The 82-year-old, Warren Buffett has once again clinched the spot for being the world’s third-richest person. Buffett regained the title after losing it to the Spanish retail tycoon Amancio Ortega in August.
Carlos Slim Helu remains the world’s richest person closely followed by Bill Gates. Bill Gates is still ahead of Buffett by about $12.7 billion. Earlier this week, Gates closed on a gap between him and Carlos Slim to less than $200 million.
Stocks of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) have gained 14 percent this year owing to a 49 percent jump in the fourth quarter profits. The jump in share prices has increased Buffett’s net worth to $54.6 billion, up $6.7 billion year-to-date, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. For the fourth quarter, Berkshire Hathaway posted a net income of $4.55 billion against 3.05 billion in the same period, in 2011, with most of the gains coming from derivatives bets.
The founder of Zara clothing chain, Ortega has witnessed a sharp decline in his wealth owing to the concern that the recession in Spain might bring down the sakes of his Inditex SA holding company. The company’s shares have declined 7.5 percent from the record high on Jan. 2. The net worth of Ortega, the 76-year-old is $54.3 billion currently, down $3.2 billion year- to-date. After the trading began in New York yesterday, Ortega slipped below Buffett.
More than a fifth of sales for Inditex comes from its home country. With an uncertain economy and the unemployment rate above 20 percent, profit growth for the fourth quarter was the slowest in more than a year, the company said in a statement. The net income of 705 million euros ($908.8 million) was below the average estimates of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
“Maybe it ultimately proves the wisdom of Buffett’s approach to riches — buying good solid investment vehicles when they’re at prices that represent good value,” said Bruce McCain, a chief investment strategist at the private-banking unit of KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) in Cleveland. For Ortega, he said, “retail is a difficult area to be in an economy as troubled as the Spanish one.”
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index uses market and economic changes along with news reported to track the world’s wealthiest people. The figures are updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S. dollars.