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Eike Batista Drops From World’s 20 Richest as OGX Plunges

Eike Batista is farther from his goal of overtaking Carlos Slim as the world’s richest man after a plunge in the shares of his commodity empire wiped $2.4 billion from his fortune.

The Brazilian tycoon’s estimated net worth of $21.1 billion places him 21st among the wealthiest individuals on the planet, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He fell seven places on the ranking today after his oil company, OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA, cut its production targets by as much as 75 percent. The announcement sent OGX shares down 25 percent.

OGX is the largest of several interlinking natural-resource startups that Batista says will make him the richest person in the world by 2015. After telling Bloomberg News in March that he “absolutely” maintains his vow to take the top spot, the 55-year-old now faces a gap of $49.4 billion with Mexican investor Slim, 72.

“His expectations are probably way too high,” said Ed Kuczma, a New York-based investment analyst at Van Eck Associates Corp., which oversees $31 billion in assets. “It’s a very uncertain world right now, and people put a higher value on certainty.”

OGX, which pumped its first barrel of crude in January, said late yesterday that it’s aiming for production of 5,000 barrels a day at each of its first two wells at the Tubarao Azul field in the Campos basin. The Rio de Janeiro-based company had planned to extract as much as 20,000 barrels a day per well.

Enough Cash

In an e-mailed statement, EBX responded to questions on the outlook for Batista’s empire by saying its companies have enough cash to continue fulfilling their business plans.

Batista rose as high as eighth place on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in the final week of March, after he sold a 5.63 percent stake in his EBX Group Co. holding company to Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. for $2 billion. The deal valued EBX -- which also includes closely held ventures such as gold unit AUX -- at $35.5 billion.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S. dollars.

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