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The list of the Richest people in Chile and their backgrounds

This South American country is located along the western seaboard and has a very unique, narrow shape to it.  It is famous for its mountainous landscape and a variety of climates. Its economy is based on the exploitation of agricultural, fishing, forest and mining resources. Chile relies heavily on a few agricultural and mineral exports, which was a pattern among Latin America. But as it often happens with the countries with developing economies the majority of the wealth was distributed among the hands of small elite groups and the situations didn’t change for decades. The country has tried to change it’s overall wealth distribution and had multiple reforms and manufacturing developments to try and improve its overall conditions but a lot of economic problems kept arising, most of them were connected to the country’s economic structure that was in place in the late 19th century.

While exports and agriculture were always a big part of Chile’s economy after the nitrate market dropped during World War I, Chile’s economy was left extremely vulnerable and it led the country into the great depression.  This lead the country towards a more socialist path where the government took control of the economy and Chile tried to move away from depending on imports so much. A lot of banks, copper mines and businesses were nationalized. This proved to be a successful move and the economy started to get back on track but the government failed to come up with the efficient taxing system took the country in the wrong direction once again. By the end of 21st century, Chile took a step towards diversifying the economy and entered many bilateral trade agreements, embraced foreign investment and forex trading in Chile and now it has one of the most developed economies in South America.

Richest people in ChileBernando Matte

  • Age: 64
  • Industry: Paper
  • Networth:$1 billion

The first person we will discuss today is the current owner of Empresas CMPC, Chile’s largest pulp and paper producer. Like most of the billionaire’s worldwide Matter got a pretty privileged start and inherited his wealth from his father, Elioditi Matte Ossa. According to the Forbes Global 2000 ranking of 2019, Empresas CMPC is the biggest pulp and paper company is the biggest of its kind worldwide. It operates in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, and Uruguay. Bernando shares the company with two of his siblings, Patricia Matte and Eliodoro Matter, who also inherited stakes at the company. Since CMPC is a hugely successful group they also have stakes in telecom, banking, and shipping firms which add more earnings to the Chilean billionaires yearly income. Bernardo is involved with Colbun S.A, which is Chile’s third-largest energy producer. The family has been involved with Colburn for years. Bicecorp is a financial firm that is also part of the Matte family investments. Considering that Bernando is 64 he is no longer actively involved with the company’s management business, and he left the position of Colbun to focus on CMPC and Entel, a telecom company in which his family also holds an interest. He is working on cultivating the success of CMPC and is in charge of all important decision making that goes on in the firm. Even though he was privileged enough to be born into one of Chile’s wealthiest families, he took his responsibilities very seriously and focused a lot of his energy on his family business to make sure that he would get the could take care of it to the best of his abilities and all these efforts paid off since Bernando is not on the list of richest people in Chile.

Chile's richest peopleLuis Enrique Yarur Rey

  • Age: 68
  • Industry: Banking
  • Networth: $1.5 billion

Luis Enrique Your Rey is the chairman of Banco de Credito e Inversiones (BCI) a Chilean retail and commercial bank. Like most people on this list, Luid is an heir and he got his inheritance from his wealthy family. BCI has more than 300 branches throughout Chile and Florida. The Chilean bank even has a branch in Antarctica. Originally founded in 1937, it is one of Chile’s largest banking institutions so it’s no surprise that the banks current owner made it to the list of the richest man in Chile with a net worth of over $1 billion. The banks themselves has over $45 billion in assets. In 2015 BCI purchased City National Bank of Florida for $947 million. It was a historic moment because it was the first time a Chilean bank has ever purchased a U.S financial institution.  Luis has been at the helm of 10 different companies and has done a good job of keeping his income diversified. while mostly staying in the financial sphere. Luis Enrique Your Ray holds a graduate degree from the University of Navarra and a graduate degree from Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empressa. He has had a very successful career and has established himself as one of the outstanding businessmen in Chile. While banking is usually not the industry where most of the major billionaire from Chile are working, considering his inheritance and his knack for business savvy ventures Luis managed to not only maintain but grow his family’s business. He resides in Santiago, Chile to this day and is together with his wife he has 8 children.

richest women in ChilePatricia Angelini Rossi

  • Age: 65
  • Industry: Forestry
  • Networth: $1.2 billion

While usually it’ hard to find top ten billionaires list with women in it, but  Chile surprisingly has not one but two billionaires on its lists. We’re first going to talk about Patricia Angelini Rossi who comes from the forestry industry. While she is special because she’s a woman on a list of 10 richest people in the country, Patricia also comes from the family of rich investors. Patricia inherited stakes in Grupo Empresas Angelini, the investment group headed by her brother Roberto Angelini Rossi. Group has a lot of holding in a variety of industries, but the biggest one is publicly-traded Antarchile, the company that distributed fuel, operates fishing and shipping businesses and invests in Energy. So it’s clear that the Rossis dont focus on the most profitable industries. Their holding is very successful even outside Chile. The most successful example of that would be  Antarchile’s forestry subsidiary Arauco, which entered the North American market in 2012 when it purchased Canada’s Flakeboard, a company focused on manufacturing wood panels. The family business was previously lead by Patricia’s uncle, Anacleto Angelini, who passed away in 2007. Unlike many other Chile’s wealthiest families, Rossi’s keep a very low profile and rarely talk with the media. There is not much information about their personal lives or other interests on the internet, but we know that besides forestry the family is also heavily invested in mining and it is also on of the main sources of income for the wealthy Chileans.

Chile's richest personJean Salata

  • Age: 54
  • Industry: Finance
  • Networth: $1.9 billion

While most of the people we’ve discussed so far actually live in Chile we’ll make an exception for this one. Jean Salata was born in Chile and is a Chilean citizen but has lived and worked in Hong-Kong for decades but now resides in Chile.  Salata used to work with Baring back in 1997, he held posts at Bain and AIG. He has dealt with management for most of his career and the biggest break for him happened in 2000 when he led a management buyout of Baring Private Equity Asia, where he is chief executive.  Jean Eric Salata is currently the Chief Executive and Founding Partner of Baring Private Equity Asia. He oversees all the investment and divestment decisions made at the Frim as well as its strategic direction. Jean is a well-known professional which is why he is paid so well in his job. Being so well acquitted with the investment came through hard work for him.  Salata graduated magna cum laude from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Finance and Economics. He has previously received awards for his work, his Private Equity International’s 2010 PE Asia Leadership Award, Asian Venture Capital Journal’s 2009 Private Equity Professional of the Year award.

Wealthiest people in ChileRoberto Angelini Rossi

  • Age: 71
  • Industry: Forestry, Mining
  • Networth:$2.2 billion

We’ve already covered this family quite extensively but we haven’t touched upon its richest member, Roberto Angelini Rossi. He is currently the head on the  Inversiones Angelini, Chile’s largest investment group. The group used to be headed by Roberto’s uncle, Anacleto Angelini, who died in 2007. He owns stakes in Siemel which covers agribusiness and commercial fishing outfit Eperva. Antarchile SA, the family’s ain financial holding company engages in the investment of property, company shares negotiable instruments and transferable securities, fishing, maritime transport, forestry, and mining.  Their company Celulosa Arauco y Constitucion S.A., engages in the forest industry and global relevance which operates in the business line of pulp, panels and sawn timber.  The Companies de Petroleos de Chile involved the distribution of fuels and lubricants for domestic and industrial use.  They also deal with pipelines, petroleum products covering all the basics. So the family managed to cover all the major industries in Chile and operate one of the most successful holdings in the country. Despite his wealthy family, Robert did receive university education a Pontificia Universidad de Chile, He currently lives in Santiago Chile with wife and 4 children.

Chile's wealthiest peopleSebastián Piñera

  • Age: 70
  • Industry: Investments
  • Networth:$2.8 billion

Sebastian Pinera was elected president of Chile in December 2017 and he is one of the richest people in the country. His presidential term began in March 2018. He previously served as Chile’s president from 2010 until 2014. His main source of income is clearly not politics. He got his big break when he founded Bancard in 1976. Bancard is a credit card company, now he has divested many assets over the years. He is the son of a Christian democratic politician and diplomat, Jose Pinera Carvallo. Pinera’s family moved to Belgium when he was just one year old, and later they moved to New York because his father, Jose was serving as an ambassador to the United States. Sebastian studied business engineering at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and then got a degree from Harvard, where he studied economics. He is a member of the center-right National Renewal party. He has seen his share of scandals during his political career. Sebastien spent 24 days in hiding while his lawyer appealed the order for his arrest on charges of violating banking laws, while he was serving as a general manager of the Banco de Talca. He also has a reputation for bringing bad luck to Chile. Even BBC covered the topic, highlighted that the 2010 Maula earthquake followed by another earthquake happened during Pinera’s inaugurations ceremony, followed by the mining accident in 2010, and the 2010 Santiago prison fire and the 2011 Puyehue-Cordon Caulle eruption and the 2012 wildfires.  Despite the many challenges Sebastien made it to the list of the richest people in Chile and has been running somewhat successfully as the president of Chile, even if he is associated sometimes with bad luck, apparently, the luck didn’t stop him from acquiring $2.8 billion worth of assets.

Chilean billionairesAlvaro Saieh Bendeck

  • Age: 69
  • Industry: banking
  • Networth: $3 billion

Alvaro Saeih Bendeck is the largest shareholder of Itau CorpBanca, a Chilean financial firm born of the 2016 merger between Itau and CorpBanca. While Alvaro was born in Columbia and is of Palestinian descent, he is a Chilean citizen so we still included him on our list. He is among the wealthiest Chile billionaires and he has multiple sources of income. Alvaro used to have stakes in CorspSeguros and CorpVida, both insurance companies but he sold the shares in 2016 and focused more on banking.  But before that,  he bought Chile’s Banco conception back in 1995 and this was the big start for Alvaro. The big merge with Itau happened later on. He is an academic, economist and a businessman. He has some help from his family when he was starting out. They had a business that offered electrical appliances as well as many other goods. He was able to afford to travel and to study at university. He attended the University of Chicago, where he pursued a master’s degree in art and a Ph.D. in economics. He started his career as a professional working in the public sector, being an economic adviser for the Ministerio de Vivienda y Urbanismo and the Ministerio de Obras public. but when he realized he wanted to do business he started with acquisitions. This happened in the 1990s and he ended up acquiring AFP Provida, currently one of the leading pension fund managers in Chile. He is heavily involved in foundations and tries to give back to the Chile community. He has two foundations, Fundacion CorpArtes and Fundacion Descubreme. The first foundation promoted the arts and tried to improve access to ti through different cultural experiences, covering literature, theater music and much more. With his second foundation aims to promote the integral inclusion of people with cognitive disabilities.

list of richest people in ChileHorst Paulmann

  • Age: 84
  • Industry: Retail
  • Networth: $3 billion

Horst Paulmann is of German-Chilean descent and if the founder of Cencosud, one of the largest retail chains in Latin America. Paulman currently owns a 53% stake and the company publically traded. The Cencosud covers Argentina, Brazil Chile, Peru, and Colombia. Cencosud has 1,000 supermarkets and dozens of shopping centers, including Costanera Center in Chile, South America’s largest mall. He opened his first supermarket after first moving to Chile during World War II,  in 1976. While his family was getting used to life in Chile they bought a restaurant called Las Brisas and they soon transformed it into a supermarket. After his father passed away Horst and his brother Jurgen built a series of supermarket chains. While his brother was also involved in the business, it was Horst who really took charge and ensured the success of their venture. He immediately assumer the role of the CEO and the chairman of the company.  Besides retail stores, Horst also works in the real estate industry. One of his more famous projects is the Costanera Center, which includes the tallest tower in South America, measuring 300 meters, a six-story mall, a hotel, and office towers. Paulmann is the president of the Argentina-Chile Permanent Binantionals Board and a member of Argentina Business Associations. This Chilean billionaire also had his fair share of scandals and was accused of price-fixing fresh chicken between 2008-2011in in January 2016. The company has denied all allegations.

Richest chileansJulio Ponce Lerou

  • Age: 74
  • Industry: Fertilizers
  • Networth: $3.8 billion

The second richest person and the richest man in Argentina owes most of his money to a chemical and mining company. Sociedad de Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM). Lerou owns a 30% stake in the company. While you may think that he is just an average businessman born in a wealthy family, he is actually a former son-in-law of the late Chilena dictator Augusto Pinochet, and SQM was privatized by Pinochet’s government in the 1980s. That is how he got control over the company and has been the head of SQM for almost 40 years. This may not be an honorable way to gain money but he still ranks as the richest man in Argentina, despite his ties with a dictator. Lerou’s company also mines and sells potassium nitrate and iodine along with mining. Until 1982 he was president of Chilean state-owned forestry company Complejo Forestal y Madarero Panguipulli while he was simultaneously president of CELCO a wood pulp company. Like the previous billionaire on this list he is also in midst of the on-going scandal.  He is accused of a millionaire Fraud and embezzlement that affects the pension funds of millions of Chilean citizens. Considering the way he got started in the business it is not unlikely that he was involved in other shady things during his career. He resigned as chairman of SQM in April 2015 citing personal reasons but didn’t give any specifics. It is likely that his alleged fraudulent activity had something to do with his sudden resignations, but that didn’t help with restoring his image. He still lives the same lavish lifestyle as he always had and tries to stay away from the company business. Unsurprisingly so he is not involved in any sort of charity organization and usually keeps to himself to avoid the negativity and backlash.

the richest person in ChileIris Fontbona

  • Age: 76
  • Industry: Mining
  • Networth:$15.4 billion

Surprisingly enough the richest person in Chile is a woman. Iris Fontbona is the widow of Andronico Luksic, who built a fortune in mining and beverages. He passed away in 2005, leaving his fortune to his wife, Iris. Fontbonne together with her two sons Jean-Paul and Andronico runs the business. Iris and Andronico had a third son as well who also passed away from cancer in 2013, at the age of 57. The majority of the company’s income comes from Antofagasta Plc, in which the company owns copper mines in Chile and it operates from Santiago Another important company would be Quinenco, Chilena conglomerate that covers banking, beer, and manufacturing. Fontbonne and her children control the majority of stakes in Quinenco too. The company is publically -traded, meanwhile, Antofagasta Plc trades on the London Stock Exchange. Jean-Paul is the chairman of Antofagasta, and Andronico Lukcis is the chair of Quinenco.  After her husband’s death, Iris managed to take good care of his husband’s legacy and grew the company and helped it reach its new height of success. She also decided to get involved in luxury hotel chains. She owns a few along with a luxury resort in Croatia. Iris met Andronico when she was 17, while Andronico was 37. They got married a year after the pair met. One of the first things Iris did after her husband passed away, was that she purchased 70% stakes in Chilena television station Canal 13.  The widow keeps a very low profile and never grants interviews. She has three main residences, One in Vitacura, Santiago Chile, second in Belgravia, London and third in Liechtenstein. She is involved with charity work but primarily she worked closely with Chilen Telethon, which seeks to help children with physical disabilities. She usually appears on tv for a telethon, breaking her rules of seclusion for a good cause. In 2016 she donated $4.4 million CLP to the cause and set a record for the charity event.



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