It’s good to be number one, even if it’s only in Latin America. Just ask Carlos Slim.
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The Mexican billionaire may have lost his place as the world’s richest man to Microsoft’s Bill Gates, but he still sits atop the pile in his regional turf, according to Forbes magazine.
While there are 114 billionaires in Latin America worth a total of $440 billion, the Mexican telecom magnate’s $72 billion fortune puts him well ahead of No. 2 Jorge Paulo Lemann, a Brazilian private equity giant worth $19.7 billion.
Slim may take the overall prize, but Brazil has more billionaires than any other country in Latin America. The emerging global power is home to 65 billionaires – 11 of whom are in the top 25 – and many of them have recently joined the Forbes’ list. Number three on the list, Brazilian banking giant Joseph Safra, built a $16 billion empire that has almost doubled in value over the last five years.
Lemann, along with fellow Brazilian’s No. 9 Marcel Herrmann Telles ($10.2 billion) and No. 13 Carlos Alberto Sicupira ($8.9 billion) have even made huge inroads into the American market, with their private equity shop 3G Capital holding major stakes in the ketchup company Heinz and fast food chain Burger King.
These billionaires are also all controlling shareholders in beer-maker Anheuser-Bush InBev, which adds credence to the fact the majority of the Latin American list is made up of people who made their fortunes from sudsy sales.
Mexico is second on the billionaires in Latin America – and recently lost one influential money maker when Sinaloa Drug cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested after years on the run.
Chile snuck into third place ahead of neighboring Peru, with Iris Fontbona taking the richest person in Chile title. She inherited mining assets from her late husband and now shares a $15.5 billion fortune with the rest of her immediate family.
Her net worth is equivalent to 6 percent of Chile’s gross domestic product.