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Richest Swiss increase wealth further

Champagne being poured into a glass
Some people have had cause to celebrate their fortunes during the pandemic. Keystone / Martin Ruetschi

The 300 wealthiest people in Switzerland boosted their coffers by CHF115 billion ($123 billion) during the last 12 months, according to financial magazine Bilanz.

The biggest winner in the annual Top 300 rich list is Klaus-Michael Kühne, the majority owner of Swiss logistics company Kühne + Nagel, who saw his personal wealth soar by CHF17 billion to CHF29.5 billion.

The top spots in the list are still occupied by the heirs to the Swedish IKEA furniture chain (with CHF55.5 billion) and the family dynasty of the pharmaceutical company Roche.

By contrast, internet entrepreneur Patrick Drahi saw CHF1 billion shaved from his wealth during the same period. But there were far more winners than losers during the second year of the pandemic.

Cryptocurrencies make their debut in the 2021 Bilanz rich list, with the arrival of Niklas Nikolajsen, founder and chairman of the company Bitcoin Suisse. His wealth is estimated at CHF325 million, but it is not clear how researchers managed to calculate his cryptocurrency stash, which is held anonymously on the blockchain.

One feature of the pandemic, is that many rich people have been able to increase their wealth despite lockdowns and dislocations to trade. This is caused by a general rise in company share prices and favourable conditions for some financial investments.

This has led to concerns of growing inequality as the wealth gap widens between the haves and have-nots.

BilanzExternal link says the latest annual rise in Top 300 wealth is the largest since it began publishing the data in 1989. The combined wealth of the 300 richest Swiss residents has reached CHF822 billion.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR