Carlos Slim Helú (Mexico)
Fortune at year-end: USD 58.2 billion
Lost: USD 5 billion
The first among the unlucky billionaires is the owner of the largest telecommunications company in Latin America. The América Móvil is controlled by the billionaire’s entire family. It is worth mentioning that the coronavirus pandemic itself did not practically affect Slim Helú. His empire suffered the most from significant devaluation of Mexico's national currency. Back in the spring of 2020, the peso rate against the US dollar fell by 26% to reach its lowest value. Nevertheless, the situation now is creeping back to level, but it is going to be a long time before the fortune of this Latin American billionaire returns to its earlier values.
Sheldon Adelson (the USA)
Fortune at year-end: USD 35.1 billion
Lost: USD 5 billion
The gaming industry, including casinos, took perhaps one of the heaviest blows of the year. So it is by no means a coincidence that Sheldon Adelson, who owns the Las Vegas Sands gambling empire, ended up in the second spot in the list of the year’s heaviest losses. Last spring, entertainment venues were completely closed due to the lockdown. In the summer, the situation changed somewhat: the casinos were opened for visitors and tourists, but this could not change the situation significantly. First, the tourist flow was much lower than usual, and second, operational restrictions greatly affected the people’s desire to visit entertainment venues. Thus, the Las Vegas Sands lost 82% of its revenue in the third quarter of this year alone, which, of course, has reflected on the fortune of the owner himself.
Sun Hongbin (China)
Fortune at year-end: USD 8.1 billion
Lost: USD 4.8 billion
Sun Hongbin, a millionaire and owner of theme parks from China, had to endure another difficult year. His company, Sunac China Holdings, also had to absorb all costs of a stringent lockdown. First the parks were off-limits completely, and then they resumed activities with limitations imposing a certain number of visitors. Ultimately, all this affected the value of the company's securities that, since the beginning of the year, have already lost almost 40% of their price before the lockdown. The fortune of Sun Hongbin himself suffered most seriously, losing a third.
Hui Ka Yan (China)
Fortune at year-end: USD 27.7 billion
Lost: USD 4.6 billion
Ka Yan landed in fourth place of this ranking. He is the head of the Evergrande Group development company, considered the largest in China. In the first half of 2020, the organization rapidly increased its debt that reached the level of USD 128 billion. It happened against the backdrop of land acquisition and establishment of another division that is now producing electric cars. By the end of the year, it became apparent that the company is in a snowballing crisis that needs to be countered vigorously. An attempt in December to divest the real-estate part of the business and bring it to an IPO did not produce the desired effect, as the company’s circumstances remain severe.
Harold Hamm (the USA)
Fortune at year-end: USD 5.6 billion
Lost: USD 4.3 billion
Another unfortunate billionaire this year is Harold Hamm, the head of Continental Resources, an American oil producer. The hydrocarbon industry was among those that the pandemic hit the hardest. Hamm's losses are estimated at 43%. The main cause of the setback is the ongoing price war. Many problems were brought about by the extensive lockdown and travel restrictions. All this dramatically reduced the demand for crude oil, therefore the company's revenues decreased significantly. At the end of the year, the situation began to improve slightly, but even with this, the shares of Continental Resources remain 45% cheaper than the previous year.