Top 10: Richest People in Europe

- Leadership - Oct 22, 2014

Europe is home to some of the wealthiest people to be found in the business world, with a total of 468 billionaires representing 28 percent of the world’s ten-figure powerhouses.

Russia is home to 111 of these people, with Germany following on 85. While no European man has ever hit top spot on Forbes’ global rich list, the continent is home to a former world’s richest woman.

Read on to find out who this is along with Europe’s remaining top 10 richest individuals according to Forbes.

#10 Michael Otto - $18.4 billion (Germany)

Otto Group is the parent company of Crate and Barrel, a well-known furnishings and home accessories retailer in the US. The Otto Group also thinks of itself as the second largest worldwide online retailer after Amazon.

#9 Alisher Usmanov - $18.6 billion (Russia)

Russia’s richest man who’s fortune derives predominantly from metals, namely iron ore and steel. Usmanov also has interest in telecoms and media, owning significant chunks of Megaphone and Kommersant, Russia’s respective second-largest mobile operator and largest business newspaper. Fans of UK football club Arsenal will know of Usmanov for he is a key shareholder. 

#8 Leonardo Del Vecchio - $19.2 billion (Italy)

Founder and still chairman of the world’s largest sunglasses producer and retail company Luxottica, owner of Sunglass Hut, Ray-Ban and Oakley. Del Vecchio founded the company all the way back in 1961 having come from a poor and orphaned background. Today his interests extend to insurance in the form of a stake in Assicurazioni Generali.

#7 Theo Albrecht Jr - $19.3 billion (Germany)

Theo Albrecht Jr. and his brother Berthold inherited German discount supermarket chain Aldi and US discount grocer Trader Joe's in 2010 when their father died. Shortly after this Berthold passed away leaving his stake to his wife Babette. The two companies have between them more than 5,300 stores in nine European countries and America.

#6 Dieter Schwarz - $21.1 billion (Germany)

Number 60 on the global list, Dieter Schwarz’s major earner is discount supermarket giant Lidl. Schwarz was taken off the Forbes list in 1999 after claiming his ownership of Lidl had been moved to a charitable foundation. However, Forbes found that the Dieter Schwarz Foundation is a limited liability company with a charitable purpose, meaning he could be put back on the list.

#5 Michele Ferrero - $26.5 billion (Italy)

Michele Ferrero is the one of the wealthiest chocolatiers on the planet, head of the family that owns Fererro Rocher, Nutella and Tic Tac. The idea for Nutella came during World War II when cocoa was being rationed, and the company keeps on growing under Ferrero’s son Giovanni.

#4 Bernard Arnault - $33.5 billion (France)

Owner of Europe’s most powerful brand Luis Vuitton, Arnault has made his wealth in the field of luxury products. Other brands owned include Dom Perignon and Bulgari. Arnault got his start in luxury back in 1984 when he paid $15 million to buy a business that included Christian Dior. His luxury empire is ran under the conglomerate LVMH.

#3 Stefan Persson - $34.4 billion (Sweden)

Number 17 on the global list, Stefan Persson sources most of his wealth from affordable fashion giant H&M, which has seen its share price surge by a quarter this year. Persson’s family holds a 38 percent stake in the retailer, and also has interest in real estate, including the ownership of a massive 8,700-acre estate in Wiltshire, UK.

#2 Liliane Bettencourt - $34.5 billion (France)

Once the richest woman in the world, Liliane Bettencourt is the Queen of L’Oreal. The Bettencourt family is set to strengthen its hold on the cosmetics giant’s empire thanks to Swiss consumer goods behemoth Nestle's planned sale of its eight percent stake, which would take total stake to 33 percent.

#1 Amancio Ortega - $62 billion (Spain)

Runaway leader and the fourth-richest person in the world is Amancio Ortega, Spanish tycoon ahead of Warren Buffett on the global list.

He owns 60 percent of shares in Inditex, operator of the fashion brand Zara, despite standing down as chairman three years’ ago. Ortega’s real estate portfolio is also impressive and worth around $5 billion, thanks largely to acquisitions made during the peak of the financial crisis.

This portfolio includes the Torre Picasso skyscraper in Madrid, where Google has a significant presence. In total Ortega owns 26 buildings. 

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