Wealth of 300 richest Swiss rises again: report
The 300 wealthiest families and individuals in Switzerland have a net worth of 595 billion francs ($581 million), six billion francs more than in 2014, according to a reckoning by Swiss business magazine Bilanz released on Friday.
The family of the Swedish founder of furniture retailing giant Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, remains at the head of the list with a fortune estimated at 45 billion francs, up by two billion francs from the year before.
Swiss-Brazilian business tycoon Jorge Paulo Lemann, the largest shareholder of the world’s biggest brewer AB-InBev, ranks second with assets of around 28-29 billion francs, up three billion francs from 2014.
Lemann, a resident of Rapperswil in Saint Gallen, moved ahead of the Hoffmann and Oeri families, who control the Roche pharmacy giant, whose fortunes fell by one billion francs to 25-26 billion francs, Bilanz said.
The ten wealthiest families and individuals on the group had assets worth a total of 180 billion francs, up by six billion francs from the previous year, the magazine said.
Based on the figures, the top 300 collectively earned almost as much (95 percent) as all the average wage earners in Switzerland put to together, Daniel Lampart, chief economist of the Swiss Trade Union Federation, told 20 Minuten newspaper.
According to data from Bilanz, the assets of the country's richest families have steadily risen in the past few years.
Ingvar Kamprad, 86, left Switzerland last year, after living near Lausanne for 40 years, but his three sons (Peter, Jonas and Mathias) hold Swiss passports.
Ikea has stated in the past that estimates of the Kamprad family’s fortune have been inflated.
Forbes magazine assessed Ingvar Kamprad’s wealth earlier this year at $3.4 billion.
But Kamprad and his family have habitually led the Swiss wealth list compiled by Bilanz, with the differences in estimates down to an interpretation of whether assets are owned or controlled.
The average wealth of the top 300 works out to 1.98 billion francs, although only 132 actually have a fortune worth more than one billion francs.
Among newcomers to the list are Andrea Agnelli, one of the heirs to the family that founded the Fiat car business in Italy.
Agnelli, domiciled in Ticino and president of the Juventus football team in Turin, has assets worth between one billion and 1.5 billion francs, Bilanz said.
Other newcomers to the list include Brazilian bestselling novelist Paulo Coelho, who moved to Geneva, and Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who runs one of his offices from Zurich.
Their wealth is estimated at more than 100 million francs each.
Not all the country’s richest families saw their wealth expand in the past year, with 30 seeing declines in their accounts.
Ivan Glasenberg, head of Zug-based mining giant Glencore, was rated one of the biggest losers with a fortune shrinking from 3.25 billion to 2-2.5 billion francs.
Russian expat Viktor Vekelsberg, who controls the Sulzer and OC Oerlikon groups, saw his wealth diminish by three billion francs to 8-9 billion francs, Bilanz said.
For more on the report (in German), check here.