: $28 billion.

7) Bernard Arnault, fashion, France: $27.5 billion.

8) Eike Batista, mining and oil, Brazil: $27 billion.

9) Amancio Ortega, fashion, Spain: $25 billion.

10) Karl Albrecht, supermarkets, Germany: $23.5 billion.

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