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Europe's billionaires 'at home in Switzerland'

AFP · 7 Jun 2012, 08:39

Published: 07 Jun 2012 08:39 GMT+02:00

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Switzerland is the destination of choice for Europe's wealthiest industrialists, the country's Bilan magazine reported on Wednesday.

No less than two-thirds of the 100 individuals named in the publication's rich list live in Switzerland, including the wealthiest of them all, Swedish Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad.

Lausanne local Kamprad, 86, tops the list with 35 billion francs ($36 billion), easily surpassing the minimum entry requirement of 5 billion francs ($5 billion) to join the ultra-rich club.

The furniture magnate's fortune is reckoned still to be greater than that of Spaniard Amancio Ortega Gaona, creator of the Zara clothing label and owner of global textile giant Inditex. His fortune is estimated at 32.9 billion francs ( $34 billion).

German-Dutch family Brenninkmeijer, which owns the C&A clothing chain, is estimated to have a 27.9 billion franc fortune ($29 billion) earning it a third place showing in the table.

Overall, billionaire Germans dominate the magazine's findings, with 28 super rich members identified, two more than Russia. French and Swiss members follow with nine names each, while Italy comes fifth with seven individuals.

Story continues below…

From the report it is clear that traditional businesses handed down from generation to generation are behind some of the biggest European fortunes, with mass-market outlets, textiles and luxury brand manufacturers leading the way.

Perhaps surprisingly, new technology fortunes feature very little, with next to no evidence of innovators from the internet or mobile phone sectors.

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