Fourteen Swedes make Forbes billionaire list

H&M owner Stefan Persson was the highest placed Swede on the Forbes billionaire list published on Tuesday, with 13 other Swedes possessing a fortune large enough to join him in the elite club.

Fourteen Swedes make Forbes billionaire list

Stefan Persson came in at number twelve in the 2013 Forbes rankings, down four places from last year, with an estimated fortune of around $28 billion.

The 65-year-old’s fortune rose by $2 billion since 2012. Forbes noted that Persson had been busy lately with his high profile real estate investments.

In March, he snapped up a whole city block in Paris to go with a previous purchase of an entire village in Hampshire, England. Nearly all of his fortune comes from his family’s 38 percent equity stake in Swedish clothing giant H&M.

The only other Swede to sneak inside the top 100 list was 86-year-old Hans Rausing of TetraPak fame, who boasted a wealth of $11 billion.

Despite a gain of roughly $1 billion to his name, Rausing dropped six places on the list to 94th.

Rausing’s private life took a heavy hit last year when his daughter-in-law was found dead in her London apartment of a drug overdose.

Birgit Rausing, who ranked 50th last year, did not feature in the 2013 list as she passed on her fortune to her three children Jorn, Kirsten, and Finn, all of whom are new entrants on the list.

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, who placed as high as 11th back in 2010, dropped even further this year to 412th place with an estimated fortune of $3.2 billion.

Kamprad’s drop comes after his financial stake in Ikea was taken out of his control and put into a tax haven in Lichtenstein. Forbes noted that the 86-year-old Swede has “historically shown little interest in the trappings of wealth anyway”.

Other Swedes featured on the list include Antonia Johnsson at 118 with a fortune estimated at $9.2 billion.

She heads the Axel Johnsson Group, which has interests in everything from energy to telecom and real estate.

Also appearing on the list are Fredrik Lundberg, head of L.E Lundberg Företagen; Melker Schorling, the chairman of Melker Schorling AB; security industry mogul Gustaf Douglas, as well as hedge fund operator Thomas Sandell.

Self-made education billionaire Bertil Hult featured for the second year in a row, coming in at 316th place, and 7th among the Swedes.

Topping the list as the world’s overall richest person for the fourth year running is Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, worth an estimated $73 billion, followed by IT mogul Bill Gates with $67 billion.

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Forbes launches French edition to chart Macron’s ‘startup nation’

Business magazine Forbes, famous for its annual ranking of the world's wealthiest, is launching a French edition to chart President Emmanuel Macron's progress in turning his country into a "startup nation".

Forbes launches French edition to chart Macron's 'startup nation'
Photo: AFP

Forbes is a fortnightly magazine but the French-language edition, which will hit newsstands Friday, will be published only every three months.

The first issue will retrace the 100-year history of the publication and look ahead to the next 100 through interviews with business magnates including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and French internet billionaire Xavier Niel.

France has a reputation for being a place where it is difficult to do business and for being sniffy towards the self-made.

Forbes first stuck a toe in the market last year by launching a French-language website.

“Many people say France is becoming the 'startup nation' and the discourse is changing. We have a president who is promoting entrepreneurship and free enterprise,” Dominique Busso, the media entrepreneur behind the venture, told AFP.

“We must not be afraid to say that you can succeed in France, nor have fear of failure,” Busso said, echoing former investment banker Macron, who has said
he wishes more young French people dreamed of becoming billionaires.

The French magazine is being produced under licence from Forbes.

It will contain some material translated from the American edition but give pride of place to local content.

The first issue will have a print run of 100,000 copies.