Switzerland's richest are getting richer

The richest Swiss increased their combined fortune by SFr17 billion ($14.6 billion) to SFr369 billion last year.

This content was published on November 22, 2004 - 21:08

The richest man is still a Swede – Ingvar Kamprad, founder of the Ikea furniture chain, according to "Bilanz" business magazine.

An annual survey by the magazine shows Kamprad, who has lived on Lake Geneva for nearly 30 years, holding on to the top spot for the third consecutive year with a personal fortune of SFr15-16 billion.

Another Swedish family, which has also moved to Switzerland, is in second place. The Rausings are the owners of the Tetra-Pak company.

The first native Swiss on the list are the families Oeri and Hoffmann, heirs of the controlling families of the Roche pharmaceutical group.

They have an estimated wealth of SFr12-13 billion.

Winners and losers

The biggest winner this year is the founder of Synthes, a leading international medical device company. Hansjörg Wyss’s fortune stands at SFr9-10 billion.

He shares his place in the top five with the head of the Serono biotechnology concern, Ernesto Bertarelli.

The richest woman is Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, heiress of Heineken breweries, according to Bilanz.

On the other hand, the biggest loser is Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the owner of the Lego toy company, whose company lost SFr1.8 billion over the past year.

Natives and foreigners

Five native Swiss are among the ten richest people, while the others moved to Switzerland mainly because of its low taxes.

Among the top 300 are 60 people who were born in neighbouring Germany, including the Formula One driver, Michael Schumacher, and August von Finck’s family – a main shareholder of the Mövenpick catering and hotel chain.

Britains’s Bernie Ecclestone, the leading light in the Formula One business, has an estimated fortune of SFr5-6 billion and takes 13th place in the Bilanz ranking.

Twenty-three people and families made it into the top 300 for the first time this year. They include several members of the Peugeot family of the French Peugeot-Citroën carmakers.

Last week, the business newspaper "Cash" published a survey which showed that one in 25 Swiss residents is worth at least SFr1 million.


Key facts

Switzerland’s richest have a combined wealth of SFr368 billion ($317 billion) – up SFr17 billion on 2003.
The richest Swiss resident remains Sweden’s Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad with an estimated fortune of SFr15-16 billion.
"Bilanz" magazine started publishing a list of the top 100 rich Swiss in 1989, which was later extended to the top 300.

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