Wed August 8, 2012 11:09am
ZARA owner Amancio Ortega today eclipsed legendary US investor Warren Buffett's wealth to become the third richest person in the world.
The Spanish retail mogul’s fortune has increased 32 per cent this year, rising to €38 billion ($44.6 billion), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
This is despite a recession in his home country, where unemployment sits at around 20 per cent and fears are growing that the Spanish Government will need an international bailout.
Mr Ortega, who founded Zara’s parent company Inditex SA, passed Berkshire Hathaway chairman Mr Buffett, whose fortune sits at $US45.7 billion ($43.3 billion), according to the Index.
"Buffett's holdings have done well recently, but not all of them," BB&T Wealth Management’s Walter "Bucky" Hellwig told Bloomberg.
Mr Ortega "has a more concentrated holding, and that implies more risk. You may have these fits and starts between them going forward."
The unstoppable rise in Mr Ortega's wealth is largely due to his successful expansion into China and other emerging markets, with Inditex boosting its profit for 12 consecutive quarters.
Inditex - the world’s largest fashion group - has more than 5000 stores worldwide.
Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim still holds his spot as the world's richest person, followed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index is updated every day.
Ten richest people in the world
1. Grupo Carso owner Carlos Slim - $US74.2 billion 2. Microsoft founder Bill Gates - $US63.0 billion 3. Inditex founder Amancio Ortega - $US46.6 billion 4. US investor Warren Buffett - $US45.7 billion 5. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison - $US39.5 billion 6. Ikea owner Ingvar Kamprad - $US37.0 billion 7. Koch Industries co-owner Charles De Ganahl Koch - $US35.6 billion 8. Koch Industries co-owner David Hamilton Koch - $US35.6 billion 9. Christy Walton, widow of Walmart founder’s son John T. Walton - $US29.7 billion 10. Walmart founder’s son Jim C. Walton - $US28.7 billion