Business Irish

Sunday 18 November 2018

Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary joins Forbes billionaire list

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary Photo: Bloomberg
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary Photo: Bloomberg
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Ryanair’s colourful chief executive Michael O’Leary has joined latest Forbes list of billionaires.

The airline boss was ranked 1,999 on the list, with an estimated wealth of $1.1bn (€890m).

At one stage, O'Leary (56) owned almost 25pc of low-fares airline Ryanair, but sold much of the stock over the last 20 years. His stake of about 4.1pc is now worth around €700m after he sold €72m worth of shares in June last year.

The Clongowes-educated former accountant has a large UK commercial property portfolio, owning two office blocks in the centre of London as well as other buildings in Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester.

O'Leary has also spent heavily to become the biggest national hunt horse owner in the country. He owns over 160 horses, who have won over €15m over the past five years, and half of the runners in last year's Irish Grand National were his.

Among the other notable Irish people on the list of billionaires were Denis O’Brien, Dermot Desmond, and John and Patrick Collison who founded the tech company Stripe.

Pallonji Mistry, John Grayken, John Dorrance III, and Martin Naughton completed the total of nine Irish people on the list of 2,280 billionaires from 72 countries.

At the top of the Forbes list was Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, with an estimated wealth of $127.3bn. Mr Bezos owns 16pc of Amazon, which he founded in a garage in 1994.

Bill Gates was second on the list, with an estimated wealth of $91.2bn, while investor Warren Buffet completed the top three on the list of billionaires, with an estimated wealth of $87.7bn.

Of the 2,208 billionaires, the majority were from the US, followed by China.

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