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#497 Horst Paulmann $3.90B

Random fact: Chile Public Works Minister Laurence Golborne served as Cencosud CEO.


Paulmann is chairman of Cencosud, the second largest supermarket operator in Chile, Peru and Argentina. The Santiago-based company has more than 1,100 supermarkets and more than 50 shopping centers across Latin America. It reported revenue of $15.3 billion in 2016 and built Gran Torre Santiago, the region's tallest building.

As of July 23, 2017:
Last change -$10.6M (-0.3%)
YTD change +$144M (+3.8%)
Industry Retail
Biggest asset CENCOSUD CI Equity
Citizenship Chile
Age 82
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Horst Paulmann's net worth of $3.90B 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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Paulmann's fortune is derived from his 54 percent stake in Cencosud. The Santiago-based company is the second largest supermarket operator in Chile, Peru and Argentina, according to a 2017 corporate presentation published on the company's website. The Paulmann family owns the shares through three holding companies: Quinchimali, Latadia and Tano, according to the company's 2016 annual report. Paulmann is credited with all of his family's shares to reflect his control of them and status as founder of Cencosud.

Filings with Chile's financial regulator indicate that the billionaire has reinvested all of his dividends since Cencosud's 2004 initial public offering, taking on at least $750 million in debt to finance additional stock purchases. The Paulmann family injected about $1.2 billion in two rights offerings in 2012 and 2013, according to filings published on the website of Chile's securities regulator.

Cencosud's press office declined to comment on Paulmann's net worth.


Birthdate: 3/25/1935
Family: Married, 3 children

Horst Paulmann was born in Germany in 1935. He immigrated to the southern Chilean town of Temuco as a teenager following World War II. With his older brother Jurgen, he turned his family's fast-food restaurant into a supermarket chain that stretched itself across Chile during the 1960s. He parted ways with Jurgen a decade later, and went on to pursue an aggressive expansion in Chile and Argentina.

By 2001 he'd begun a spree of acquisitions, buying Home Depot's Argentine unit. He held an initial public offering for Cencosud in 2004. He entered the Brazilian market with the purchase of GBarbosa in 2007, and Peru's with the purchase of Wong. He doubled down on Cencosud during the 2008 financial crisis, injecting more than $150 million in cash through a rights offering.

Paulmann lives in Santiago. A daughter and a son, Heike and Peter, sit on the board of Cencosud. His oldest child, Manfred, pursues his own business interests after resigning as vice chairman of the company's board in 2010, following two years of service.

  • 1935 Horst Paulmann is born in Germany.
  • 1952 After migrating to southern Chile, family opens a fast-food joint.
  • 1957 Father dies; Horst and brother Jurgen take over family business.
  • 1961 Horst and Jurgen turn family restaurant into supermarket in southern Chile.
  • 1976 After Jurgen parts ways, Horst builds first Jumbo hypermarket.
  • 1993 The first Easy home-improvement store opens for business.
  • 2001 Paulmann buys Home Depot's operations in Argentina.
  • 2004 Cencosud holds an initial public offering in Santiago.