Four Cypriot billionaires in Forbes list

Forbes’ list includes four Cypriot billionaires: John Fredriksen, of Norwegian origin with Cypriot nationality, Stelios and Polys Hadjioannou, and Turkish Cypriot Yakir Gabay.

John Fredriksen is 158and the richest man in the world with an estate amounting to 11.9 billion dollars.

Fredriksen’s empire includes tankers, dry bulk carriers, LNG carriers and deep-sea drilling rigs.

He first got into the oil business in the 1960s in Beirut, bought his first tankers in the 1970s and transported crude for Iran in the 1980s.

His offshore drilling company Seadrill emerged from bankruptcy in 2018, with Fredriksen helping raise around $1 billion in new debt and equity.

Its largest holding is Marine Harvest, now named Mowi, which has rolled up competitors to become the world’s largest fish farmer.

Although he hands over control to twins Kathrine and Cecilie, he said, “My daughters shouldn’t have to live with the job I’ve had every day.”

Yakir Gabay owns 10% of the German real estate company Aroundtown SA, listed in Frankfurt, of which he is vice-chairman of the advisory board.

Aroundtown has a portfolio of over $30 billion of commercial real estate in Europe.

He also has a 40% stake in Grand City Properties, which owns around 65,000 apartments in Germany and London.

Originally from Israel, Gabay was previously CEO of the underwriting arm of Bank Leumi, one of Israel’s largest banks.

Gabay began his career in the Prospectus Department of Israel’s SEC before moving to the private sector.

Son of a Greek Cypriot shipping magnate, Stelios Hadjioannou derives most of its fortune from its stake in low-cost airline easyJet.

Stelios founded easyJet in 1995 after leaving his father’s business; his siblings Clelia and Polys both have significant stakes in the airline.

The family’s collective stake fell below 16% for the first time in 2021 amid ongoing disagreements with easyJet’s management.

Stelios retains ownership of the easy brand through its private company, easyGroup.

Through its easyGroup, Stelios has licensed the easy name to companies such as easyHotel, easyCar and easyCoffee.

Polys Hadjioannou is the son of the late Cypriot shipping tycoon Loucas Hadjioannou (died 2008), who once owned the largest private tanker fleet in the world.

Most of his wealth comes from a large stake in easyJet, the low-cost airline founded by his younger brother, Stelios.

Polys perpetuates the family’s maritime heritage with its own fleet of 17 tankers.

He has also invested heavily in commercial and residential real estate, notably in Cyprus, Greece and Norway.

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