High tech, commodities boost Israeli billionaires on “Forbes” list

As reported in IVC: 16 Israelis made this year’s “Forbes” The World’s Billionaires list, up from 10 last year.

16 Israelis made this year’s “Forbes” The World’s Billionaires list, up from 10 last year.

Sammy Ofer and his family, with its controlling interest in Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO) and global shipping interests, has a fortune estimated by “Forbes” at $10.3 billion in 2011, up from $6.5 billion in 2010. At 79th place Ofer is the richest Israeli. The family’s fortune has benefited from the surge in commodities prices. The Ofers are considering floating another of their companies, Pacific Drilling Inc., a provider of services to the oil drilling industry, at a value of over $1 billion.

Beny Steinmetz has also increased his fortune from the surge in commodities prices. He owns mines around the world, mostly in emerging markets. “Forbes” estimates his fortune at $6 billion, triple the $2 billion in 2010. At 162nd place on the list, he is the second ranking Israeli.

Despite the natural gas discoveries by Delek Group Ltd. (TASE: DLEKG), “Forbes” estimates the fortune of Yitzhak Tshuva at $2.6 billion, only $500 million more than in 2010. He is 440th on the list and 7th among the Israelis.

Two of the six new Israeli billionaires are two of the three founders of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) – chairman and CEO Gil Shwed, and vice chairman Marius Nacht. Check Point’s share price has risen 42% in the past year to $10.22 billion. On this basis, “Forbes” estimates Schwed’s fortune at $1.6 billion and Nacht’s at $1 billion.

Another new Israeli on the list is Playtech Cyprus Ltd. (AIM:PTEC) controlling shareholder Teddy Sagi. “Forbes” estimates the fortune of Sagi, who has not yet turned 40, at $1.2 billion. A check by “Globes” indicates that “Forbes” underestimates his fortune.

The Michael Strauss family, which controls the eponymous food company Strauss Group Ltd. (TASE:STRS) is another newcomer, with “Forbes” estimating its fortune at $1.1 billion. Shlomo Eliahu, who made his fortune in insurance, also made this year’s list.

Another newcomer may not justify his inclusion on the “Forbes” list: IDB Holding Corp. Ltd. (TASE:IDBH) chairman Nochi Dankner, whom “Forbes” says has a net worth of $1 billion. Dankner owns IDB shares through Ganden Investments Ltd., and the holding is worth about $650 million. But Dankner is not the only shareholder in Ganden, and the value is not attributable to him alone.

The other Israelis on the “Forbes” list are Shari Arison, who controls Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI), Shikun u’Binui Holdings Ltd. (TASE: SKBN), and other interests; Arnon Milchan; Stef Wertheimer and his family; mining magnate Alexander Machkevich; diamond magnate and Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL) chairman and Lev Leviev; Michael Federmann and his family, who control Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) and Dan Hotels Corp. Ltd. (TASE: DANH); and Morris Kahn, an investor in Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX). Dankner, Kahn, and Nacht close out the list at 1,140th place in the world billionaire rankings.

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