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# Carlos Ardila

Random fact: Erstwhile rival of late Colombian beer baron Julio Mario Santo Domingo.


Ardila Lulle controls a closely held conglomerate whose flagship company is Postobon, Colombia's largest soft-drinks maker with $1 billion in 2015 sales. The group is the country's largest producer of sugar, and has interests in companies that make bottles, caps and crates. He also owns a television network and car dealerships.

As of Jan. 21, 2018:
Last change ()
YTD change ()
Industry Food & Beverage
Biggest asset N/A
Citizenship Colombia
Age 86
Wealth Self-made
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Relative Value

Carlos Ardila's net worth of can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Birthdate: 7/4/1930
Family: Married, 4 children

Born in northeastern Colombia in 1930, Carlos Ardila Lulle studied engineering in the city of Medellin. In his early 20s, he married Eugenia Gaviria, whose father hired him at his soft-drinks company, Lux. There Ardila experimented with new flavors and colors before coming up with a pink, fizzy, apple-flavored drink that started outselling all of Lux's other products. He bought the company from his in-laws and, in 1968, took over rival Postobon, which remains the core of his empire. With Gaviria, he has two sons and two daughters.

During the 1970s, Ardila acquired interests in sugar mills and glass and metal packaging to bolster his soft-drinks business. He branched out into a variety of other industries, buying television and radio network RCN, textile company Coltejer and now-defunct record label Sonolux. He also dabbled in politics, serving as Medellin city councilman and then national senator for the Conservative Party.

Ardila and the late beer baron Julio Mario Santo Domingo shared control of the airline Avianca until 1985, when a management dispute led Ardila to sell his stake to his fellow-billionaire, according to "Don Julio Mario," an unauthorized biography by the journalist Gerardo Reyes. The two signed an agreement two years later not to tread on each other's central businesses. In the 1990s, they broke their truce, with Santo Domingo moving into soft drinks and Ardila opening a brewery. Ultimately, Ardila lost the battle. After piling up hundreds of millions of dollars in debt in the wake of the 1999 recession, he sold his beer factory to Santo Domingo the following year. He went on to sell other businesses, such as Coletejer, to pay down debt and shore up Postobon's finances.

Ardila, who remarried after divorcing his first wife, has been wheelchair-bound since an accident at home in the 1980s. He divides his time between Medellin and Bogota, where his conglomerate is headquartered. His son Antonio Jose sits on Postobon's board, while his other son, Carlos Julio, leads RCN.

  • 1930 Carlos Ardila Lulle is born on July 4, in Bucaramanga, Colombia.
  • 1951 Father-in-law hires him at soft-drinks company Lux.
  • 1968 After buying Lux from his in-laws, Ardila acquires rival Postobon.
  • 1970 Acquires glass packager Peldar; elected Medellin city councilman.
  • 1974 Elected national senator for Colombia's Conservative Party.
  • 1978 Steps down as senator and purchases textile company Coltejer.
  • 1985 Sells stake in airline Avianca to Julio Mario Santo Domingo.
  • 1995 Opens the Leona brewery to compete with Santo Domingo's Bavaria.
  • 2000 With debt piling up, sells Leona to Santo Domingo family.
  • 2008 Sells Coltejer to continue shoring up core beverage business.