Telecoms leaders score highly in world rich list

The new Forbes rich list includes two telecoms businessmen in the top ten. Lebanese-born Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Helu came number two on the list of the world's richest individuals, after US investor Warren Buffett.

Carlos Slim Helu controls several Mexican telecoms companies and his net worth is around $60bn. He made his first fortune in 1990 when he bought fixed line operator Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) in a privatisation.

In December, America Movil - which Helu controls - struck a deal with Yahoo! to provide mobile Web services to 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. A widower and father of six, he is a baseball fan and art collector. He keeps his art collection in Mexico City's Museo Soumaya, which he named after his late wife.

In recent years, he has donated close to $7bn worth of cash and stock to fund education and health projects and to the revitalisation of Mexico City's downtown historical district.

Anil Ambani came sixth on the list, with a net worth of $42bn. His personal stake in Reliance Communications, the Indian telecoms company, is about 66 per cent. His elder brother Mukesh is also in the top ten. Mukesh and Anil are sons of the late founder of Reliance Industries, Dhirubhai Ambani, from whom they inherited their stakes. The brothers do not get on, having fought over the inheritance.

In coming first, Warren Buffett has taken the title of the world's richest man away from Bill Gates, who held the No.1 position for 13 years. Buffett's wealth has reached $62bn, thanks to the rise in the price of Berkshire Hathaway shares. Gates is now third on the list with $58bn.

The full top ten list is:

  1. Warren Buffett ($62bn)
  2. Carlos Slim Helu ($60bn)
  3. Bill Gates ($58bn)
  4. Lakshmi Mittal ($45bn)
  5. Mukesh Ambani ($43bn)
  6. Anil Ambani ($42bn)
  7. Ingvar Kamprad ($31bn)
  8. K. P. Singh ($30bn)
  9. Oleg Deripaska ($28bn)
  10. Karl Albrecht ($27bn)

Image: The world's second-richest man, telecoms businessman Carlos Slim Helu

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