Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 176 Gianluigi Aponte $8.98B

Random fact: Family involved in shipping for more than three centuries.

Overview

Aponte is the founder of Mediterranean Shipping, which operates a fleet of more than 500 container vessels. The Geneva-based business calls at 500 ports around the world. It also controls MSC Cruises, the world’s largest closely held cruise company, and has a majority stake in port manager Terminal Investment.

As of :
Last change +$88.9M ( +1.0%)
YTD change +$1.45B ( +19.2%)
Industry Services
Biggest asset Terminal Investment
Citizenship Switzerland
Age 79
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Gianluigi Aponte's net worth of $8.98B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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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, which operates a fleet of 510 container vessels and calls at 500 ports around the world, according to its website. The company has three main divisions: container fleet MSC, port operator Terminal Investment and MSC Cruises, the world's biggest privately-owned cruise line, according its website. 

MSC's container fleet is included based on the asset value of its vessels as of July 2019, 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. He's the sole owner of the Geneva-based business.

The company sold a 35 percent stake in Terminal Investments for $1.9 billion in April 2013, based on a report cited by Bloomberg. 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 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion) in 2018, according to its annual report. The valuation for the unit was updated on June 10, 2019, leading to an increase of $1.6 billion in Aponte's fortune.

Giles Broom, a spokesman for MSC, didn't respond to a request for comment on Aponte's net worth.

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.