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Top 10 wealthy global families in 2008

1. Carlos Slim Helú (pictured) is the head of Telmex, a Mexican telecommunications empire that he runs with his sons. He is the world's richest family business owner with a fortune, worth an estimated $60 billion, that surpasses even that of Bill Gates. Slim's father was a Lebanese immigrant who started a dry-goods store in 1911. Slim made his first fortune in 1990 when we bought Telmex from the Mexican government. He was the first president of the Latin-American Committee of the New York Stock Exchange Administration Council, and was in office from 1996 through 1998. Through his foundation, the Latin America Development Fund, he has donated billions of dollars to various causes over the last few years.

2. Following a merger with Arcelor, Lakshmi Mittal now heads the world's largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, which he owns with his family. Mittal's father made a fortune as partner in a steel firm in India and then branched out on his own. Mittal worked in his father's firm and took control of all international affairs before founding Mittal Steel. Sales of ArcelorMittal soared to $105 million in 2007 and Mittal himself pocketed an estimated $2 billion. Originally from India but now residing in London, Mittal's $45 billion fortune makes him the wealthiest man in Europe.

3. Brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani are the sons of Indian entrepreneur Dhirubhai Ambani, who founded the Reliance Group. They had a turbulent relationship after the death of their father which resulted in their mother splitting the Reliance Group between the two. They are two of the richest people in India with fortunes of $43 billion and $42 billion respectively. The feud between the brothers continues and was thrust back into the limelight in January when Mukesh beat Anil in an auction to win the rights to cricket teams in a newly created Indian Premier League.

4. Through their charitable foundation, Ingvar Kamprad and his family own Swedish furniture chain IKEA. Kamprad became an entrepreneur as a young boy, buying matches in bulk and then selling them individually to make a profit. He moved onto selling fish, pens and Christmas decorations and finally furniture. IKEA is now one of the world's top furniture retailers with sales of $27 billion. Kamprad, who is worth $31 billion, is known for his frugality and avoids luxury brands and expensive travel. His family's foundation, Stichting INGKA Foundation, has an estimated value of $36 billion.

5. After World War II, brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht took over their mother's grocery store and developed it into supermarket giant Aldi. Germany-based Aldi now has over 8,000 stores worldwide and sales of $45 million. The brothers split the business into North and South regions – Karl looked after the more profitable South before he retired while Theo runs the North with his sons. Little is known about the brothers as they shy away from any media attention. Karl's and Theo's fortunes of $27 billion and $23 billion respectively make them among the richest men in Germany.

6. Hong Kong's richest man, Li-Kashing, comes from a humble background. Forced to leave school at the age of 15 to support his family, he started working in a plastics trading firm. Through hard work and determination, he was able to start his own company, Cheung Kong Industries, in 1950. Through this company, and the subsequent acquisition of conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, he has amassed a fortune of $26.5 billion. His eldest son, Victor, helps to run his empire and is managing director of Cheung Kong Industries.

7. Bernard Arnault used $15 million of his family's money to buy the prestigious Christian Dior brand in 1985, which in turn enabled him to become head of LVMH, the world's largest luxury goods company with revenues of over $20 billion. LVMH has brands including Dom Perignon, Fendi and, of course, Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessey. His daughter, Delphine, is actively involved with the management of the firm and became the first women to be director of LVMH at the age of 29. Along with his family, Arnault owns a majority stake in LVMH through his investment vehicle Groupe Arnault. His is worth $25.5 billion.

8. Liliane Bettencourt is the only daughter of Eugene Schueller, the man who founded cosmetics firm L'Oreal. She inherited the fortune upon his death and is still the principal shareholder. Her daughter, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, is a director of the company. Liliane founded the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation which supports medical and humanitrain ventures and also awards the "Liliane Bettencourt Prize for Life Sciences" to European researchers. With a fortune of $22.9 billion, she is the world's richest woman.

9. Sam and Helen Walton built up an enormous fortune through their chain Wal-Mart of stores. Upon his death, Sam's fortune passed to his family. As a result, sons Jim and Rob, along with daughter-in-law Christy, are worth $19.2 billion each. Helen died in 2007 and her wealth will be given to charity. The Walton family still owns a large share of Wal-Mart and has roles within the firm. Eldest son Rob was the firm's first lawyer and is now chairman of the firm, while youngest son Jim oversees the family's banking business. Christy, the widow of the Walton's second son, John, carries on Helen's philanthropic efforts.

10. Brothers Raymond, Thomas and Walter Kwok run Sun Hung Kai Properties, the real estate firm founded by their father, and are now worth $19.9 billion. The company itself is one of the largest property companies in Hong Kong. Chairman Walter recently took a leave of absence from the firm and handed management over to his brothers. There has been much speculation that Walter was removed from his position by his mother after a family disagreement over his long-term girlfriend.

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