Spain's Ortega leaps to rank as world's third richest man: Forbes

Tue Mar 5, 2013 4:50am EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Spain's Amancio Ortega, the co-founder of the Inditex fashion group, leapt over Warren Buffett and France's Bernard Arnault to become the world's third richest person on Forbes' 2013 annual ranking of billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $57 billion.

Mexico's Carlos Slim, who has taken a hit from the slump in the share price of his America Movil telecoms group since the list was calculated as of February 14, remained the richest person with a fortune of $73 billion, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates held on to the No. 2 spot with a net worth of $67 billion.

Ortega's fortune increased $19.5 billion, the biggest gain for any of the billionaires, from the report in 2012. He jumped two places and bumped Buffett, chairman and chief executive of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc with a fortune of $53.5 billion, out of the top three to the No. 4 spot for the first time since 2000.

"Warren had a great year, it's just that Amancio Ortega had a better year," Forbes magazine editor Randall Lane said of the co-founder of Zara. "He has one of the dominant apparel lines in Europe."

Arnault, of the LVMH luxury goods group, dropped to 10th place with $29 billion.

Slim, 73, made much of his fortune in telecommunications but also branched out into retail, commodities, finance and energy.

"To see Carlos Slim again broaden his lead and certify himself as the richest man in the world is a statement that wealth truly is global and not an American monopoly like it sometimes felt for many decades," Lane added in an interview.

Rising stock markets fueled in part by monetary stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve, and robust consumer brands fortified the fortunes of those already on the list and drove many of the 210 new billionaires onto it.   Continued...

Spain's Princess Letizia and Crown Prince Felipe (R) stand next to chairman of Spanish global fashion group Inditex, Amancio Ortega (L), during a visit to an Inditex factory in Coruna, northern Spain December 2, 2008. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal