Bertarelli family tops list of Swiss billionaires

Ernesto Bertarelli, heir to biotech giant Serono, and his family top the list of wealthiest people in Switzerland in Forbes magazine's 2014 list of the world’s billionaires.

Bertarelli family tops list of Swiss billionaires
Ernesto Bertarelli. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bertarelli, a resident of Gstaad who expanded Serono before selling it to Merck in 2007 for $9 billion, has an estimated net worth with his family of $12 billion, the business magazine says.

That puts the family in 92nd place on the list of 1,645 billionaires, released on Monday.

The magazine said the number of billionaires on the planet increased by 268 from the previous year and their aggregate wealth leapt to $6.4 trillion from $5.4 trillion.

The list is headed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, back on top after four years lower down, with an estimated fortune of $76 billion, ahead of Mexican industrialist Carlos Slim Helu ($72 billion) and Spain’s retail clothing king Amancio Ortega ($64 billion).

Forbes' list includes 21 Swiss billionaires, with medical device entrepreneur Hansjoerg Wyss (a resident of the US) ranked as the second wealthiest ($10.5 billion), followed by Zurich resident Margarita Louis-Dreyfus ($8.1 billion), chairman of the French commodities giant Dreyfus.

Fourteen of the Swiss billionaires either have such low profiles or are so discreet that Forbes does not show photos of them.

Among them are the three daughters of industrialist and Swiss People’s Party politician Christoph Blocher.

Rahel Blocher, Magdalena Martullo-Blocher and Miriam Blocher, principal shareholders in chemical company EMS-Chemie, have a collective fortune estimated by Forbes at $6.9 billion.  

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