Collecting data up to December 31, Bloomberg found that just 70 out of the world’s top 300 billionaires saw a net loss in 2013, with the biggest gains in wealth coming from the technology industry, which soared 28 percent during the year.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was the world’s richest person, seeing his fortune rise by $15.8 billion to $78.5 billion. Gates had benefited from a 40 percent increase in share price of Microsoft, while other stock holdings including the Canadian National Railway Co. and sanitizing-products maker Ecolab Inc., rose by 34 percent and 45 percent respectively.
Elsewhere, Sheldon Adelson, founder of Las Vegas Sands Corp, the world’s largest casino company, was the second-biggest gainer in 2013, adding $14.4 billion to his net worth as the company’s shares rose 71 percent.
The world’s biggest loser (in fortune) was former Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, whose net worth declined more than $12 billion in 2013. His company OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA filed for bankruptcy in October last year, while Batista now has a negative net worth, according to the Bloomberg ranking.
There were 109 new billionaires in 2013, according to Bloomberg, all of whom have never appeared on an international wealth ranking. Lynsi Torres, the 31-year heiress to the In-N-Out Burger empire for instance was the youngest female billionaire in the U.S..
In Asia, Hong Kong property magnate Li Ka-Shing remained the continent’s richest man with a fortune of $30.2 billion. China’s richest person was Robin Li, founder of search engine Baidu Inc.
Bloomberg notes that the overall increase in billionaires’ fortunes was primarily due to soaring global stock prices, the best annual gain since 2009. The MSCI World Index advanced 24 percent during the year to close at 1,661.07, while the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index rose 30 percent to close at 1,848.36, its best yearly gain since 1997.