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Forbes reveals the richest women in the world

Abigail Fenton
Alice Walton at the 2018 Guggenheim International Gala. Photo: Scott Rudd/Sipa USA/PA Images
Alice Walton at the 2018 Guggenheim International Gala. Photo: Scott Rudd/Sipa USA/PA Images

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the French heiress of cosmetics giant L’Oreal (OR.PA), has overtaken Walmart heiress Alice Walton as the richest woman in the world.

According to Forbes, which released its annual list of the world’s billionaires on Tuesday, the granddaughter of L’Oreal founder Eugene Schueller is now the 15th-richest person alive, with a net worth of $49.3bn. The ranking was previously held by her mother Liliane Betterncourt until her death in 2017, at which point Walton went from the second-richest to the richest woman on the planet.

However, having come into her mother’s fortune, Betterncourt Meyers has claimed the spot for herself. The heiress, who has served on L’Oreal’s board since 1997 and is chair of the family holding company, owns 33% of L’Oreal’s stock, which in 2018 recorded its biggest sales growth in a decade.

READ MORE: How Kylie Jenner became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at 21

Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, came runner-up to Betterncourt Meyers, and 17th overall, with a net worth of $44.4bn. Walton and her brothers Jim and Rob – who also placed – have a combined net worth of well over $100bn, mostly due to their stakes in the retail giant.

Unlike her brothers, who placed 16th and 18th, respectively, Walton does not work for Walmart but curates art and has a personal art collection valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.

In third place, Jacqueline Mars owns a third of the world’s largest candy-maker, the eponymous Mars company. The heiress, who worked for Mars for 20 years and served on its board until 2016, is the 33rd richest person in the world with a sweet $23.9bn to her name.

READ MORE: Trump rises 51 spots on Forbes billionaires list — but his net worth stays flat at $3.1bn

Mars shares the position with brother John, who also owns a third of the $35bn company founded by their grandfather Frank in 1911. Late brother Forrest Jr. owned the final third until his death in July 2016, whereupon it was split between his own heirs.

Yang Huiyan, who owns 57% of real estate developer Country Garden Holdings, took 42nd place on the rich list, and is the fourth richest woman in the world, with a net worth of $22bn.

BMW heiress Susanne Klatten – who owns 19.2% of the automaker – is also the sole owner of chemical company Atlanta AG, which rakes in more than $2.5bn a year in sales. Additionally, Klatten owns stakes in wind turbine maker Nordex AG and carbon product manufacturer SGL Group. This puts her at number 46, with a net worth of $21bn.

READ MORE: The richest people in the world for 2019

Laurene Powell Jobs, who placed 54th on the rich list, inherited her $18.6bn net worth from late husband and Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Further down the list at number 71 is Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson, with $15.6bn. Johnson, whose grandfather Edward Johnson II founded the Boston-based mutual fund 1946, owns almost a quarter (24.5%) of the company, which has just short of $2.5tn in assets.

Iris Fontbana inherited a $15.4bn net worth from late husband Andronico Luksic, who made a fortune in mining and beverages. Fontbana and her two living sons control Chilean copper mining group Antofagasta, and have a majority stake in Chilean conglomerate Quinenco.

READ MORE: Ocasio-Cortez: A system that allows billionaires to exist alongside extreme poverty is immoral

Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart is the 75th richest person on the planet and the richest person in Australia, with $15.2bn.

Kwong Siu-hing, widow of Sun Hung Kai Properties CEO Kwok Tak-seng, took 78th place with a $15.1bn net worth. Siu-hing is the company’s biggest stockholder, with a $26.58% share.

Heiress and executive director of beer giant Heineken, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, is the last woman on the Forbes’s rich list list at number 89, with a net worth of $14.2bn. Carvalho-Heineken inherited a 23% controlling stake in 2002, when her father and longtime CEO Freddy Heineken passed away.