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# 226 John Fredriksen $9.25B

Random fact: Enjoys salmon fishing in the northern Norwegian wilderness.


Cyprus's richest citizen commands a fleet of ships and oil tankers through stakes in publicly traded shipping companies, including Frontline and SFL Corp. Other holdings include Mowi, the world's biggest producer of Atlantic salmon, and Norwegian Property, an owner of commercial real estate in his birth country.

As of :
Last change +$44.4M ( +0.5%)
YTD change +$407M ( +4.6%)
Biggest asset Cash
Country / Region Cyprus
Age 78
Industry Industrial
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

John Fredriksen's net worth of $9.25B 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:

Fredriksen's fortune includes stakes in more than a dozen publicly traded companies operating in the shipping, oil services, logistics and food manufacturing industries. He owns his stakes through Cyprus-based holding companies Hemen Holding and Geveran Trading Co. as well as Liberia-based World Shipholding and Farahead Investment.

His most valuable public stake is Mowi, the world's biggest producer of Atlantic salmon, according to its website.

The value of his cash investments is based on dividends, as well as insider transactions, taxes and market performance and assets like the Old Rectory, a 17th-century home with a two-acre garden located in London's Chelsea neighborhood.


Family: Widowed, 2 children

John Fredriksen was born in a working class suburb of Oslo in 1944. The son of a welder, he got his start as a courier for a local shipping broker. He opted out of night school, preferring to read the company's telex every day. In the 1960s he worked at shipping companies in New York, Singapore, Athens and Beirut and after losing almost $1 million on his first freighter purchase, he discovered a new opportunity: wartime instability.

He acquired long-term tanker charter contracts in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War and made $40 million when prices rebounded five years later. Facing Iraqi missile attacks and challenges from war ships during the Iran-Iraq War, he shipped oil from Iran to Syria, in the 1980s. Fredriksen would spend four months in a Norwegian jail while under investigation for alleged insurance fraud in 1986. He denied the charges and later settled out of court.

Fredriksen continued to add to his fleet of tankers throughout the 1990s by gaining control over rival ship operators. He reportedly said he considered quitting the tanker business in 1996, after his ship, Sea Empress, spilled 50,000 tons of oil off the coast of Wales. Instead, he increased his investment, buying double-hulled vessels that are more resistant to spills, and taking over Swedish shipping company Frontline.

Foreseeing an oil boom in 2005, Fredriksen established Seadrill, a deep water rigs operator. A $200 million operation at the start, his 25 percent stake in the company has become his most valuable asset worth more than $4 billion in February 2013. Using cash from dividends -- and the favorable tax treatment he gets on them since becoming a citizen of Cyprus in 2006 -- Fredriksen diversified. He bought more than 20 percent of Marine Harvest, the world's largest producer of farmed salmon, and, in 2006, acquired Norwegian drilling competitor Smedvig for $2.7 billion, his largest acquisition to date.

Throughout 2007 and 2008, Fredriksen bought shares in TUI, Europe's biggest tourism operator and now holds more than 15 percent of the company. At the time of his purchase he faced off with another TUI shareholder, Russian billionaire Alexey Mordashov, over the company management's decision to sell a container shipping unit. Fredriksen's private oil trading company Arcadia Petroleum, was accused by U.S. commodities regulators of allegedly manipulating U.S. oil markets in 2011. Fredriksen refuted the allegations as ``rubbish.'' That year he also restructured Frontline after plummeting oil prices led to a $530 million loss.

Amid the worst shipping market since the 1970s, Fredriksen invested $7 billion in Seadrill for 18 rigs to pump oil from beneath the ocean floor and $4 billion in about four dozen new vessels to transport liquefied natural gas, gasoline, propane and other fuels, according to an interview with Bloomberg Markets in October 2012. Battered by a collapse in oil prices, the company entered bankruptcy protection in September 2017.

  • 1944 John Fredriksen is born in Oslo, Norway.
  • 1997 Through Frontline, buys London & Overseas Freighters.
  • 2005 Sets up Seadrill, an offshore oil-drilling company.
  • 2006 Seadrill acquires driller Smedvig for $2.7 billion.
  • 2006 Gets Cypriot citizenship, unwilling to pay Norway's high taxes.
  • 2012 Splits Frontline in two companies, sets up Frontline 2012.
  • 2015 Oil trading-firm Arcadia sues former CEO and CFO over alleged fraud.
  • 2017 Battered by a collapse in oil prices, Seadrill enters bankruptcy protection.