Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#169 Gianluigi Aponte $8.55B

Random fact: Met wife, Raffaela, when she travelled on the ferry he captained.

Overview

Aponte is the founder of Mediterranean Shipping Co., which has a fleet of more than 460 container vessels. The Geneva-based company calls at over 300 ports around the world. It also controls MSC Cruises, the world's fourth-biggest cruise line by passenger numbers, and owns 65 percent of port manager Terminal Investment.

As of July 23, 2017:
Last change -$14.2M (-0.2%)
YTD change +$1.65B (+23.9%)
Industry Services
Biggest asset Terminal Investment
Citizenship Switzerland
Age 77
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Gianluigi Aponte's net worth of $8.55B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Aponte's fortune is derived from closely held Mediterranean Shipping Co., which operates a fleet of 460 container vessels and calls at over 300 ports around the world, according to the company website. The company has three main divisions: container fleet MSC, port operator Terminal Investment and MSC Cruises, the world's fourth biggest cruise line, according to its website. He's the sole owner of the Geneva-based business, according to Orbis, a database of company information published by Bureau van Dijk.

MSC's container fleet is valued based on the asset value of its vessels as of June 29, 2017, excluding charters, according to London-based VesselsValue.com, an online ship valuation database. A discount of 60 percent is applied to reflect a typical debt level shipowners hold in their fleets, according to a person familiar with the sector who asked not to be identified as detailed information isn't available for MSC.

The company sold a 35 percent stake in Terminal Investments for $1.9 billion in April 2013. The proceeds aren't included in the net worth calculation because the sum was probably used to pay down debt, as peer CMA CGM did when it sold a stake in its terminal business in June 2013. MSC retains a 65 percent stake in the business, which is valued using the sale price.

The cruise ship unit is valued using the average price-to-earnings and enterprise value-to-Ebit multiples of three publicly traded peers: Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line. MSC Cruises had revenue of 1.9 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in 2016, according to its website. Net debt is derived from the fleet investment program, as disclosed on its website.

Through MSC spokesman Lawrence Matthews, Aponte said he wasn't a billionaire. He declined to elaborate.

Biography

Birthdate: 6/27/1940
Family: Married, 2 children

Gianluigi Aponte was born in Sorrento, Italy, in 1940. His father, who'd opened a hotel in Somalia, died five years later. The orphan, whose family had been sailors for more than 300 years, returned to Italy and studied at his hometown's nautical institute. He joined Achille Lauro, the Naples-to-Capri ferry fleet, and eventually became a captain.

He met his wife, Swiss-born Raffaela Diamond Pinas, when she was a passenger on-board, and the couple moved to Geneva in 1969. A year later, he raised $280,000 to buy Patricia, a German freighter, and established the Mediterranean Shipping Co. Another cargo ship, Raffaela, followed a year later.

Aponte's fleet had expanded to 20 cargo ships by the 1980s, which the billionaire sold to move into container shipping. He diversified into cruise lines after buying Achille Lauro's cruise fleet in 1987, renaming it MSC Cruises in 1995. Five years later, he founded Terminal Investment, which invests in and manages container ports worldwide, each of which often counts MSC as its biggest customer.

Apart from public appearances for the company, such as christenings of new MSC cruise ships and the sale of a 35 percent stake in Terminal Investment for $1.9 billion in April 2013, Aponte rarely appears in the press. He lives with his wife in Geneva. His children, Diego and Alexa, both work at MSC.

Milestones
  • 1940 Gianluigi Aponte is born in Sorrento, Italy.
  • 1945 Company begins a 5.5 billion-euro investment program to build up fleet.
  • 1969 Buys first ship, Patricia, and founds MSC.
  • 1970 Founds Mediterranean Shipping Co. with purchase of a German freighter.
  • 1985 MSC cruise ship Achille Lauro hijacked by Palestine Liberation Front.
  • 1995 Cruise line division renamed MSC Cruises.
  • 2000 Creates Terminal Investment, which manages container terminals worldwide.
  • 2014 Hands control of MSC over to his son, Diego.