Bloomberg’s ‘Billionaires Index’ shows that the world’s 300 richest are now collectively worth $3.7 trillion, more than one and a half times Britain’s GDP. The 300 richest people on the planet are $524 billion better off than this time last year, with the world’s richest man, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, increasing his fortune by $15.8 billion to $78.5 billion over 2013. Gates made most of his gains from the 40 per cent increase in the price of Microsoft shares. The second biggest gainer in 2013 was Sheldon Adelson, the founder of Las Vegas Sands. His fortune grew by $14.4 billion following a 71 per cent rise in the company’s share price. Only 70 of the 300 on the list suffered a loss last year. The biggest was Eike Batista, who has plummeted from being ranked the world’s eighth richest man in March 2012 to having a negative net worth. Eike had made $30 billion from oil and gas exploration, but lost it all when his company, Oleo e Gas Participacoes, filed for bankruptcy protection in October.
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