$1Bln Not Enough for Forbes' 100

bloombergDeripaska
A billion dollars just ain't what it used to be -- to make the cut on Forbes Russia's new top 100 a cool $1.1 billion is required.

In the rich list, published Friday, the number of Russian billionaires shot up to 110, from 87 since Forbes' U.S. edition published its global rich list a month ago.

Surging commodity and property prices helped push the combined fortunes of the top 100 up 54 percent to $522 billion, or more than one-third of the country's economy, from $338 billion in March 2007, Forbes said.

And unlike in the days when Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky and other oil barons dominated, now those who made their fortunes from metals and mining make up one-fifth of the top 100.

Topping the Russia list this year is aluminum king Oleg Deripaska, the majority owner of United Company RusAl, whose fortune -- including infrastructure, energy and financial assets -- is estimated at $28.6 billion, $11.8 billion more than a year ago.

Longtime leader Roman Abramovich, with $24.3 billion, was pushed into third place by Severstal owner Alexei Mordashov, whose fortune rose to $24.5 billion on the back of rising steel prices.

Another metals magnate, Novolipetsk Steel owner Vladimir Lisin, is fourth with $23.9 billion, while Norilsk Nickel co-owners Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin hold fifth and sixth positions, respectively. More leading positions went to metals and mining tycoons: Polymetal owner Suleiman Kerimov was eighth, Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works chairman Viktor Rashnikov came in 11th and Igor Zyuzin, whose Mechel has benefited from record coal prices was 12th.


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Abramovich
"The whole list is full of surprises," said Maxim Kashulinsky, the editor of Forbes' Russian edition, who added that similar jumps in market valuations for Russian companies were responsible for the difference between the two lists.

"For the global report, we used conservative estimates for many companies because we did not know their financial reports for 2007," Kashulinsky said. "For the [Russia] list, we relied on companies' declared financial performances and they were bigger than we anticipated."























































The Forbes List
SourceAgeFortune ($ bln)Company
1. Oleg Deripaska4028.6Basic Element
2. Alexei Mordashov4224.5Severstal
3. Roman Abramovich4124.3Investments
4. Vladimir Lisin5223.9Novolipetsk Steel
5. Mikhail Prokhorov4322.6Onexim Group
6. Vladimir Potanin4722.4Interros
7. Mikhail Fridman4420.5Alfa-Group
8. Suleiman Kerimov4218.4Investments
9. Vagit Alekperov5714.3LUKoil
10. German Khan4613.7Alfa Group
11. Viktor Rashnikov5913.3Magnitogorsk Iron

 & Steel Works
12. Igor Zyuzin4813.0Mechel
13. Dmitry Rybolovlev4113.0Uralkali
14. Alexander Abramov4912.5Evraz Group
15. Iskander Makhmudov4412.1Urals Metals and Mining/

 Kuzbassrazrezugol
16. Viktor Vekselberg5111.4Renova Group / TNK-BP
17. Alexei Kuzmichyov4510.7Alfa Group
18. Vladimir Yevtushenkov591.3Sistema
19. Alisher Usmanov549.5Metalloinvest
20. Nikolai Tsvetkov488.1UralSib

Source: Forbes Russia






Last year, when the U.S. dollar was worth more, there were just 60 Russian billionaires, and a fortune of $660 million was enough to make the top 100.

Finans magazine, a Russian rival to Forbes, in February listed 101 billionaires on its rich list. Finans put Deripaska's fortune at $40 billion.

"All those figures were seriously exaggerated. They were simply blown out of proportion," said a spokesman for Deripaska, who requested anonymity.

Despite the ascendancy of the metal barons, however, oil men still held places in the top 10, with LUKoil chief Vagit Alekperov in ninth place, while TNK-BP shareholders Mikhail Fridman and German Khan are seventh and 10th respectively.

Real estate tycoons, meanwhile, reaped the rewards of lucrative initial public offerings. Yury Zhukov and Kirill Pisarev, co-owners of developer PIK Group, saw their fortunes rise from $830 million to $6.1 billion, while Andrei Molchanov, of LSR Group, saw his fortune rise to $4.8 billion.

Yulia Sokolova, a spokeswoman for LSR, said Forbes' figure was even a little on the low side.

"New company capitalization figures released Thursday indicate that Molchanov is now worth $5.1 billion," Sokolova said.

Amid the global credit crunch, some bankers fared less well on the list.

The list's biggest drop, from 19th place to 36th, was attributed to Russky Standart bank owner Rustam Tariko, who saw his fortune shrink by $2 billion to $3.5 billion.

But a source close to the bank dismissed the ranking as guesswork.

"Forbes is way off the mark," the source said. "If you look at the recent sale of Absolut Bank and Expobank, both relatively minor players, their sale prices were four or five times greater than their book value. By the same evaluation, [Russky Standart] would be worth $5 billion to $6 billion."

The poorest billionaire on the list is Viktor Kharitonin, who made $1.1 billion running Pharmstandard, the country's biggest drug maker.