Finance magazine published the rating of Russia’s richest men for 2008. The first list of Russia’s richest people appeared in 2004. The name of the person topping the list has been changing every now and then. The number of dollar billionaires has increased four times in Russia over just several years.
The owner of aluminum holding Basic Element, entrepreneur Oleg Deripaska, tops the list of Russia’s richest men for 2008. His fortune is estimated at $40 billion. It is almost twice as much as was reported last year when Deripaska was ranked first with $21.5 billion. At that time he overtook Roman Abramovich by $200 million. But now he looks set to be the first for a long time. Today Deripaska is the most active Russian entrepreneur. In 2007 alone the Basic Element acquired shares of such companies as Magna, Strabag, Hochtief, Transstroi and Rosneft.
The traditional leader of the list, Roman Abramovich, comes second for this year. His fortune is evaluated at $23 billion. Vladimir Lisin, the director of a Russian metallurgical company, takes the third place. He amassed his fortune with the help of soaring prices on steel. Lisin is the key shareholder of the Novolipetsk Steel Integrated Works known for the Russian initials as NLMK.
The fourth place belongs to Mikhail Fridman, the major shareholder of Alfa groups. This holding company has been the most expensive fund of oligarchs for a long time. Though it has not brought Fridman a leading position, it has helped him increase his fortune up to $22.2 billion.
Alexei Mordashov, a shareholder of another steel-maker, Severstal, with his $22.1 billion, takes the fifth place on the list.
Vladimir Potanin (the head of Russia’s largest insurance company - the sixth place with $21.5 billion) and Mikhail Prokhorov (the head of Norilsk Nickel – the seventh position with$21.5 billion) used to be Depipaska and Abramovich’s runners-up. Now they have been ranked lower. However, the fortune of them both has increased by 50 percent. If the list had been made in autumn, when the shares of Norilsk Nickel reached their peak, Vladimir Potanin and Michael Prokhorov would have ranked higher than Roman Abramovich.
Suleyman Kerimov has preserved his eighth place. His today’s fortune makes up $18 billion. Viktor Vekselberg with $15.5 billion took the ninth place, whose main source of income is considered to be TNK-BP. The magazine predicted that he had a chance to be ranked much higher, but the value of his company’s assets was not as high as the shareholders had expected. The tenth place was given to German Khan ($15 billion), the Alfa-groups joint owner.
Every list contains new billionaires. Where do they come from? First of all, a company may lay open an ownership structure, or do a siting. Secondly, wealthy people may appear as a result of the growing value of their business. The first variant is just the case with Eurasia Drilling Company, an oil service company. In the autumn of 2007 the EDC laid open the ownership structure and sold its shares at the London Stock Exchange. The company’s major shareholder, Alexander Djaparidze (63rd place) became a dollar billionaire overnight. He was listed in the billionaire list of 2006, but at that time his fortune was estimated only at $40 million.
Translated by Julia Bulygina