Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

# 109 Gianluigi Aponte $16.2B

Random fact: Bought Patricia, his first ship, for $280,000 in 1970.


Aponte is the founder of Mediterranean Shipping, the operator of a fleet of about 700 container vessels. The Geneva-based company calls at around 500 ports worldwide. It also controls MSC Cruises, the world’s largest closely held cruise company, and has a majority stake in port management company Terminal Investment.

As of :
Last change No change
YTD change No change
Biggest asset MSC Container Fleet
Country / Region Switzerland
Age 82
Industry Services
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Gianluigi Aponte's net worth of $16.2B 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:

Aponte's fortune is derived from closely held Mediterranean Shipping, which operates a fleet of about 700 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 October 2022, excluding charters, according to London-based, an online ship valuation database. A discount of 60% 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% 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% stake in the business, which is valued using the sale price.

The cruise ship unit is valued using financial results and the average enterprise value-to- sales multiple of three publicly traded peers: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Carnival Corp.

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


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.

  • 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.