100 richest people: Mukesh Ambani 4th, Mittal 5th

The New York Times' Mexican investor Carlos Slim Helu is the richest man in the world, worth $53.5 billion, according to the 2010 Forbes list of the world's billionaires.

Bill Gates is the second richest, with $53 billion, Warren Buffett third, with $47 billion, and then come the Indians Mukesh Ambani, fourth, with $29 billion, and Lakshmi Mittal, fifth, with $28.7 billion.

Lawrence Ellison of Oracle is sixth, with $28 billion, and Bernard Arnault of LVMH seventh, with $27.5 billion. He is the richest European.

Mukesh Ambani's brother, Anil Ambani, is down to 36th, with $13.7 billion. Fellow Indian Azim Premji of Wipro is richer, ranked 28th, with $17 billion. Other Indians among the 100 richest billionaires are  Shashi and Ravi Ruia, ranked 40th, with $13 billion, Savitri Jindal, 44th, with $12.2 billion, Kushal Pal Singh, 74th with $9 billion, Kumar Birla, 86th, with $7.9 billion, Sunil Mittal, 87th, with $7.8 billion       

Li Ka-shing is the richest Chinese, taking the 14th spot with $21 billion, just ahead of Jim Walton of Wal-Mart, ranked 15th with $20.7 billion, and Alice Walton,also of Wal-Mart, who is 16th with $20.6 billion. Read on to see the list of the world's 100 richest people.

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Singapore’s richest 40 worth over 20% of GDP

The net worth of Singapore's 40th wealthiest individuals and families is equal to 21.4 percent of Singapore's gross domestic product. They include eight billionaires and have a total net worth of $39 billion, according to Forbes. That's 20 percent more than the $32 billion they had last year, it adds, their fortunes rising as the economy recovers from recession.

Singapore's gross domestic product last year was $181.9 billion, according to the 2009 Global Competitiveness Report, which says Singapore is the world's third most competitive economy after front-ranked Switzerland and second-placed America.

Property tycoons dominate the Singapore rich list, topped by 81-year-old Ng Teng Fong of Far East Organization, Singapore's largest property developer.

The oldest tycoon is 91-year-old Chang Yun Chung, the China-born founder of the shipping line, Pacific International Lines. He is estimated to be worth $640 million and ranked 13th. The youngest is Koh Wee Meng, 46, worth $360 million and ranked 20th. He deals in both property (Fragrance) and jewellery (Aspial), according to Forbes.

Here are the top 20, according to Forbes:

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World’s 100 richest people

Bill Gates is the world’s richest man once again, trading places with Warren Buffet who has moved down to second spot, according to Forbes magazine. The economic meltdown has shaken up the billionaire club. The world today has 793 billionaires down from 1,125 last year. Forbes says:

The world's richest are also a lot poorer. Their collective net worth is $2.4 trillion, down $2 trillion from a year ago. Their average net worth fell 23% to $3 billion. The last time the average was that low was in 2003.

Indians and Russians are among the biggest losers. Anil Ambani, who was the world’s sixth richest person last year, now ranks 34th on the list. He lost $31.9 billion–76% of his fortune–as shares of his Reliance Communications, Reliance Power and Reliance Capital all collapsed. Ambani, now estimated to be worth $10.1 billion, is one of 24 Indian billionaires, all but one of whom are poorer than a year ago. Another 29 Indians lost their billionaire status entirely. India's stock market has fallen 44% in a year, global equity prices 39%.

Indians ranked among the top 100 include:

  • Mukesh Ambani (now seventh richest, down from fifth last year, with an estimated net worth of $19.5 billion),
  • Lakshmi Mittal (eighth richest, down from fourth, worth $19.3 billion),
  • Anil Ambani (34th, down from sixth, worth $10.1 billion),
  • Sunil Mittal (59th, up from 64th, worth $7.7 billion),
  • Azim Premji (83rd, down from 60th, worth $ 5.7 billion)
  • Sashi and Ravi Ruia (86th, down from 43rd, worth $5.6 billion),
  • KP Singh (98th, down from eighth, worth an estimated $5 billion).

Russian Roman Abramovich, the world’s 15th richest person last year, is now 51st on the list. Investor Kirk Kerkorian has dropped from 41st to 98th place.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has moved up from No 90 to No 70.

Financier George Soros is among the biggest gainers, moving up from 97th to 29th spot. Another big gainer is hedge fund manager James Simons, up from 178th to 55th spot.

Hightech billionaires in the top 100 include Bill Gates, Oracle’s Lawrence Ellison, Dell’s Michael Dell, Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. All of them moved up.

Li Ka-shing is the richest Chinese, down from 11th to 16th, worth an estimated $16.2 billion.

The richest man in Southeast Asia is Malaysian Ananda Krishnan, who ranks 62nd with another Malaysian, Robert Kuok, who is based in Hong Kong. Both are estimated to be worth $7 billion. Both moved up dramatically, Krishnan from 131st place last year, and Kuok from 97th.

The richest man in Singapore is Ng Teng Fong, 87th on the list – up from 132nd last year — with an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion.

Also in the top 100 are:

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New York Times: Close to Slim deal

The New York Times says it's close to a deal with Carlos Slim under which the Mexican billionaire will invest about $250 million in the company.

Times Company needs all the money it can raise as a $400 million credit line
expires in May.

The New York Times said its board is expected to meet later today to approve the deal and an announcement could follow tomorrow. But with many of the details yet to be ironed out, the deal could still collapse, it added.

The report followed a Wall Street Journal story.

Slim, said to be the world's second-richest person with $60 billion,
bought a 6.4 percent common share stake in the Times Company in September
for about $118 million, recalled the New York Post.

His current stake puts Slim among the largest non-Sulzberger owners of the Times.

Under the terms of the deal, Slim would invest $250 million in the form of 10-year notes with warrants that are convertible into common share, said the Times.

As part of Slim’s investment, which resembles a loan, he is expected to get a special annual dividend, perhaps as high as 10 percent.

Slim is not expected to get any representation on the company’s board or any shares with special voting rights like those of the Sulzberger family, which controls the company. Nonetheless, when Slim exercises the warrants, he would become the largest shareholder in the Times Company, owning about a third of the common stock.

The Sulzbergers own about 19 percent of company and control it with a special class of voting shares.

The Times Company has made some drastic moves recently to increase cash flow and to raise the needed money, including:

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Indian billionaires

There are 53 Indian billionaires on the Forbes list. Only three countries have more billionaires: there are 469 American billionaires, 87 Russian and 59 German billionaires.

As for the other countries I checked, here are the figures:

China 42, Britain 35, Turkey 35, Hong Kong 26, Canada 25, Japan 24, Brazil 18, Australia 14, France 14, Italy 13, Saudi Arabia 13, South Korea 12, Switzerland 11, Mexico 10, Israel nine, Malaysia eight, Taiwan seven, Lebanon seven, United Arab Emirates six, Ireland six, Netherlands five, Indonesia five, Kuwait four, New Zealand four, Norway four, South Africa four, Thailand three, Philippines two.  See this page on Forbes.

Here the Indian billionaires are listed according to their global rankings on the Forbes list with their age in brackets and their  net worth in billions of dollars. All of them are Indian citizens and live in India unless otherwise mentioned.

Rank Name            Age (in brackets)   Net worth

4      Lakshmi Mittal (57) $45.0 billion Lives in UK

5     Mukesh Ambani  (50) $43.0 billion

6     Anil Ambani  (48) $42.0 billion   

8     KP Singh (76) $30.0 billion    
43     Shashi & Ravi Ruia  (NA)  $15.0 billion   

60     Azim Premji  (62) $12.7 billion    
64     Sunil Mittal  (50)  $11.8billion    
76     Kumar Birla  (40)  $10.2 billion      

86     Ramesh Chandra (68) $9.6 billion    
91     Gautam Adani (45) $9.3 billion         
110     Savitri Jindal (58)  $8.2 billion      
164     Anil Agarwal (54)   $6.0 billion Lives in UK
178     Adi Godrej (65) $5.5 billion      
198     G M Rao  (57)  $5.2 billion   
236     Indu Jain  (71) $$4.4 billion      
260     Dilip Shanghvi  (52) $4.0 billion      
277     Jaiprakash Gaur (77) $3.9 billion      
277     Shiv Nadar (62) $3.9 billion      
288     Uday Kotak (49)    $3.7 billion      
307     Cyrus Poonawalla (66)  $3.5 billion       
327     Anand Jain (51) $3.4 billion       
368     Chandru Raheja (67) $3.0  billion       
368     Tulsi Tanti  (50)  $3.0 billion      
428     Rakesh Wadhawan (56) $2.7 billion    

446      Kalanithi Maran (42) $2.6 billion         
462     Malvinder & Shivinder Singh (35/33) $2.5 billion   
462     Micky Jagtiani  (56)  $2.5 billion   Lives in United Arab Emirates
524     Venugopal Dhoot (56) $2.3 billion   
524     Subhash Chandra (57) $2.3 billion   
573     Niranjan Hiranandani (58) $2.1 billion
573     Rajan Raheja (53) $2.1 billion   
605     Reji Abraham (41) $2.0 billion 
677     Baba Kalyani  (59)  $1.8  billion   
707     Vikas Oberoi (37)   $1.7 billion    
743     Anurag Dikshit  (36) $1.6 billion Lives in Gibraltar
785     GV Krishna Reddy (71) $1.5 billion   
785     Gracias Saldanha  (71) $1.5 billion   
843     Naresh Goyal  (58) $1.4  billion Lives in UK
843     Gautam Thapar (47)  $1.4 billion    
843     NR Narayana Murthy (61) $1.4 billion    
897     Girish Tanti (38) $1.3 billion   
897     Nimesh Kampani (61) $1.3 billion    
897     Jitendra Tanti (43) $1.3 billion 
962     Vijay Mallya (52) $1.2 billion   
962     Sameer Gehlaut (34) $1.2 billion    
962     Vinod Tanti (45) $1.2 billion 
1014     Habil Khorakiwala (65) $1.1 billion   
1014     Nandan Nilekani (52) $1.1 billion 
1014     Anu Aga (65) $1.1 billion
1014    Jignesh Shah  (41) $1.1 billion    
1062     Senapathy Gopalakrishnan (52) $1.0 billion      
1062     Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (47) $1.0 billion 
1062     Rahul Bajaj (69)    $1.0 billion