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# 423 Maria Helena Moraes $4.96B

Random fact: Group founds Citrovita to produce orange-juice concentrate in 1989.


The Moraes family controls the Votorantim Group, a closely held industrial conglomerate with revenue of $8 billion in 2018. The Sao Paulo-based company produces cement, metals, energy, steel and orange juice. The group shares control of publicly traded Suzano, the world's largest producer of eucalyptus pulp.

As of :
Last change -$45.4M ( -0.9%)
YTD change -$645M ( -11.5%)
Industry Industrial
Biggest asset Cash
Citizenship Brazil
Age 89
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Maria Helena Moraes's net worth of $4.96B 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 Maria Helena's fortune is derived from her 25% stake in the Votorantim conglomerate through Sao Paulo-based holding company Hejoassu, according to filings with Brazil's securities regulator. Her brother Ermirio Pereira also holds a 25% stake in the conglomerate, and her nephews and niece Jose Ermirio de Moraes Neto, Jose Roberto Ermirio and Neide Helena have stakes of 8.33% each. Votorantim publishes full financial statements for its various closely held divisions.

The largest is its cement operation, which reported about 12.6 billion reais ($3.2 billion) in revenue in 2018, followed by metals, with $1.4 billion in the same period. Banco Votorantim, a lender 50% owned by the government's Banco do Brasil, reported equity of $2.3 billion at the end of 2018. Smaller ventures include stakes in orange juice producer Citrosuco and electricity company Enercan.

The group's largest publicly traded interest is its 64% stake in Nexa Resources, the mining unit that listed in New York in October 2017. The group has a stake in Suzano, the world's largest producer of eucalyptus pulp, according to the company's website, as well as in Nexa Resources's Peruvian unit. Votorantim's closely held units are valued by comparing the numbers with the multiples of publicly traded peers. 

The value of her cash and other investable assets is based on an analysis of dividends and market performance.

Bloomberg's valuation "can serve as a reference, but the calculations are conservative," Votorantim said in an emailed statement. The company didn't respond to subsequent requests for comment on the billionaire's net worth calculation.


Birthdate: 9/20/1930
Family: Widowed, 4 children

The roots of the Votorantim industrial conglomerate trace back to 1918, when the Portuguese immigrant Antonio Pereira Ignacio bought a textile factory in a city of the same name in Sao Paulo state. Jose Ermirio de Moraes, who would come to lead the group, joined the company in 1924 when he married Pereira Ignacio's daughter Helena. Votorantim branched out into cement in 1936, now its largest operation. The group started a steelmaker not long after, entering the aluminum business by the 1950s.

Upon Moraes's death in 1971, he passed control to his oldest son, Antonio Ermirio. The group continued to diversify under his watch, creating nickel, pulp and orange juice units in the 1980s. In 1986, he made an unsuccessful run for governor of Sao Paulo state; the experience inspired his first play, "Brazil SA." He opened a bank in 1991, expanding even amid hyperinflation that often exceeded 1,000 percent a year. His sister, Maria Helena, and brothers, Ermirio Pereira and the late Jose Ermirio Jr., took a back-seat role in the family business. Antonio, the family patriarch, died in August 2014.

Votorantim came under the formal leadership of the third generation in 2001, when Antonio's son Carlos Ermirio was named chairman of the holding company. That year, the company struck out abroad with the acquisition of St. Marys Cement in Canada. Carlos Ermirio also oversaw the 2009 acquisition of Aracruz, which merged with Votorantim's pulp operations to create Fibria, the world's largest pulp producer. When Carlos died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 55, Jose Roberto Ermirio -- another grandson of Votorantim's founder, and son of the late Jose Ermirio Jr. -- assumed the chairmanship of the conglomerate.

Today, Votorantim is Brazil's largest cement maker, employing 38,700 workers across the Americas. Many management positions belong to members of the third and fourth generations of the Moraes family, which remains largely based in Sao Paulo where the company is headquartered.

  • 1918 Antonio Pereira Ignacio buys textile factory in Votorantim.
  • 1936 Votorantim builds first cement plant; starts chemical business.
  • 1938 The group starts a steelmaker in Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1955 Votorantim's flagship aluminum unit, CBA, is created.
  • 1973 Jose Ermirio dies, passing control to his son Antonio Ermirio.
  • 1991 The Banco Votorantim lender is founded.
  • 1997 Votorantim's pulp unit sells shares in New York.
  • 2009 Merger with Aracruz creates Fibria, world's largest pulp maker.
  • 2010 Votorantim buys a stake in Portuguese cement company Cimpor.
  • 2012 Votorantim sells Cimpor stake to Brazil's Camargo Correa group.