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Forbes' 2012 billionaires list includes 25 Canadians


According to the Forbes Billionaires List for 2012, the Mexican tycoon has once again held onto the number one position, with an estimated worth of $69 billion!

Meanwhile, Microsoft's Bill Gates came in second place with $61 billion, while Warren Buffet had the third spot with $44 billion!

Other notable money bags this year include the youngest billionaire to make the list, 'Spanx' founder Sarah Blakely, Facebook's Mark Zuckberg in the 35 spot with a net worth of $17.5 billion, and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling dropping off the list as she's fallen below the $1 billion mark, due to Britain's high taxes, and her donation of $150 million to charity!

25 Canadians also made the list, lead by Thomson Reuters chairman David Thomson and family, whose $17.5 billion ranked him at the 35th spot globally.

Galen Weston and family, of food and retail empire George Weston Ltd. - which owns the Loblaws grocery store chain - came in second among Canadians at $7.6 billion, and 121st overall.

Oil tycoons James and Arthur Irving combined for third place among Canadians with $5 billion (205th on world list), followed by Paul Desmarais and Jimmy Pattison, who tied for fourth (248th in the world) with $4.3-billion each.

Despite a $6 billion hit to his wealth from slumping stock markets over the past year, Forbes said Slim's $69 billion was enough to keep him on top of its global billionaire list for the third straight year.

Gates had a fortune worth $61 billion, still hefty after having given away $28 billion over recent years to charitable causes such as fighting AIDS and polio.

The two topped a list of 1,226 billionaires Forbes counted around the world, dominated as ever by Americans - 425 in total and 11 of the top 20 - but also underpinned by the rise of concentrated wealth in China and Russia.

Rounding out the top 10 richest Canadians were: Emanuele (Lino) Saputo, worth $3.7-billion (5th in Canada/296th in the world); Bernard (Barry) Sherman, also worth $3.7-billion (5th/296th); Clayton Riddell, worth $3-billion (6th/377th); David Azrieli & family, worth $2.9-billion (7th/ 401st); Lululemon's Chip Wilson, also worth $2.9-billion (7th/401st); Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, worth $2.6-billion (8th/464th); Robert Miller, worth $2.5-billion (9th/491st); and Charles Bronfman, worth $2-billion (10th/634th).

Showing the impact of sluggish world growth over the past two years, the global billionaire list only expanded by 16 this year, and the average billionaire's money pot was unchanged at $3.7 billion.

But many of the stars of recent years felt the hit of slumps in stock markets, where much of their wealth is counted.

India's steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal dropped out of the top 20 for the first time since 2004, Forbes said, after shares of his main business, ArcelorMittal, plunged, leaving him $10.4 billion poorer with just $20.7 billion.

Likewise, the number of Chinese billionaires shrank with Asian stock markets, to 95 from 115 last year.

But Chinese and Russian billionaires together still made up 16 per cent of the world's total, underpinning the monumental shift in wealth from many of the older industrial powers over the past two decades.

The downturn in the European economy also was evident in the numbers: for the second year running, there were more billionaires in the Asia-Pacific region (315) than in Europe (310).

In the overall list, holding the third spot behind Gates was, as in previous years, U.S. investment guru Warren Buffett, worth $44 billion.

He was followed by France's luxury king Bernard Arnault, with $41 billion, and a newcomer to the top five, Spain's Amancio Ortega, the owner of the Zara fashion chain.

Ortega's net worth surged by $6.5 billion over the past year to $37.5 billion despite Spain's financial straits, Forbes said.

Filling out the top 10 were Larry Ellison of U.S. software giant Oracle, Brazilian mining tycoon Eike Batista, H&M owner Stefan Persson of Sweden, Hong Kong investor Li Ka-shing and Germany's Karl Albrecht, the super-secretive tycoon who owns the Aldi Sud supermarket chain.

In terms of single countries, Russia was second to the United States with 96 billionaires, led by Alisher Usmanov, number 28 overall with $18.1 billion. Usmanov topped the Russian list for the first time based on his control of iron ore and steel producer Metalloinvest.

Forbes predicted his fortune likely would jump over the next year due to canny investments in social media: he has stakes in Facebook, soon to go public, as well as in Zynga and Groupon.

China's billionaire list is led by an Internet tycoon, Robin Li. The chief executive of the country's huge web service and search firm Baidu has earned himself a $10.2 billion fortune.

Behind them were 55 Germans, 48 Indians, 37 British, 37 from Hong Kong, 36 Brazilians, 25 in Canada, and 24 billionaires each from Taiwan and Japan.

In an interview Slim, 72, who controls the regionwide America Movil cellular network, denied his fortune arose mainly from monopolistic power in telecoms networks.

``That's what competitors say, but if that were true, they would take the market from us,'' he told Forbes.

``The customers are not fools.''

(Postmedia News)
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