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05 March 2024

5 richest women: 19-year-old world's youngest billionaire

Johan F Andresen has transferred his stake in Norway’s biggest company, Ferd Holdings, to his daughters Katharina and Alexandra. (Pic: Instagram)

By Ajanta Paul

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is ranked the world's richest person with an estimated net worth of $75 billion, $4.2 billion less than last year.

It hasn't been a banner year for billionaires, however.

According to Forbes, their number has slipped to 1,810, 16 fewer than last year.

A volatile stock market, cratering oil prices and the strong dollar have reshuffled the ranks of billionaires, the magazine said.

Forbes said 221 people fell off the list altogether, replaced by 198 newcomers.

Alexandra Andresen (Instagram)

Just 19 years old, Alexandra Andresen is the world's youngest billionaire. Heir to a family fortune built on tobacco, she debuts among the 2016 World's Billionaires thanks to her stake in investment company Ferd that Forbes values at $1.2 billion.

Fresh out of high school, Alexandra seems to have no rush to be an active owner, and is instead one of the most promising horseback riders in Norway.

Alexandra Andresen (Instagram)

Miss Andresen made the list this year for the first time as she is now over 17 and is required to publish her tax return, meaning her personal fortunes was made public.

But despite her incredible personal wealth, Miss Andresen appears to be more at home with her horses and lives in Germany where she rides professionally.

Alexandra Andresen (Instagram)

Equally wealthy is her sister Katharina, one year Alexandra’s senior.

With the global economy in turmoil in early 2016, women struggled to maintain their share of the Forbes list of the World’s Billionaires.

The total number of female billionaires fell to 190 from 197 last year, and women make up 10% of the world’s 1,810 ten-figure fortunes.

Over the past year, 6 women billionaires died and the fortunes of 31 fell below $1 billion. But 27 women joined the ranks of the billionaires for the first time and another 3 returned to billionaire status after falling off in previous years.

Top 5 richest women

Liliane Bettencourt of France tops the of richest woman in the world, and is also the 11th richest person on the Forbes list.

Her fortune slipped $4 billion in the past year as shares of L’Oreal fell.

Alice Walton is the second richest woman in the world with $32.3 billion to her name.

Her net worth is down $7.1 billion from last year due to a drop in the price of Wal-Mart stock. Walton, unlike her brothers Rob and Jim, is not actively involved in running the mega superstore chain her father Sam Walton founded in 1962.

But she still shares in the wealth reaped by Wal-Mart. Instead, Alice focuses on collecting art and making political donations.

Jacqueline Mars, the third richest woman in the world, is worth $23.4 billion, down $3.2 billion this year.

Mars and her brothers inherited pet food and candy maker Mars in 1999 after their father’s death. None of them play an active role in the company, which has $33 billion in annual revenue.

Maria Franca Fissolo of Italy, snags the title of fourth richest woman with a net worth of $22.1 billion. She is the widow of Michele Ferrero, who built Ferrero Group and died on Valentine’s Day 2015.

Susanne Klatten of Germany, the world’s fifth richest woman, secretly received additional shares of BMW from her mother over the years but the transfers only came to light when her mother, Johanna Quandt, last year’s ninth richest woman, died in August 2015. Klatten, worth $18.5 billion, and her brother Stefan Quandt (also a billionaire) together own almost half of BMW. Klatten is credited with steering German pharmaceutical and chemical company Altana AG toward $2 billion in annual sales.