New York: Back at the top, Mexican businessman Carlos Slim continued to be the richest person in the world with estimated assets of USD 74 billion, according to Forbes magazine’s annual global ranking of billionaires.

This was Slim's second year in a row as the richest person in the world.

Telecom tycoon Helu, whose worth increased by USD 20.4 billion from last year's USD 53.5 billion, was followed by Microsoft founder and now a full time philanthropist William Gates III (popularly known as Bill Gates) with a net worth of USD 56 billion.

While NRI steel magnate Lakshami Mittal ranked sixth and Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani is placed ninth.

Investment guru Warren Buffet at the third spot with assets worth USD 50 billion.

Total number of billionaires, this year, has increased to a record 1,210 from 1,011 last year. Though America has the 33 per cent of the mega-rich, Asia-Pacific region has surged forward and overtook Europe for the first time.

Chairman of French luxury good outfit, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), Bernard Arnault has been placed at fourth spot. With net worth of USD 41 billion, he is the richest person in Europe. He has replaced Ambani this year.

Fifth place has been taken over by Larry Ellison of Oracle. The Oracle chief sits atop a fortune of USD 39.5 billion, which is USD 11.5 billion bigger than last year, thanks to a 30 per cent jump in his software company's shares.

Mittal ranked sixth with USD 31.1 billion of wealth. His wealth grew from USD 28.7 billion last year as his company ArcelorMittal, world's largest steel-maker, and registered profits
of USD 2.9 billion due to recovery in steel demand and higher margins in 2010, Forbes said.

Mukesh Ambani, with net asset of value USD 27 billion, lost five places and was placed at ninth position in this year's list. Last year, Ambani held the fourth spot, with net asset of USD 29 billion, followed by Mittal at fifth place.

"In one of the biggest foreign investments in India, Reliance Industries has signed a deal with BP by selling 30 per cent stake in 23 oil blocks in India for USD 7.2 billion and forming a marketing joint venture," the magazine said.

According to Forbes, the number of billionaires has increased from 49 to 55 in India, 69 to 115 in China, 25 to 36 in Hong Kong, and across Asia-Pacific it surged from 243 to 332.

Other Indians among top 100 include, Wipro chief Azim Premji at 36th spot (USD 16.8bn), Shahi and Ravi Ruia at 42nd place (USD 15.8 bn), Savitri Jindal has been ranked 56th (USD
13.2 bn), Gautam Adani at 87th (USD 10 bn) and Kumar Birla at 97th (USD 9.2 billion)

(Agency)


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