15 Richest People in Central and South America

In this article, we present the 15 Richest People in Central and South America. Click to skip ahead and see the 5 Richest People in Central and South America.

The Pareto principle, famously known as the 80-20 rule, sounds extremely relevant when we take a look at the list of richest people in the world. Roughly speaking, a major chunk of wealth and resources are owned by a limited number of individuals, while the rest of the world is barely meeting its ends meet. The recently published World Social Report 2020 by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs says that the top 1% of the world have seen their wealth increase from 1990 through 2015, while the bottom 40% earned less than a quarter of income in all countries surveyed. Most of the billionaires of the world are from the U.S., and icons like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett get all the attention. But income inequality is worst in the developing nations. Outside the U.S., we have several billionaires like Industria De Diseno Textil Inditex ADR (OTCMKTS: IDEXY)’s Amancio Ortega, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd – ADR (NYSE: BABA)’s Jack Ma, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault, L’Oreal’s Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, SAP SE (NYSE: SAP)’s Hasso Plattner and Kering’s François Pinault.

But in this article we will focus on Central and South America.

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically affected world economies. However, Central and South America suffered the most losses because of already vulnerable economic and healthcare systems. With an overwhelming number of human lives lost, the continent has struggled to stabilize its economy. According to the IMF’s World Economic Output, the GDP of Brazil is expected to rebound by 3.6% in 2021, an improvement from its drastic fall by an estimated 10% in 2020. Chile is also expected to make a rebound on its GDP by 5.8% in 2021. In recent years, Colombia has witnessed low productivity growth and trade integration. According to the World Bank, the GDP of Colombia was expected to contract by 7.2%, and stabilize at a rate of 4.2% in 2022. Other countries like Argentina, Peru, Venezuela had varying rates of recession and reduction in economic growth

Another effect of the pandemic on Central and South America is the increase in the unemployment rate. According to data released by the World Bank, Argentina unemployment rate was estimated at 10.4% in 2020. Chile also had a 7.1% unemployment rate. In Brazil, the unemployment rate was recorded at 12%. The 2020 Labor Overview for Latin America and the Caribbean highlighted the severe effects of the the pandemic on the labor force.

But the coronavirus crisis, like pandemics in the past, has boosted wealth of the rich. According to data from Forbes Real-Time Billionaires list, billionaires in Brazil saw their combined net worth increase by $145 billion in 2020. The combined net worth of the richest people in Chile increased by nearly 27%. Central and South America has always had a wide income inequality, compared with other countries. The COVID-19 pandemic made this worse by increasing the poverty level in these countries. In Argentina, the government increased the tax rate on the income of billionaires in order to handle the effects of the pandemic

In this article, we will assess the 15 Richest People in Central and South America based on their net worth. We used data from Forbes to properly assess their net worth.

15.  Roberto Irineu Marinho

          Net Worth: $1.9 billion

Roberto Irineu Marinho inherited Globo Group, Brazil’s largest media conglomerate, from his father. He ranks 15th on the list of 15 Richest People in Central and South America. Roberto took control of the media company after his father passed away. Globo Group, also known as Organizações Globo, is made of several subsidiary media companies. It has divisions in television, internet, books, magazines, radio and film-making.

The Group includes Rede Global, Brazil’s largest broadcaster. It also owns Globosat, the largest pay TV provider in Brazil, and it is the parent company of the largest newspaper in Brazil. Roberto Irineu Marinho was the President of the company till 2017. He is still on the board of directors.

14.  José Roberto Marinho

          Net Worth: $1.9 billion

 José Roberto Marinho and his brothers, Irineu Roberto and João Roberto, inherited the Globo Group from their father. Groupo Globo is the largest media company in Brazil.

In 1972, José was a reporter for the Globo Group’s famous newspaper, O Globo. He was promoted to assistant director and later, head of programming at the company’s radio station.

In 1992, He established the Instituto Acqua (Water Institute) to preserve water resources. He is the President of the Robert Marinho charity foundation. He is a member of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS). In 2006, he was a part of the All for Education Movement’s founding, and he was a member of the governing board.

13.  João Roberto Marinho

          Net Worth: $1.9 billion

As one of Globo Group’s owners, the media company based in Brazil, João Roberto Marinho is a billionaire. He started working at the company in 1973 as a journalist for the newspaper. He worked in different editorials of the company.

He was the vice-president of Rede Globo, the radio station of the company. He stepped down from the position in 1985. He was the company’s vice-president in 1982, and he is still the vice-president of the National Newspapers Association in Brazil. He was also appointed Chairman of the Editorial board of the company. João is the deputy chairman of the board of directors.

12.  Walter Faria

          Net Worth: $2.2 billion

Walter Faria is the head of  Petropolis Group, one of the largest beer-and-beverage companies in Brazil. He ranks 12th on the list of 15 Richest People in Central and South America. Faria worked as a distributor in the Schincariol company, a brewery in Brazil acquired by another company in 2012. In 1998, he bought Petropolis Group. The company is located in Rio De Janeiro.

Walter Faria worked hard to expand and build the company. In a few years, Faria acquired and established beer factories around Brazil. He also started producing vodka and energy drinks. His company produces Itaipava beer, which is one of the most popular beverages in Brazil. The Grupo Petropolis also has operations in Germany and Paraguay.

In 2013, Faria bought the naming rights to Salvador’s World Cup Stadium. The company produces beverages like Petra, Black Business, Crystal, Lokal, Itaipava etc. The company also sponsored the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One Team.

11.   Alejandro Bulgheroni

          Net Worth: $2.8 billion

Alejandro Bulgheroni is known as the Chairman of the Pan American Energy Group. He is also the Chairman of the Alejandro Bulgheroni Family Vineyards. He was the Chairman of Bridas Corp, now called BS Energy Investment. In 1985, with his brother, he took over operations in the Bridas Corp company after his father passed away.

In 2010, Alejandro and his brother sold 50% of the company to the CNOOC Group, an energy company owned by the Chinese government. Bridas Corp and BP, with Pan American Energy and Axion Energy, combined to form the Pan American Energy Group.

Aside from his interest in oil, Alejandro Bulgheroni has made a series of investments in the winery sector. He started by purchasing the Bodega Garzón, an estate in Uruguay where he launched his first winery. Today, he has 21 wine estates in six countries. In California, he owns the Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate in Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain and Amador County.

He also has operations in Tuscany and Australia. In 2018, he partnered his wine portfolio with Pacific Highway Wine and Spirits.

10.  Horst Paulmann

          Net Worth: $2.9 billion

Ranking 10th in the list of the 15 Richest People in Central and South America is Horst Paulmann, the German-Chilean billionaire and founder of Cencosud. The company is one of the largest retail networks in South America. After his father’s death, Paulmann decided to turn the family’s villa into a supermarket.

In 1976, he opened the first Jumbo supermarket. He created another Jumbo Supermarket in Argentina, the first of its kind in the country. Jumbo was a huge success. Horst Paulmann also acquired smaller supermarket retail chains in Argentina.

Today, Cencosud has about 1,000 shopping centres, supermarkets and malls in Chile, Argentina, Peru and Colombia. The company owns the Costanera Centre in Chile, which is the largest shopping mall in South America.

9.   Alejandro Santo Domingo

         Net Worth: $3.2 billion

Alejandro Santo Domingo is a Colombian-American financier. His grandfather established the Santo Domingo group, a beer producing company. Alejandro’s father, Julio Mario, sold a portion of the company to SABMiller. Alejandro Santo Domingo played a significant role in the acquisition of SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

He is the Managing Director for the Quadrant Capital Advisors, an investment firm. Alejandro is also a member of the board of Florida Crystals, a cane sugar refinery company. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He is a member of the board of directors of the Colombian branch of Endeavour. Endeavour is a global non-profit development organization. He is also a member of the Latin America Conservation Council of Nature Conservancy.

8.  Juan Carlos Escotet

      Net Worth: $3.7 billion

Juan Carlos Escotet is the founder of Banesco, a banking group based in Caracas, Venezuela. In 1986, he founded a stock-broker organization called Escotet Valores Casa de Bolsa. Due to the success of this organization, Escotet bought a medium-sized bank to expand its operations. He renamed it the Banesco Financial Organization (Banesco Organización Financiera S.A.).

He added insurance activities to the portfolio by establishing Banesco Insurance C.A (Banesco Seguros C.A). He purchased some savings institutions, and he merged his bank with Banco Unión. In 2002, he joined his insurance, commercial banking and savings institutions into Banesco Banco Universal S.A.

In 2012, Banesco bought Banco Etcheverría, a commercial bank in Spain. Today, Banesco Universal has several branches in Colombia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the United States.  

7.  Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor

       Net Worth: $4.9 billion

Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor owns the majority share of Intergroup Financial, a banking and retail company based in Peru. He ranks 7th on the list of 15 Richest People in Central and South America. In 1994, He worked at Interbank S.A, a commercial bank that his father had a significant stake in. He inherited the bank’s majority share from his father.

He owns a holding group called Intergroup, which he restructured and diversified. Today, Intergroup has companies across Peru. The holding company owns restaurants, department stores, a movie theatre chain, a supermarket chain, an investment bank, and the commercial bank he inherited from his father.

Interbank, known as Intergroup Financial Services outside Peru, has over 200 branches today. The bank is now the fourth largest bank in Peru.

6.  Carlos Alberto Sicupira

       Net Worth: $8.4 billion

Carlos Alberto Sicupira is a Brazilian billionaire who owns shares in Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer. He co-founded the AB InBev company with Jorge Paulo Lemann and Marcel Herrmann Telles. He ranks 6th on the list of 15 Richest People in Central and South America

The majority of his wealth came from the merger of Brazilian AmBev and Belgian Interbrew, which became AB InBev. It merged with SABMiller, and it is the largest brewer in the world. It is responsible for almost 200 brands, including Budweiser, Corona, Beck’s etc.

He is one of the founders of 3G Capital, a private equity firm that partners with Warren Buffet. He also has stakes in Restaurant Brand International, the parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons.

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Disclosure: None. 15 Richest People in Central and South America is originally published at Insider Monkey.