South Africa’s 7 billionaires take a beating in latest global rich list

Hurun Research Institute has published its annual billionaire’s ranking for 2019, which includes seven names from South Africa.

According to Hurun, billionaires recorded a loss of $1 trillion in 2018/19, with 430 people dropping off its rankings.

This includes 40 deaths – but the balance (390) due to tough economic times. In its ranking of over 2,400 billionaires, 1,246 saw their wealth decrease.

China led the way for drop-offs, losing 213 billionaires, followed by India, which lost 52.

While the list only ranks around 2,400 billionaires, the group estimates that the world is home to around 6,000 dollar billionaires, when considering those who do not have holdings in publicly-traded companies, as well as the other ‘hidden’ billionaires in the Middle-East or Gulf states.

“While some go to extraordinary lengths to conceal their wealth, for the most part, billionaires just prefer to be discreet, to prevent competitors muscling in on a good business or to protect their families,” it said.

The group ranks founder and CEO as the world’s richest man, with a net worth of $147 billion. This is followed by philanthropist Bill Gates ($96 billion), investors Warren Buffett ($88 billion), Bernard Arnault ($86 billion) and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg ($80 billion).

# Billionaire 2019 Net Worth (US$bn) 2018 Net Worth (US$bn) Change (%)
1 Jeff Bezos 147 123 +19.5%
2 Bill Gates 96 90 +6.7%
3 Warren Buffet 88 102 -13.7%
4 Bernard Arnault 86 78 +10.3%
5 Mark Zuckerberg 80 79 +1.3%
6 Carlos Slim Helu 66 67 -1.5%
7 Amancio Ortega 56 73 -22.3%
8 Mukesh Ambani 54 45 +20.0%
8 Sergey Brin 54 46 +17.4%
10 Larry Page 53 50 +6.0%

South African billionaires

In the Hurun Ranking, seven South Africans feature – the same number as in 2018, though with two changes.

Laurie Dippenaar made his debut on the Hurun Ranking in South Africa with a net worth of $1.7 billion – while Aspen’s Saad dropped off the ranking entirely.

While still included in the ranking, Wiese saw his fortunes drastically truncated, largely due to the fallout from Steinhoff.

These are the richest people, according to Hurun:

# Billionaire 2019 Net Worth (US$bn) 2018 Net Worth (US$bn) Change (%)
217 Nicky Oppenheimer 7.6 6.8 +11.8%
358 Johann Rupert 5.5 7.0 -21.4%
961 Koos Bekker 2.6 2.9 -10.3%
1429 Patrice Motsepe 1.8 2.0 -10.0%
1429 Christo Wiese 1.8 5.2 -65.4%
1497 Laurie Dippenaar 1.7
2154 Desmond Sacco 1.1 1.2 -8.3%

Forbes also recently published its annual list, noting a drop off of three South African billionaires mentioned in the Hurun list (Wiese, Dippenaar and Sacco), with the addition of one billionaire not mentioned by Hurun (Michiel le Roux).

Both Forbes and Hurun base their billionaire data off publicly available information and investment data, however wealth is measured over different time periods.

Hurun’s data is a snapshot of wealth at the end of January 2019, while Forbes’ data is a snapshot of wealth from February 2019.

Read: 3 South Africans lost their dollar billionaire status last year

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South Africa’s 7 billionaires take a beating in latest global rich list