Co-owner of Novatek and Sibur tops Forbes list of Russian billionaires

By bne IntelliNews March 2, 2016

The co-owner of Russian gas producer Novatek and petrochemical company Sibur, Leonid Mikhelson, became the richest Russian businessman in 2016, according to Forbes' new ranking of billionaires published on March 1. In the global ranking he took 60th place.

Mikhelson's wealth is estimated at $14.4bn. It increased by $2.7bn in a year, which allowed the businessman to jump six positions in the list and dislodge Vladimir Potanin from the top spot. Previously Forbes conservatively estimated the cost of Sibur using Western multipliers, the first deputy chief editor of the Russian edition of Forbes Nikolai Mazurin told RBC.

"We estimated the company at around $7bn, but after China's Sinopec has acquired 10% of Sibur last December and the FAS head Igor Artemyev announced the amount of the transaction, Mikhelson's assets significantly increased," Mazurin said.

Artemyev said that the 10% stake sold to Sinopec was estimated at $1.338bn. Mikhelson now controls about 43.2% of Sibur. Based on the price of Sinopec deal, his share is worth $5.8bn.

The main shareholder of Alfa Group, Mikhail Fridman, took second place in the ranking with $13.3bn, Alisher Usmanov, who headed the Russian Forbes list for several years, was third with $12.5bn.

Potanin, the co-owner of Norilsk Nickel, ranked fourth this year with $12.8bn. Gunvor co-founder and associate of President Vladimir Putin, Gennady Timchenko, who owns the stakes in Sibur, Transoil and Stroytransgaz, took fifth place with $11.4bn.

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