Three Indian women top Forbes list of likely billionaire-inheritors

September 1st, 2008 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 1 (IANS) Daughters of three Indians - Lakshmi Mittal, Mukesh Ambani and K.P. Singh - have grabbed the top three spots in the Forbes list of 10 women likely to inherit the most from their billionaire fathers.No. 1 on the list of the US business magazine is Vanisha Mittal Bhatia, daughter of Lakshmi Mittal, the fourth-richest person in the world as of March last.

Perhaps best known for the $60 million wedding her father threw for her in 2004, she now serves as a director on the board of dad’s $103 billion (market cap) steel company, ArcelorMittal.

“Her corporate involvement and small family - she has only one brother - puts her in good stead to inherit a sizable chunk of her father’s fortune,” the magazine says.

Second on the Forbes list is Isha Ambani, the only daughter of Mukesh Ambani, an Indian billionaire ranked fifth in the world. She is just a teenager but already has her own stake in the family’s Reliance Industries, worth about $80 million, notes the magazine.

Ranked third in the heiresses is Indian realty baron K.P. Singh’s daughter Pia Singh. She already holds a stake worth USD 400 million in the country’s biggest real estate firm.

Also making the cut are several heiresses who already play an active role in the family empire, a fact that appears to bode well for their chances of inheriting the business as well as a piece of the estate.

Leading that group is Delphine Arnault-Gancia, the daughter of Bernard Arnault, the world’s 13th-richest man, who heads the $50 billion luxury goods behemoth LVMH.

Another one poised to inherit and lead is Marta Ortega Perez, daughter of Spanish retailer Amancio Ortega. She could choose to live a life of idle pleasures off her presumed cut of his $20.2 billion fortune, but instead she’s being groomed to succeed him at the helm of fashion conglomerate Inditex.

But still, for all the attention lavished on the daughters and grand daughters of the world’s wealthiest, many will never actually inherit a billion-dollar fortune, Forbes says.

This is so as fewer wealthy parents are leaving their fortunes to their offspring these days, in part due to estate taxes or charitable interests but also for fear of indulging the “Paris Hilton syndrome” or a “trustafarian lifestyle.”

Some billionaires have even opted to cut the kids out almost entirely.

America’s two richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, have both announced intentions to leave the bulk of their fortunes to charity. Buffett has even urged others to follow suit.

In choosing who among heiresses actually stands to inherit a fortune and make it into the ranks of the world’s richest, Forbes looked at the daughters of the 150 richest people, all of whom had a net worth of $6.4 billion or more in March.

Then it focused on those daughters who come from smaller families, with few or no siblings. Finally, anyone whose mothers or fathers had already announced Carnegie-esqe philanthropic pledges were eliminated.

The result is a hypothetical list subject to change, Forbes says. For “parents could lose their fortune. Plus, as Leona Helmsley’s dismayed relatives discovered last year, Mom or Grandma might just leave it to the dogs.”

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