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Nicky Oppenheimer unseats Johann Rupert to become South Africa’s wealthiest billionaire

The growing uncertainty in the global economy, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, has impacted financial asset valuations and the rankings of the world’s richest people.

The reshuffling of the world’s wealth lists has seen Nicky Oppenheimer dethrone Johann Rupert, the founder of the Swiss luxury goods holding company Richemont, to reclaim the spot as South Africa’s richest man and the second-richest person behind Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote.

Oppenheimer’s net worth is estimated to be $8.55 billion as of press time, $20-million more than Rupert’s wealth valuation of $8.53 billion.

In 2021, Rupert became South Africa’s wealthiest man after shares in Richemont rose in value by more than 60 percent amid a resurgence in demand for luxury items, resulting in a double-digit-percent increase in luxury sales in the Asia-Pacific and mainland China.

However, Rupert’s reign as South Africa’s richest man was brief, as his net worth so far in 2022 has declined by more than $3.4 billion, owing to a 37-percent drop in Richemont’s share price.

The drop was the result of a sell-off driven by lower luxury demand in China and cast doubt on Richemont’s prospects for impressive growth in revenue and earnings in its 2023 fiscal year.

Despite the recent decline in the trading value of companies and financial assets, which has hurt billionaires’ wealth estimations across the board, Oppenheimer, who sold his family’s 40-percent stake in De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer, to mining company Anglo-American in 2012, is the rare case of a billionaire who has seen significant gains since the start of the year.

Oppenheimer’s net worth has increased by $600 million since the beginning of 2022, from $7.95 billion at the opening of business this year to $8.55 billion at the time of writing this report.

The $600-million wealth increase can be attributed to his well-diversified investment portfolio in private equity firms, as he maintains investments in Africa, Asia, the United States, and Europe through London-based Stockdale Street and Johannesburg-based Tana Africa Capital.

Tana Africa recently exited its position in Regina, Egypt’s second-largest pasta manufacturer and the country’s leading durum wheat flour producer.

In addition, the Oppenheimer-managed fund purchased a beneficial equity stake in Kensington Distillers & Vintners, an alcoholic beverage manufacturing and distribution company founded in 2014 by a seasoned team of alcoholic beverage professionals.

Oppenheimer will receive $2.37 million in dividends from his 3.37-percent stake in Integrated Diagnostics Holdings after the Egyptian healthcare services firm recorded 145-percent growth at the end of 2021.

Nicky Oppenheimer unseats Johann Rupert to become South Africa’s wealthiest billionaire

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