Aged 19 and 20, Norwegian sisters are world’s youngest richest

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 05, 2016 18:10 IST
The 19-year-old Alexandra Andresen was on the coveted Forbes’ 2016 list of billionaires, the youngest this year. (Twitter/Alexandra Andresen)

Aside from the usual suspects on the Forbes 2016 list of billionaires (think Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos), 19-year-old Alexandra Andresen was on the coveted rich list, making her the youngest this year.

Alexandra, along with sister Katharina, is heiress to one of Norway’s largest holding companies, Ferd, known to have centuries-old roots in the tobacco industry. The company now also holds equity, real estate, security, investments and a hedge fund, apart from holdings in oil and gas, industrial equipment, textile and sporting goods, IT services, and transportation. Though their father controls most of Ferd’s assets, each of the sisters own 42.2% of the company.

Alexandra is one of the top dressage riders in Europe; she won bronze and silver medals at the 2013 and 2014 European Junior Riders Championship respectively. Twenty-year-old Katharina studies social science at Amsterdam University College, and had previously worked on a Ferd project to combat youth unemployment.

The Andresen sisters are not known to live a very public life. In an interview published last year in the company’s corporate magazine, the younger Andresen said she saves as much of her money as she can. “I save when I get my weekly allowance, and I save the cash prizes I win in competitions or if I get money as a gift for my birthday. It means I can buy myself things I really want, like a bag or a pair of shoes, without having to ask mum or dad for money,” said Alexandra. “There are both pros and cons of being in the family I have,” said the elder Katharina. “There is a lot of pressure and awkward questions. Our name is so associated with money that (it) is always the subject of questions.”

According to the recent list released by Forbes, there are 66 billionaires under 40, up from just eight in 2011. In total, those on the list are worth $197.2 billion.

Among the younger billionaires are Snapchat founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who at 25 and 27, are worth a combined $4 billion. The list also includes the 22-year-old heir to a salmon-farming empire, Gustav Magnar Witzoe, whose net worth is $1.1 billion. Witzoe acquired his wealth from his father in 2013, and owns 47% of the equity.

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