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#510 Erman Ilicak $3.79B

Random fact: Signed off his 2015 chairman's letter with a poem.


Ilicak founded and owns Ronesans Holding, a closely held, Ankara-based conglomerate. The group controls Renaissance Construction, Turkey's second-largest international contractor, and had revenue of $3.4 billion in 2015. Ronesans' real estate investment division owns 26 commercial properties throughout Turkey.

As of July 26, 2017:
Last change No change
YTD change +$75.0M (+2.0%)
Industry Industrial
Biggest asset Ronesans Holding
Citizenship Turkey
Age 49
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Erman Ilicak's net worth of $3.79B 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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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Ilicak's fortune is derived from his ownership of Ankara-based Ronesans Holding, a group of closely-held companies in construction, real estate development and energy markets.

Renaissance Construction, also known as Ronesans Insaat, operates in eastern Europe and the Middle East. It had revenue of $3.4 billion in 2015 and is Turkey's second largest contractor, according to Engineering News Record's list of the top 250 international contractors. The group's commercial real estate development division, Ronesans Real Estate or Ronesans Emlak Gelistirme Holding, builds, owns and manages shopping centers and other commercial properties in Turkey and Russia. Renaissance Energy, or Ronesans Enerji Uretim, has power plants in Turkey.

Ronesans Holding's valuation is based on a July 2016 transaction where the World Bank's International Finance Corporation acquired a 5.25 percent stake in the holding group for $215 million. The valuation includes a 5 percent country risk discount, to account for challenges companies face attracting investors in the wake of political instability and uncertainty stemming from the July 2016 coup attempt.

Through Renaissance Construction, the billionaire owns more than 5 percent of Austria-based Porr AG. In December 2015, he acquired all of the shares of Dutch contractor Ballast Nedam he didn't already own for about 60 million euros. Both of these holdings are reflected in the valuation of Ronesans Holding.

The value of his cash and other investable assets is based on an analysis of insider transactions, taxes and market performance.

Engin Yildirim, head of communications at Ronesans Holding, declined to comment on Ilicak's net worth calculation.


Birthdate: 1967
Family: Married, 3 children

Erman Ilicak was born in 1967, the oldest of three children in a middle class family from the town of Darende, in the eastern Turkey province of Malatya. His father, Bekir, had trained as a lawyer before setting up his own trading company. After attending secondary school, Ilicak enrolled at Middle East Technical University, a state-funded school in Ankara, where he studied civil engineering.

A chance meeting with Sarik Tara, the chairman of Turkey's largest contractor, Enka Insaat, led to his first job after graduation. As a young engineer with Enka, he was relocated first to Libya, and then Belarus. After four years with Enka, his search for a new project led him to St. Petersburg, which he saw as an overlooked market too small for Enka and in need of restoration and development.

He founded his own construction company there called Ronesans Insaat in 1993, with what he called "less than little capital" and some help from his father. The name Ronesans, meaning "renaissance," was inspired by the potential he saw for redevelopment in Russia after years of communist rule. With a small group of engineers, the company's first projects were for only minor repairs. They won their first tender in 1998, a job to construct 13 industrial plants for Baltika Brewery. After a successful completion, he began taking on bigger projects further afield, including Moscow, Ukraine, Sochi, Turkey and the Middle East, as well as in his former post, Libya.

Ilicak founded his second company in 2006, Ronesans Gayrimenkul, a commercial real estate developer whose first project was an office building in St. Petersburg called Renaissance House. The company now owns more than two dozen properties, including office buildings in Russia and shopping malls throughout Turkey. Ronesans Holding diversified further in 2007, moving into energy and taking advantage of the Turkish government's efforts to gradually privatize the sector. Ronesans Enerji has licenses to own and operate hydroelectric power plants throughout the country, six of which are operational.

In May 2012, he announced plans to sell shares of Ronesans Gayrimenkul in a public offering on the Istanbul stock exchange. The offering was postponed later that month because of weak demand from foreign investors, according to Garanti Yatirim, the broker for the proposed listing. Ilicak had hoped to raise as much as $400 million from the sale.

The billionaire, who is married with three children, lives in Istanbul.

  • 1967 Erman Ilicak is born in Turkey's Malatya province.
  • 1988 Gets first job with Enka Insaat and moves to Libya.
  • 1990 Earns engineering degree from Middle East Technical University.
  • 1993 Founds Renaissance Construction in St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • 1998 Wins first tender offer: 13 plants for Baltika Brewery.
  • 2005 Builds first mega-mall project: an IKEA in Russia.
  • 2007 Enters Turkish energy market, with founding of Renaissance Energy.
  • 2009 Expands construction activities into Middle East and Africa.