Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

Nicky Oppenheimer may soon lose “SA’s richest man” title – to Johann Rupert

They are the two richest men in South Africa, but it seems that a changing of the guard may occur soon between Nicky Oppenheimer and Johann Rupert.

nicky oppenheimer may soon lose sas richest man title to johann rupert - Nicky Oppenheimer may soon lose “SA’s richest man” title – to Johann Rupert

What do the two richest men in South Africa have in common? Property, investment portfolios and more money than it is possible to know what to do with. However, billions of dollars used to separate Nicky Oppenheimer from Johann Rupert, and the former has enjoyed a comfortable buffer in top-spot. But that could all change very soon.

Data published by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows how the gap has narrowed between the two billionaires. Their fortunes haven’t contrasted massively in 2019 – both have ended up richer than they were at this point last year – but Johann Rupert is making up some serious ground on his friendly rival.

The richest men in South Africa:

Johann Rupert net worth and businesses

Valued at “just” $5.8 billion in January, Rupert has enjoyed a great run this year, with his real-time net worth back up to $6.82 billion (R103.8 billion) as of Tuesday 1 October. The Stellenbosch-based investor – who owns a luxury watchmakers – has recently spoken about leaving South Africa, but with his moolah, he could buy himself a new country.

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Graph showing the yearly net worth performance of Johann Rupert – Photo: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

There have been a few ups and downs for Rupert, but 2019 has seen the money-man improve on his already-healthy bank balance. After riding a wave of uncertainty towards the end of last year, the finances have rallied. He is $800 million better off than he was at the start of this year, up by an enormous 13%.

Nicky Oppenheimer net worth and businesses

As South Africa’s richest man – and the 229th richest person in the world with $6.93 billion (R105.5 billion) to spare – the former diamond tycoon has his finances intensely scrutinised. The news was largely positive for him in 2019, after adding $325 million to the bank. But the private equity investor and heir of the De Beers mining fortune is now looking over his shoulder…

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Graph showing the yearly net worth performance of Nicky Oppenheimer – Photo: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

Despite a sharp, unexpected dip at the end of July, the recovery was swift. Nicky Oppenheimer is currently hovering around the R7 billion mark, despite more than R1 billion being wiped off his net worth two months ago. Imagine losing that amount of money and not even flinching. It’s some going.

Nicky Oppenheimer vs Johann Rupert – a changing of the guard?

Previously, Oppenheimer has had billions of dollars between himself and second place. But as we’ve learned, things can change very quickly: On 31 July – when his net worth plummeted – this was also logged as the day Johann Rupert was at his most valuable (he was estimated to be worth $7.3 billion at the time), dethroning Nicky for a few days.

Of course, these markets remain volatile. But Johann Rupert is making the bigger strides of the pair and their estimated values are now “just” $110 million apart. He has already enjoyed a brief visit to the summit, and if these trends continue, the Remgro owner will soon top the table again.

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