The good news for Oleg Deripaska is that he is still a billionaire, at least according to a ranking by Russia's Finans magazine. The bad news is that he lost the equivalent of $35-billion (U.S.) in 2008, when the financial crisis and the recession hit the country like a hailstorm of anvils.
In the previous ranking, Finans put Deripaska's worth at $40-billion, which made him the wealthiest oligarch. His new worth is $4.9-billion, putting him in the lowly 8th position. The figures are not precise, of course, and vary widely depending on who's doing the ranking. Forbes magazine had put Deripaska's pre-crunch worth at about $28-billion.
Deripaska's wealth has sunk with commodity prices. Rusal, the world's biggest aluminum company, is his main holding (but does not trade publicly). In the autumn he lost his $1.5-billion investment in Canada's Magna International to a margin call.
So who's on top this year? None other than the man who profited from Deripaska's pain. Mikhail Prokhorov sold his stake in Norilsk, the world's biggest nickel maker, to Rusal last spring, just before the commodity markets imploded. As a result he is sitting on a mountain of cash. He has climbed up in the Finans rankings not because his worth has increased, but because he lost less than the others. The magazine put his wealth at $14.1-billion, down from $21.5-billion. Don't be surprised if he uses his superior financial position to buy his rivals' distressed assets on the cheap.
The most flamboyant oligarch, Roman Abramovich, the yacht-loving owner of Chelsea Football Club, lost nearly half his fortune. Finans put his new worth at $13.9-billion. Among other investments, he took a beating on Evraz, the steel and mining group that has a few Canadian plants.
Overall, the amount of vanished wealth among the top 10 wealthiest Russians is astonishing. Collectively, they've lost $131-billion, taking them down 63 per cent since 2007. Here's the Finans ranking in full (figures in U.S. dollars).
$14.1-billion: Mikhail Prokhorov, down from $21.5-billion $13.9-billion: Roman Abramovich, down from $23-billion $7.7-billion: Vladimir Lisin, down from $22.2-billion $7.6-billion: Vagit Alekperov, down from $13.5-billion $7.5-billion: Suleiman Kerimov, down from $18-billion $6.1-billion: Mikhail Fridman, down from $22.2-billion $5.0-billion: Vladimir Potanin, down from $21.5-billion $4.9-billion: Oleg Deripaska, down from $40-billion $4.6-billion: Dmitri Ribolovyev, down from $11.7-billion $4.5-billion: Alisher Usmanov, down from $13.3-billion