The 25 richest businessmen in the Països Catalans
As every year, the magazine ‘Forbes’ has published the list of the 100 richest businessmen in Spain. In 11Onze, we have compiled the 25 richest businessmen in the Països Catalans and we try to find out how they have managed to build their millionaire wealth.
Food industries, pharmaceuticals, fashion and cosmetics and hotel groups. These are the four sectors that have made the fortunes of the 25 richest businessmen in the Països Catalans. Many of them are related, others have accumulated family inheritances and a prosperous business since the beginning and middle of the 20th century. Most of them invest their fortunes in art collections, philanthropy and private foundations. These are the richest of the rich.
- Juan Roig Alfonso, president of Mercadona (3.7 billion). He is one of the most admired men in Spain, according to the consultancy Brand Finances, but also one of the most hated by small producers and by the political left. His supermarket chain has more than 1,600 shops on the Iberian Peninsula and has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Business Excellence in 2019. Roig is an avowed admirer of FAES, the Partido Popular’s think tank, where he has donated large sums of money, and dedicates part of his income to supporting sports and entrepreneurship initiatives. Phrases such as “In Spain we have to imitate the hard work culture of the Chinese bazaars” are attributed to him.
- Hortensia Herrero, shareholder of Mercadona (2.3 billion). Hortensia Herrero and her husband, Juan Roig, have turned Mercadona into an empire. In addition to her business activity, she has started a philanthropic and sponsorship task with the Hortensia Herrero Foundation in the País Valencià, which promotes artistic heritage.
- Sol Daurella Comadrán, President of Coca Cola Europacific Partners (1.9 billion). At only 54 years of age, she is president of the Coca Cola bottling company and distributes its products to 13 countries in Western Europe. She is the granddaughter of the cod businessman Santiago Daurella i Rull and daughter of the businessman Josep Daurella i Franco. Sol Daurella has been a shareholder of Banc de Sabadell, Ebro Foods and Acciona and is a member of the board of the Círculo de Economía de Barcelona, chairs the board of directors of the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya and is a patron of the Palau de la Música Catalana. She has been a member of the Advisory Council of Diplocat, a fact that has provoked a great deal of criticism from the most pro-Spanish sectors.
- Isak Andic, owner of Mango (1.6 billion). The fashion businessman was elected president of the Instituto de la Empresa Familiar in 2010. He comes from a Sephardic family that moved from Turkey to Barcelona in the 1970s. His fashion business started when he returned from a holiday with a pair of shirts that he sold to his friends. He began to sell to order until he sold them in a market in Barcelona and expanded his business by importing hand-embroidered outerwear from Afghanistan. In 1984 he opened the first Mango shop on Paseo de Gracia with his brother. He now has more than 2,100 stores worldwide.
- Fernando Roig Alfonso, owner of Pamesa (1.4 billion). Juan Roig’s older brother is the owner of one of the five most important ceramics groups in the world, having bought Azuliber in 2020 and 40% of Argenta. He is also the third largest shareholder of Mercadona, president of the Vila-real football club and of the energy company Renomar.
- Manuel Lao, ex-owner of Cirsa (1.3 billion). His family origins are in Almeria, but at the age of 12 he emigrated to Terrassa. He has lived in Matadepera for many years, where he has raised the average income to make the municipality one of the richest in Spain. With his brother Juan Lao, he set up the Cirsa group, an operator of casinos, bingos and electronic games. Manuel Lao bought 44% of the shares from his brother for 120 million euros and in 2018 sold the company to Blackstone for 2.2 billion euros, despite the fact that a debt was deducted from this amount. Lao now invests his money through Nortia Capital and, among other investments, controls 8.16% of Merlin Properties.
- Alberto Palatchi, former owner of Pronovias (1.3 billion). He was the director of Pronovias until 2017, when he sold 90% of the company he founded with his father in 1922 to BC Partners for 550 million euros. Now, Palatchi invests his capital through Galma Capital, which controls two of the most profitable sicav in the country, Gesprinsa and Hermoprisa. He also owns real estate and invests in art.
- Miguel Fluxà Rosselló, executive chairman of Iberostar (1.2 billion). He is president of one of the most important Spanish hotel groups in the world. The Mallorcan-born group operates 70% of Cuba’s hotels with Melià and Barceló.
- Antonio Gallardo Ballart, shareholder of Almirall laboratories (1 billion). Antonio, together with his brother Jorge Gallardo, are the main shareholders of Almirall pharmaceutical laboratories, through the corporations Genbad and Zamap, in which their sons also participate. The company has more than 1,900 employees in 13 subsidiaries in Europe and the United States. The family business started in 1862 with a small pharmacy in Barcelona.
- Jorge Gallardo Ballart, Chairman of Almirall Laboratories (1 billion). According to Forbes, the pharmaceutical group has obtained very positive results with the development of its new drug against atopic dermatitis. Almirall has almost doubled its stock market value in recent years, from 1.4 billion euros in 2017 to 2.6 billion today.
- Carmen Daurella Aguilera, shareholder of Arcelor Mittal (950 million). Sol Daurella’s cousin controls Haberes y Servicios, an indirect shareholder of Coca Cola Europacific Partners through Cobega, the Daurella’s holding company. Carmen and Sol Daurella sold Copesco, the family cod company, to the Basque group Angulas Aguinaga.
- Gabriel Escarrer, founder of Melià Hotels (900 million). It is one of the most quoted hotel chains on the stock market, but the pandemic crisis has taken its toll. According to Forbes, Melià has lost 51% in capitalisation since 2017, and its stock market value is currently 1.3 billion.
- José Elías, shareholder of Audax Renovables (900 million). He is a major shareholder of Audax Renovables, Audax Green, Ezentis, Aspy, Atrys Health, and the supermarket chain La Sirena. This uncontrolled growth has allowed him to enter the lists of the world’s richest people in just two years.
- Manuel Puig Rocha, Vice-President of the Puig Group (850 million). Puig markets its products and fragrances in more than 150 countries. Puig operates under the Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne brands and in the fashion sector it is a shareholder of Jean Paul Gaultier. In addition to these businesses, Manuel Puig holds 5% of Fluidra’s capital, a percentage that has brought him a great deal of joy, as the company has increased by 50% on the stock market.
- Thomas Andreas Meyer, owner of Desigual (850 million). He is of Swiss origin, but has made his professional career in Barcelona. Desigual competes with Zara and other brands of the Inditex group and this year has established a four-day working day after workers voted in favour of it. Meyer is known to lead a life away from the spotlight and is a champion of sustainability. No photographs of him had been published until 2008.
- Carlos March Delgado, chairman of the Alba financial corporation (850 million). He chairs the corporation and is majority shareholder of Banca March, with his brother Juan, and ahead of his sisters Gloria and Leonor. March is married to the philanthropist Concepción de la Lastra.
- Ricardo Portabella, owner of Anpora (800 million). His fortune comes from the inheritance received from his grandfather, Luis Portabella Conte, who partnered after the Civil War with Daniel Carasso, son of the founder of Danone. His grandfather presided over Danone España for more than four decades and Ricardo Portabella was the sole heir of his uncle, Antonio Portabella Ràfols, who owned a lot of Danone shares and a large real estate portfolio.
- Juan March Delgado, shareholder of the financial corporation Alba (750 million). With his brother, Carlos March Delgado, they are the majority shareholders of Banca March.
- Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, art collector (750 million). Carmen Cervera, widow of Baron Heinrich Hans August Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kaszó, from whom she took her married name, is one of the world’s most sought-after art collectors and is a leading figure in the art press. Last July she reached an agreement with the government to rent her collection for 6.5 million euros a year and return the Mata Mua painting by Paul Gauguin.
- Óscar Serra Duffo, shareholder of Fluidra (600 million). He is one of the founders of this manufacturer of swimming pool design and production. Founded in 1969 by the Planes, Serra, Corbera and Garrigós families, Fluidra has increased its stock market value fivefold since 2017.
- Tomás Arrufat Pujol, president of Proeduca (550 million). He is the promoter and main shareholder with 76% of Proeduca Altivos, the company that manages online training at La Rioja International University.
- Nuria Roura Carreras, shareholder of Grífols (550 million). She is the widow of Víctor Grífols and one of the main shareholders of the pharmaceutical laboratories. She also promoted the Víctor Grífols Foundation on bioethics.
- Alicia and Mercedes Daurella, shareholders of Coca Cola Europacific Partners (550 million). Carmen Daurella Aguilera’s sisters are also shareholders in the company chaired by their cousin Sol.
- José Ignacio Comenge, shareholder of Coca Cola Europacific Partners (550 million). This Valencian is also a shareholder of Coca Cola Europacific Partners and has important stakes in Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE), Ebro Foods and Ence.
- Mauricio Botton Carasso, owner of Germina Finance (450 million). He is an investor through Germina Finance and owner of the La Gramosa estate. His fortune, like Ricardo Portabella’s, comes from the sale of Danone’s Spanish subsidiary to several shareholders.
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