Nicky Oppenheimer unseats Johann Rupert as South Africa’s richest man

Nicky Oppenheimer, a South African billionaire businessman and philanthropist. (Celebrity Family)
  • Since the beginning of the year, Rupert has lost over $1.5 billion.
  • Meanwhile, Oppenheimer has seen his net worth increase by $600 million since the start of 2022.
  • Nicky owns at least 720 square miles of conservation land across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Johann Rupert, the founder of the Swiss luxury goods holding company Richemont, is no longer the richest person in South Africa - that spot has been taken by Nicky Oppenheimer, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The index, which updates daily according to changes in the net worth of billionaires, shows that Oppenheimer’s net worth is currently valued at $8.55 billion, $20-million more than Rupert, who is worth $8.53 billion.

Since the beginning of the year, Rupert has lost over $1.5 billion due to the Russia and Ukraine conflict as investors have taken flight from Compagnie Financiere Richemont S.A, causing the share price of the Swiss Luxury goods holdings' to fall to its lowest level in more than two years. This has been exacerbated by the West’s sanctions against Russia's wealthiest individuals, who account for between 5 and 7 per cent of global spending on personal luxury goods.

Meanwhile, Oppenheimer has seen his net worth increase by $600 million since the beginning of 2022 to $8.55 billion as of 23 May 2022. The billionaire’s well-diversified investment portfolio in private equity firms across Africa, Asia, the United States, and Europe has earned him bragging rights as South Africa’s wealthiest billionaire.

Oppenheimer, the former chairman of De Beers diamond mining company, sold his 40% of the firm to mining group Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash in 2012. He was the third generation of his family to run DeBeers and took the company private in 2001.

For 85 years until 2012, the Oppenheimer family occupied a controlling spot in the world's diamond trade. He owns at least 720 square miles of conservation land across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

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