Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine threw off the shackles of a closed economy and embraced market economy after 1991. However it has not been a smooth ride for the country, first struggling with recession and then buffeted by the effects of 2008 global slump. Even then many entrepreneurs from Ukraine have made it good and eight of them even figure on Forbes 2012 World Billionaire List1. Here are some of the richest men in Ukraine what they are worth.
One of the billionaires in Ukraine who has massively benefited from the country’s privatization of natural resources is mining baron Rinat Akhmetov. He is currently the richest person in Ukraine with a net worth of $16 billion. He is founder and head of the DTEK holding company which controls over 60% of coal production and energy generation in Ukraine. In 2011, Akhmetov picked up five more coal and energy outfits, taking advantage of Ukraine's recent privatization auctions. . Parliamentarian is considering stepping down in the next election.
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46 year old Akhmetov is a self-made billionaire who started out as son of a coal miner and a shop assistant. Soon though he established himself in the Ukrainian business community in the early 1990s when he started trading metals and coal. He seized on the financial chaos that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union to buy Ukraine’s stakes in some of the country’s biggest steel mills and coal mines. They were later combined into steelmaker Metinvest Holding LLC and DTEK Holding, a producer of electricity for power stations.
Apart from these widespread commercial ventures, Akhmetov owns the FC Shakhtar Donetsk soccer club, which plays in the $400 million Donbass Arena he built for them in 2009. He also He also represents the president’s Party of Regions in the Verkhovna Rada parliament but is considering stepping down in the next election. Recently, Akhmetov was in news2 for purchasing the the priciest apartment in the One Hyde Park development in London's exclusive Knightsbridge - after forking out £136 million.
With a net worth of $4.2 billion, Viktor Pinchuk is the second richest man in Ukraine. he made his made his first fortune with Interpipe, supplying pipes for huge energy customers including Gazprom and Rosneft and then went on to head the Ukrotsbank which he then sold off in 2008 for a whopping $2.2 billion. The Ukrainian mogul is still investing the proceeds from the sale - most recently acquiring a stake in Russian mobile provider Vimpelcom and Groupon-alike Pokupon. He's said to be readying his oil and gas exploration company, Geo Alliance, for a possible IPO.
Pinchuk is married and has four children; he is in fact the son-in-law of Ukrainian ex-president Leonid Kuchma. A prominent business figure in the country, he also owns TV stations and a tabloid and has served as a Member of Parliament. Apart from his business interests, Pinchuk has initiated several measures to give back to the community; recently, his Pinchuk Foundation played host to a panel on internet philanthropy featuring fellow Forbes billionaires Sean Parker, Eric Schmidt and Yuri Milner.
Banking mogul Ihor Kolomoyskyy is the third richest man in Ukraine with a net worth of $3 billion. Ihor started out with Privatbank, which was founded with $1 million of capital in early 1990s. After that he went on to partner with fellow billionaire Henadiy Boholyubov to found Privat group, a banking and industrial conglomerate which now the two control. It is reported that the partners have plans to take Privatbank public on the London stock exchange this year. Among other assets owned by Kolomoyskyy is a 10% stake in oil producer Ukrnafta which is also preparing to go public. In other plans, there is the proposal to integrate other group oil refineries and terminals and grow Ukrnafta. Outside of Privat, Kolomoyskyy has a 4.5% stake in Roman Abramovich's Evraz as well as energy interests.
The 49 year old self-made billionaire is married and has two children; he lives in Kiev, capital city of Ukraine. With his partner Bogolyubov, Kolomoyskyy is building the world's biggest multifunctional Jewish center, the Menorah Centre in Dnepropetrovsk.
Another Ukrainian billionaire to emerge from the growing banking sector of the country is Henadiy Boholyubov who with a net worth of $2.8 billion is easily one of the richest men in Ukraine. With fellow billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskyy, Henadiy Bogolyubov controls Privat group, a banking and industrial conglomerate they founded in early 1990s. Earlier though via his private company, Palmary Enterprises, Henadiy Boholyubov had won control over Australia's manganese ore miner Consolidated Minerals in 2008. then he went on to acquire a 12% stake in the company Australia's OM Holdings, regarded as world's last independent supplier of high-grade manganese; and has also been gearing up for takeover battle.
Of Jewish parentage, the 50 year old billionaire has set up the Bogolyubov Foundation which focuses on promoting Jewish education and religion. Bogolyubov has also roped in his business partner Kolomoyskyy, to build the world's biggest multifunctional Jewish center, the Menorah Centre in Dnepropetrovsk.
With a net worth of $1.8 billion, Kostyantin Zhevago belongs to the younger crop of entrepreneurs who have been making best use of the new opportunities in the Ukrainian economy. Mining and banking are the two sectors responsible for Zhevago’s fortune. However 2011 was not so good for his business ventures what with the stock price of his iron ore producer Ferrexpo going down by 35% and his bank is struggling with a large loan portfolio. Even political developments in the country have not been to the advantage of the dynamic self-made billionaire. Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of Zhevago’s political party was jailed in 2011 and as parliamentary deputy, he found himself in opposition to President Yanukovich's Party of Regions; because of such circumstances, Zhevago is reportedly considering moving operations to London.
At 38 year old, Zhevago is married and is father to two children. He is believed to be an avid soccer fan and owns the FC Vorskla football.
Unlike most of the previous Ukrainian billionaire, Yuriy Kosiuk - with a net worth of $ 1 billion - has made his fortune not from minerals or banking but in agriculture. Kosiuk studied food process engineering at Kiev Food Industry Institute and became an independent gain trader with the dissolution of the Soviet Union’s centralized economic system. While renting grain silos, he saw an opportunity to sell to for domestic grain customers and decided to go into production using grain for poultry production. With just ten employees Kosiuk set up a small poultry company which eventually grew into today's MHP; he took his poultry producer MHP public in May 2008. among his future plans for MHP are a $1.5 billion poultry plant construction project that is set for completion in 2015; this will increase the output capacity of the company and enable Kosiuk to break into European markets. A resident of Kiev, 44 year old Kosiuk is married and has one child.
Yet another name from Ukraine’s group of younger self-made billionaires is that of Andrey Verevskiy. The thirty-sex year old from has a current net worth of $1 billion according to Forbes list of 2012 Billionaires. Andrey Verevskiy started as a grains trader when he was just 20; over the next several years he actively acquired farms to build agribusiness conglomerate Kernel Holding. In 2007, he took the company public on Warsaw stock exchange. Currently Verevskiy is diversifying his investments and towards the purpose has purchased Ukrainian real estate developer KDD Group. He also acts as the parliamentary deputy of his country, having smoothly switched parties from Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc to new president Victor Yanukovich's bloc when the political winds shifted.