Monday 19 February 2018

1,810 billionaires in world - and Zuckerberg earned more than any of them last year

Mark Zuckerberg with his wife Priscilla Chan. Photo: Getty
Mark Zuckerberg with his wife Priscilla Chan. Photo: Getty
Bill Gates
Alexandra Andresen
US presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Donal O'Donovan and Peter Flanagan

The slowdown in global trade is hitting the very richest people in the world, with the number of billionaires 16 fewer than in 2015.

But there are still 1,810 billionaires and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made more money than anyone else in the world last year.

China saw more of its citizens join the billionaires' club than any other nation.

And Donald Trump is still exaggerating his own wealth, according to 'Forbes' magazine's annual list of global billionaires.

The magazine estimates his wealth at $4.5bn (€4.14bn), but the media mogul and US presidential hopeful says his fortune is more than double that.

Bill Gates topped the list for the 17th time, with a net worth of $75bn (€69bn). Mr Zuckerberg (31) added $11.2bn (€10.3bn) to his fortune, moving from 16th place up to number six on the list with a total of $46.7bn.

Notable newcomers included the world's youngest billionaires, who came in at 1,476th on the list with a fortune of $1.2bn.

Alexandra Andresen (19), a professional horse rider and dressage competitor, and her sister Katharina Andresen (20), from Norway, inherited their fortune from their father Johan F Andresen when he transferred his stake in Norway's biggest company, Ferd Holdings, to his daughters.

Closer to home, businessmen Denis O'Brien, Dermot Desmond and Martin Naughton have again topped the list of the wealthiest Irishmen, according to the latest global ranking.

Telecoms billionaire Denis O'Brien's personal fortune is reckoned at $5.8bn (€5.3bn), making him Ireland's third richest man and the world's 219th wealthiest person.

Financier Dermot Desmond's wealth is estimated at $1.9bn (€1.75bn), making him this country's fourth richest and the world's 959th. Both Mr O'Brien and Mr Desmond are shareholders in Independent News & Media - the publisher of this newspaper.

Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton's fortune is reckoned to be $1.64bn (€1.5bn)by 'Forbes', making him Ireland's sixth wealthiest person.

Pallonji Mistry is little known here, but as head of the family-controlled Shapoorji Pallonji conglomerate he presides over business interests ranging from construction and oil to Tetley Tea and Jaguar Land Rover.

'Forbes' ranks him as Ireland's wealthiest person, because he is the husband of Dublin-born Patsy Perin Dubash. His fortune of $12.5bn (€11.5bn), according to 'Forbes', makes him the 73rd wealthiest in the world.

While 'Forbes' looked at the richest people on the planet, a new report from property agents Knight Frank claims the numbers of mega-rich in Ireland has grown by a fifth in the past 10 years, even after one of the worst financial crashes in history.

The Knight Frank Wealth Report shows the number of "ultra high net worth individuals" in Ireland - typically defined as those with assets worth more than $30m - has increased by 18pc since 2005. During the last decade the amount of assets moving into Ireland jumped by 123pc. That put it ahead of the UK and US in terms of growth in inflows.

The report says most of that increase is because Ireland is an attractive place for the mobile rich to come to because of the euro and the tax regime.

Knight Frank attributes much of the growth to the tech sector, which is unrecognisable now compared with 2005. At that point, Google had just set up a Dublin office and the tech scene here was tiny at best. Now it is one of the most vibrant sectors in the country, with Google alone employing more than 2,700 people.

The improving tech sector means the number of ultra-rich in Ireland will continue to grow, with Knight Frank predicting it will increase 29pc in a decade.

Despite the overall positive tone of the report, Knight Frank warns that the ease with which money and other assets can be moved around means wealth can leave Ireland quickly if there is a long period of instability after the election.

The level of assets transferred out of Greece and Italy more than doubled in the past 10 years - something that could happen to Ireland.

Irish Independent

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