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Ernesto Bertarelli is Switzerland's richest person Keystone

The billionaire, Ernesto Bertarelli, has emerged as Switzerland's richest individual, with a fortune estimated at SFr13 billion ($7.3 billion).

Bertarelli, boss of the Geneva-based biotech firm, Serono, tops the list of the country’s 300 wealthiest people, published by the business magazine, “Bilanz”, on Tuesday.

He has doubled his fortune in the past year, closing the gap on the fabulously wealthy Oeri-Hoffmann family, who own the majority shareholding in the Swiss healthcare giant, Roche.

The Oeri-Hoffmann family – worth SFr14 billion ($7.9 billion) – have been top of the list since 1989 but, unlike Bertarelli, their wealth is shared among the family members.

Another rising billionaire is 31-year-old Daniel Aegerter, who has seen his fortune swell to SFr1.4 billion, following the sale of his “new economy” firm, Armada Venture to an American buyer.

Switzerland’s 300 wealthiest people have a combined fortune of SFr420 billion ($236 billion), an increase of more than 12 per cent over last year.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR