Six Irish billionaires worth more than $30bn, says Forbes

World’s 20 richest $70bn poorer while number of billionaires dips

Six Irish citizens are members of the billionaires’ club with a combined net worth of more than $30 billion (€27.6 billion), according to the latest annual Forbes ranking of global billionaires.

Just three of the six Irish billionaires were born in this country, however, while only two of them maintain their main residence here for tax purposes.

The richest Irish-born billionaire is include Digicel founder Denis O’Brien, whose fortune is estimated at $5.7 billion, more than $1 billion lower than the figure attributed to him by Forbes a year ago. He is ranked 219th globally.

Financier Dermot Desmond is estimated as being worth $1.9 billion, up slightly on 2015. Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton, at an estimated $1.6 billion, completes the Irish-born billionaires.

Along with Meath resident Naughton, the only other Irish resident on the list is US-born, Dublin-resident Campbell's soup heir, John Dorrance, who is valued at $2.7 billion.

The list also includes Indian construction magnate Palloni Mistry, who holds Irish citizenship and is worth $12.5 billion, down almost $4 billion from a year ago. US-born Lone Star Funds owner, John Grayken, who obtained Irish citizenship in 1999, is a new entry to the list, valued at $6.3 billion.

More than $70 billion has been wiped off the wealth of the world's 20 richest people following a slump on global financial markets, according to the annual ranking.

The combined wealth of the top 20 has fallen from $899 billion last year to $827 billion. The Forbes report also shows that the number of billionaires has fallen from a record 1,826 in 2015 to 1,810.

The list continues to be dominated by men. Out of 1,810 billionaires, just 190 are women, a fall from 197 in 2015.

The biggest loser was Carlos Slim, the Mexican telecoms tycoon, who has seen his fortune drop from $77.1 billion to $50 billion in a year.

Bill Gates has been crowned the richest man in the world for the third year in a row, although the Microsoft founder's fortune also dipped from $79.2 billion to $75 billion.

The biggest gainer was Mark Zuckerberg, the boss of Facebook, whose wealth grew by $11.2 billion to give him a total net worth of $44.6 billion. Mr Zuckerberg is the sixth richest person in the world, behind Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, Mr Slim, investor Warren Buffett and Amancio Ortega, the businessman behind the Zara fashion empire, and Mr Gates.

The only female billionaires in the top 20 inherited their wealth, including Liliane Bettencourt, the heir to the L'Oreal empire, and Alice Walton, daughter of the Walmart founder, Sam Walton.

The richest self-made woman is Zhou Qunfei, who is 205th on the list and valued at $5.9 billion. She made her fortune by founding the touchscreen maker Lens Technology.

Across all billionaires, 1,186 are self-made, 228 inherited their wealth and 396 inherited a portion, but are growing it. Just 33 of the 190 female billionaires are self-made.

The US remains home to the most billionaires. There are 540 American citizens on the list compared with 536 last year. There are 489 in Europe, with the wealth of the continent's billionaires growing from $1.19 trillion to $1.83 trillion.

The number and value of billionaires in Asia-Pacific also grew, but the Middle East, Africa and the rest of the Americas took a hit as the value of oil and other commodities fell sharply.

The number of billionaires in the Middle East and Africa fell from 106 to 90, while the Americas, not including the US, fell from 140 to 101.

China has the most billionaires after the US, with 251, up on 213 last year. Germany is third with 120 and India is fourth with 84.

The UK has 50 billionaires, down from 53 in 2015. This includes seven newcomers, including theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh and John Bloor, the owner of Triumph Motorcycles.

- Guardian Service

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