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Worth plummets for Switzerland’s super rich

Switzerland’s 300 richest people and families together lost SFr10 billion ($10 billion) in 2009, but a report says the figure could have been much worse.

The annual study of Switzerland’s wealthiest conducted by economics magazine Bilanz said the losses were much less severe than in 2008 when the super rich saw their accounts slip SFr70 billion.

The country’s super rich still have nearly half a trillion francs in their collective coffers.

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad remained Switzerland’s richest person for the eighth year in a row. The founder of the Swedish furniture manufacturing giant is worth SFr35-36 billion, about the same as in 2008, the magazine said.

The Hoffmann and Oeri families came second with SFr15-16 billion thanks to their stake in pharmaceuticals group Roche. That’s about SFr1 billion less than last year.

They were followed by the Brenninkmeijer family, who founded textile company C and A, and Alinghi owner Ernesto Bertarelli, who sold the biotech company Serono to Merck three years ago. Estimates put both their fortunes at SFr10-11 billion.

Despite economic hard times, some were able to grow wealthier. The Hayek family, the driving force behind the Swatch Group, saw its worth balloon SFr1.75 billion to SFr3-SFr4 billion after suffering losses in 2008.

Russian tycoon Viktor Vekselberg was among the year’s biggest losers. His fortune sank SFr3 billion after bad investments in Russia. The owner of the Renova Group, a conglomerate based in Zurich with interests in metals, energy and telecommunications, was still worth SFr8-9 billion.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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