The World’s Richest People in 2006

15 Oct
 Forbes List of:
The World’s Richest People




Net Worth ($bil)



William Gates III

United States



United States


Warren Buffett

United States



United States


Carlos Slim Helu






Ingvar Kamprad






Lakshmi Mittal




United Kingdom


Paul Allen

United States



United States


Bernard Arnault






Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud

Saudi Arabia



Saudi Arabia


Kenneth Thomson & family






Li Ka-shing

Hong Kong



Hong Kong


Roman Abramovich




United Kingdom


Michael Dell

United States



United States


Karl Albrecht






Sheldon Adelson

United States



United States


Liliane Bettencourt






Lawrence Ellison

United States



United States


Christy Walton

United States



United States


Jim Walton

United States



United States


S Robson Walton

United States



United States


Alice Walton

United States



United States


Helen Walton

United States



United States


Theo Albrecht






Amancio Ortega






Steven Ballmer

United States



United States


Azim Premji




Click Here

The World’s Billionaires
Billionaire Bacchanalia
Edited by Luisa Kroll and Allison Fass 03.27.06



The World’s Billionaires

Cyber Bookie

A Common Touch

Czech Mate

Sharp as a Tack

Complete Contents

Canadian playboy Calvin Ayre went down to Costa Rica a decade ago and began taking illegal bets over the Internet.

Now he’s worth $1 billion (see cover story). Making a billion just isn’t what it used to be. In its inaugural ranking of the world’s richest people 20 years ago FORBES uncovered some 140 billionaires. Just three years ago we found 476. This year the list is a record 793, up 102 from last year. They’re worth a combined $2.6 trillion, up 18% since last March. Their average net worth: $3.3 billion.

Strong stock markets around the world (the U.S. being the notable exception) contributed to this surge in wealth. India, whose BSE SENSEX market was up 54% in the past 12 months, is home to 10 new billionaires, more than any other country besides the U.S.

Notable newcomers include Tulsi Tanti, a former textile trader whose alternative energy company owns Asia’s largest windfarm; Vijay Mallya, the liquor tycoon behind Kingfisher beer; Kushal Pal Singh, India’s biggest real estate developer; and Anurag Dikshit (pronounced “dix-sit”), another online gaming mogul, who made his fortune when he and two Americans took their PartyGaming poker company public in London last June.

Russia, whose RTS stock exchange was up 108%, benefited from strong gains in commodities prices. The surge swelled the fortunes of its 33 billionaires, including 7 newcomers who join the list. China now has 8 billionaires, four times as many as last year. The U.S. is home to 44 new billionaires and commands nearly half of the fortunes on the roster.

Bill Gates retains his title as the world’s richest person for the twelfth straight year, proving that while it’s getting easier to make a billion, the same can’t be said for making $50 billion.

Twelve people return to the list. Thirty-nine people depart from it. Seven fortunes were broken up among family members, usually siblings, adding 15 individuals to the ranks. Seventy-eight women make the list, 10 more than last year, though only 6 are self-made. Hind Hariri, daughter of slain Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, who is eight months younger than Germany’s Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis, is, at 22, the list’s youngest member.

REPORTED BY Cristina von Zeppelin, Tatiana Serafin, Suzanne Hoppough, Kiyoe Minami, Helen Coster, Kerry A. Dolan, Russell Flannery, Evan Hessel, Megan Johnston, Matthew Miller, Matthew Swibel.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY Kiri Blakeley, Justin Doebele, Chandrani Ghosh, Lea Goldman, Naazneen Karmali, Maxim Kashulinsky,
Josephine Lee, Forbes Russia, Nathan Vardi, Kirill Vishnepolsky, Chaniga Vorasarun.

RESEARCH BY Phyllis Berman, Heidi Brown, Tomas Kellner, Ritu Kalra, Susan Kitchens, Deborah Orr, Forbes Poland, Forbes Turkey.

Gail Toivanen.


#1 William Gates III

© AP Photo

Age: 50
Fortune: self made
Source: Microsoft

Net Worth: 50.0

Country Of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Medina, Washington, United States, North America
Industry: Software
Marital Status: married, 3 children

Harvard University, Drop Out

Microsoft’s chief visionary moving further away from day-to-day corporate work. For the first time did not offer a strategy outlook at last year’s financial analyst meeting. Instead, prefers to dive into innovative projects, foster collaboration among Microsoft’s many divisions. Microsoft aims to be omnipotent, selling software for PCs, servers, cell phones, television set-top boxes, gaming consoles, the Web. At the ripe (tech sector) age of 30, Gates’ company impressively beats rivals in profit margins, market capitalization and R&D budget, but its sales growth is slowing to a (recently) single-digit percentage pace. Like elder statesman of computing, IBM, has been investing heavily in its own stock. Diversifies methodically, selling 20 million shares every quarter, reinvesting through Cascade Investment. Big stakes in Canadian National Railway, Republic Services, Berkshire Hathaway. Philanthropy, via $29 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aimed at fighting infectious disease (hepatitis B, AIDS, malaria) and improving high schools.


#2 Warren Buffett

© Eric Francis/Bloomberg News/Landov

Age: 75
Fortune: self made
Source: Berkshire Hathaway

Net Worth: 42.0

Country Of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Omaha, Nebraska, United States, North America
Industry: Investments
Marital Status: widowed, 3 children

University of Nebraska Lincoln, Bachelor of Arts / Science
Columbia University, Master of Science

Revered investor took it on the chin over Berkshire Hathaway’s General Re insurance unit; SEC threatened civil fraud suit against General Re Chief Joseph Brandon over questionable transaction with American International Group. Also got it for his board seat at Coca-Cola, where his "independence" might be compromised by Berkshire’s ownership of Dairy Queen, which buys lots of Coke products. Buffett: "Do they want us to favor Pepsi?" At Berkshire set in place two governance reforms: regular meetings of directors without Buffett present; whistleblower line for employees. Sitting on $43 billion in cash, hoped to make some big acquisitions last year, "but I struck out." Instead, invested in foreign currencies: $21 billion bet against the dollar and in favor of various other currencies. "In no way does our thinking about currencies rest on doubts about America." Newspaper delivery boy filed first 1040 at age 13; claimed $35 deduction for bicycle. Studied under Benjamin Graham at Columbia. Applied value-investing principles to build Berkshire Hathaway. Portfolio includes utilities (MidAmerican Energy Holdings), insurance (Geico, General Re), apparel (Fruit of the Loom), flight services (FlightSafety, NetJets). Also chunks of American Express, Coca-Cola, Gillette, Wells Fargo. Instructs managers to run a business as if it’s the only asset the manager’s family will own over the next 100 years. Prefers his investors to buy equities only after careful analysis. "If they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful." Says he underestimated the severity of certain stocks’ overvaluation during the tech bubble. "I talked when I should have walked." No matter. Since taking control of Berkshire 40 years ago, has delivered compound annual return of 22%. "No wonder we tap-dance to work."

#3 Carlos Slim Helu

© Zuma Press

Age: 66
Fortune: inherited and growing
Source: Telecom

Net Worth: 30.0

Country Of Citizenship: Mexico
Residence: Mexico City, Mexico, North America
Industry: Communications
Marital Status: widowed, 6 children

Latin America’s richest man added more than $6 billion to his fortune this year. He sold off his stakes in MCI and Altria and used the proceeds to up his holding in Saks Inc; in his fixed line operator, Telmex; and in America Movil, his flagship wireless telecom outfit. The latest was a particularly smart move as America Movil’s stock has almost doubled in the past year. He also owns 71% of a new public company, Impulsora del Desarollo Economico de America Latina, which he spun off from financial services giant Grupo Financiero Inbursa. Inbursa also invested in a start-up budget airline called Volaris. An art collector, Slim houses his Rodin sculptures in Mexico City’s Museo Soumaya, the museum he funded and named after his late wife. His Grupo Carso is reportedly a combination of his first name and his late wife’s.

#4 Ingvar Kamprad

© AP Photo/Ingvar Andersson

Age: 79
Fortune: self made
Source: Ikea

Net Worth: 28.0

Country Of Citizenship: Sweden
Residence: Lausanne, Switzerland, Europe & Russia
Industry: Retailing
Marital Status: married, 4 children

Peddled matches, fish, pens, Christmas cards and other items by bicycle as a teenager. Started selling furniture in 1947. Now his company Ikea, which sells hip designs for the cost conscious, is one of the most beloved retailers in the world, with an almost cultlike following. Ikea, which has stores in 33 countries, continues to expand into new markets such as Guangzhou, China and Moscow. As egalitarian as his brand, Kamprad avoids wearing suits, flies economy class and frequents cheap restaurants. Has been quoted as saying that his luxuries are occasionally buying a nice cravat and eating Swedish fish roe


#5 Lakshmi Mittal

© AFP/Getty Images

Age: 55
Fortune: inherited and growing
Source: Steel

Net Worth: 23.5

Country Of Citizenship: India
Residence: London, United Kingdom, Europe & Russia
Industry: Manufacturing
Marital Status: married, 2 children

St Xavier’s College Calcutta, Bachelor of Arts / Science

The steel titan now oversees the world’s largest steel company, Mittal Steel. In December 2004 he merged his Ispat International with Ohio-based International Steel Group in a $4 billion (in cash and stock) deal. Owns 87.4% of the $28.1 billion (2005 sales) company. An early year double-digit drop in US and European steel prices and fourth-quarter increased spending on coal and iron ore and lower prices helped lead to a 28% drop in 2005 profits to $3.4 billion. On Jan 27, Mittal made a $23.7 billion hostile bid for largest rival, Luxembourg-based Arcelor, in an effort to spark more world steel consolidation and enable Mittal Steel to sell higher grade steel to company’s like Ford Motor. Arcelor employing numerous techniques to either fend it off or get a higher price: bought a large stake in a Chinese steel company; enlisted the French government to take up its cause; Luxembourg (the biggest shareholder) introduced a new takeover law; and Arcelor doubled its dividend.


#6 Paul Allen

© Getty Images

Age: 53
Fortune: self made
Source: Microsoft, investments

Net Worth: 22.0

Country Of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Seattle, Washington, United States, North America
Industry: Software
Marital Status: single, no children

Washington State University, Drop Out

Microsoft cofounder, "wired world" proponent lately finding more promise in pipes delivering oil instead of information. Bought energy outfit Plains Resources for $460 million, controlling stake in Plains All American Pipeline, operator of 15,000 miles of oil pipelines. Through Vulcan Energy unit, paid $250 million for natural gas storage business from Sempra Energy. Hasn’t given up entirely on the future. Still maintains dozens of investments in media (Charter Communications), technology (set-top box manufacturer Digeo), biotech. Ten-year-old investment in wannabe Hollywood studio DreamWorks finally showing some returns after company took its animation unit public but planned secondary offering of mostly Allen shares postponed for now. Owner of pro football’s Seattle Seahawks took team to its first Super Bowl in February, lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Other pursuits in space (funded SpaceShipOne, first to launch private flight into suborbital space), the open seas (413-foot yacht Octopus armed with 2 helicopters and a 60-foot submarine). His Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has donated heavily to education, art and science causes. Joined buddy Bill Gates in 1975, left the company in 1983 to fight Hodgkin’s disease. Has been slowly selling off Microsoft stake ever since.

#7 Bernard Arnault

© Eric Ryan/Getty Images

Age: 57
Fortune: self made
Source: LVMH

Net Worth: 21.5

Country Of Citizenship: France
Residence: Paris, France, Europe & Russia
Industry: Diversified
Marital Status: married, 5 children

Ecole Polytechnique de Paris, Bachelor of Arts / Science

A year of celebration for the "Pope of fashion." His high-end luxury goods empire LVMH, with brands including Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior and Mokt & Chandon, posted record sales of $16.6 billion. Stock is up 35% in the past 12 months, also boosting Arnault’s fortune, which is almost entirely made up of his LVMH stake. On personal front: his eldest child and LVMH board member, Delphine, 30, got married this fall near Bordeaux. Arnault oversaw all the details of the weekend-long festivities and supposedly captured a lot of the events himself with his digital and video cameras.

#8 Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud

© Bloomberg News /Landov

Age: 49
Fortune: self made
Source: Investments

Net Worth: 20.0

Country Of Citizenship: Saudi Arabia
Residence: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Middle East & Africa
Industry: Investments
Marital Status: divorced, 2 children

Menlo College, Bachelor of Arts / Science
Syracuse University, Master of Science

This nephew of the Saudi king is one of the world’s wealthiest investors, with a big stake in Citigroup. Received much publicity–some of it negative–in December 2005 for the $20 million gifts he made to Harvard and Georgetown to expand their Islamic studies departments. In January 2006, with a partner, announced a $3.9 billion deal to buy Fairmont Hotel & Resorts. In February listed his hotel holdings on the Dubai stock exchange. Planning to take his main investment group, Kingdom Holdings, public on the Saudi exchange later this year.

#9 Kenneth Thomson & family

© Getty Images

Age: 82
Fortune: inherited and growing
Source: Publishing

Net Worth: 19.6

Country Of Citizenship: Canada
Residence: Toronto, Canada, North America
Industry: Media/Entertainment
Marital Status: married, 3 children

Canada’s richest man still holds 68.5% of Thomson Corp. media conglomerate, founded in 1934 by his father, Roy. Today son David is chairman. Lately, Thomson has abandoned traditional printed titles for electronic media and financial services software. In 2004 acquired Tradeweb bond trading platform, which booked $42.8 trillion in trades last year. Same year sold 54 trade publications, including American Banker and The Bond Buyer, to Bahrain’s Investcorp for $350 million. In his later years Thomson the elder has amassed an internationally famous art collection of some 3,000 pieces. In 2002 he purchased Peter Paul Rubens’ "Massacre of the Innocents" for $77 million, the fourth-highest price ever paid for a painting at auction. The same year Thomson donated 2,000 works to the Art Gallery of Ontario and pledged $60 million for the museum’s expansion.

#10 Li Ka-shing

© AP Photo

Age: 77
Fortune: self made
Source: Diversified

Net Worth: 18.8

Country Of Citizenship: Hong Kong
Residence: Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Asia & Australia
Industry: Diversified
Marital Status: widowed, 2 children

High School, Drop Out

Asia’s richest and most influential investor’s fortune is centered on conglomerates Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa. Real estate developer, cell phone provider, retailer, major supplier of electricity to Hong Kong and the world’s largest operator of container terminals. In June donated $180 million to University of Hong Kong; $40 million to University of California, Berkeley. Son Victor helps father run his massive empire, son Richard struck out on own in early 1990s.
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Posted by on October 15, 2006 in Business


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