Recession cuts ranks of German billionaires

Recession cuts ranks of German billionaires
Photo: DPA
Germany's worst post-war recession has cut the ranks of the country's billionaires to 99 and the fortunes of those still making the grade have plummeted dramatically, according to a survey released this week.

Europe’s biggest economy now has 99 individuals or families with assets of at least a €1 billion ($1.47 billion), down from 122 a year ago, according to Manager-Magazin.

Germany’s 300 richest individuals or families had assets worth €285.6 billion, down €39 billion or 12 percent from 2008.

The Porsche family was the worst hit, with the sports car maker’s failed attempt to take over Volkswagen triggering a 71-percent or €11-billion drop in their assets, the magazine said.

Other major losers included Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler, whose fortune slumped 92.4 percent in value after her firm’s takeover of auto parts maker Continental. Madeleine Schickedanz, part-owner of the insolvent Arcandor retail group, fell out of the top 300.

Top of the list were the owners of the Aldi chains of discount supermarkets, Karl Albrecht and his brother Theodor Albrecht, who with their families sit on fortunes worth €17.35 billion and €16.75 billion respectively.

Others in the top 10 include Dieter Schwarz, owner of the Lidl supermarket chain; the Otto mail order firm’s family owners; the Riemann family, part owners of consumer goods multinational Reckitt Benckiser; and BMW heiress Susanne Klatten.

The export-heavy German economy has been among the worst hit by the global downturn, and is on course to slump between four and five percent this year, the government said Tuesday.

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