Mexican billionaires enjoy a solid year

Despite plunging oil prices and a weakened peso, Mexico’s 16 billionaires had nothing to complain about in 2015.

The Forbes billionaire list, which is published annually in March, showed that the group expanded their combined wealth by US$1.6 billion this year, from $142.9 to $144.5 billion. This indicates that they are performing better than in 2014, when their wealth shrunk by four percent, but are still behind the 2013 level of $148.6 billion.

Telecoms magnate Carlos Slim Helu remains the second richest man in the world, behind Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Slim’s wealth grew by US$5.1 billion despite a new anti-monopoly law that introduced some major shifts in the Mexican telecom industry.

Half of Mexican billionaires saw their fortunes grow, while six dropped and two remained the same. Slim’s $5.1 billion gain was significantly above the 1.9 billion combined expansion of the others.

With 53 billionaires, Brazil leads Latin America but Slim is still by far the richest individual on the continent. With a net worth of US$77.1 billion it is estimated that the average Mexican spends $1.50 per day on Slim’s goods and services, netting him a daily total of $140 million.

After a successful year, Slim has his eyes set on struggling Spain, and has been buying stakes in corporations at reduced prices. 

“In the 16th Century, Spain conquered Mexico. Five centuries later, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu is working on conquering Spain.” Forbes journalist Dolia Estevez commented.

Who are Mexico’s 10 richest people?

1. Carlos Slim Helu, net worth US$77.1 billion. World’s second richest man prospered after buying Mexico’s national telephone company, Telefonos de Mexico, from the government in 1990. Has since amassed extensive holdings in many companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carsoo.

2. German Larrea Mota-Velasco, net worth US$13.9 billion. Director general of Grupo Mexico, the largest mining company in the country.

3. Alberto Bailleres, net worth US$10.4 billion. Head of Grupo Bal, a powerful conglomerate involved in a range of sectors, from mining and oil, to pensions and medicine.

4. Ricardo Salinas Pliego, net worth US$8 billion. Chairman of media giant TV Azteca, telecommunications company Iusacell, department store chain Elektra and a bank.

5. Eva Gonda de Rivera, net worth US$6.7 billion. Mexico´s richest woman is the widow of Eugenio Garza Laguera. After his death in 2008 she took the reins at FEMSA, a conglomerate that emerged from the Cuauhtémoc Brewery and became the largest beverage company in Mexico and Latin America that now bottles Coca-Cola.

6. Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala, net worth US$5.6 billion. Granddaughter of founder of Grupo Modelo beer company, often known simply as Mariasun. Heads Tresalia Capital, which boasts a diversified portfolio in many sectors, and is currently vice chairwoman of Grupo Modelo, manufacturers of Corona and other beers.

7. Jeronimo Arango, net worth US$4.3 billion. The founder of Aurrera, currently part of Wal-Mart Mexico.

8. Antonio del Valle Ruiz, net worth US$3.7 billion. Started in banking, and eventually developed the chemical and pipe-making conglomerate Mexichem.

9. Emilio Azcarraga Jean, net worth $3.1 billion. CEO of Televisa, the largest media company in Latin America. 

10. Carlos Hank Rhon, net worth US$2.4 billion. Eldest son of controversial former Mexico City mayor Carlos Hank Gonzalez runs bank holding concern Grupo Financiero Interacciones.