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# 452 Pedro Moreira Salles $5.64B

Random fact: Moreira Salles, Setubal and Villela families created Itau Unibanco in 2008


Pedro Moreira Salles and his brothers share a majority stake in CBMM, the miner that controls most of the world's output of niobium. The Araxa, Brazil-based company supplies niobium, used to strengthen steel, to about 50 countries. He's also co-chairman of Itau Unibanco, Latin America's biggest financial institution.

As of :
Last change -$96.0M ( -1.7%)
YTD change +$157M ( +2.9%)
Biggest asset Cash
Country / Region Brazil
Age 63
Industry Finance
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Pedro Moreira Salles's net worth of $5.64B 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
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Moreira Salles holds around a third of the family's 13% stake in Itau Unibanco. The bank was created when Itau, owned by the Villela and Setubal families, acquired Unibanco, which was founded by the brothers' grandfather, Joao. They control the interest through the Cia. E. Johnston holding company, based in Sao Paulo, according to filings with Brazil's securities regulator. Itau Unibanco is the largest financial institution in Latin America, according to its website.

CBMM, the family's niobium-mining business, had net revenues of 11.4 billion Brazilian reais in 2021, according to its earnings report. The valuation is based on CBMM's 2021 financial results and the calculated price-to-sales multiple of Anglo American’s former niobium unit. The unit was sold in 2016 for $1.5 billion and the multiples used here were determined with reference to this sale and Anglo America's 2015 financial results. The Moreira Salles family own 70% of CBMM, and each of the four brothers are credited with an equal share of the family's stake. CBMM is the world's largest niobium miner and sells to about 50 countries, according to its website.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividend income, stake sales, taxes and market performance. The family's liquid investments are managed through Brasil Warrant Gestao de Investimentos, a single family office with more than 54 billion reais ($9.9 billion) under management as of 2021.

The brothers also own stakes in Alpargatas, the maker of Havaianas sandals, through investment firm Cambuhy. They own between them almost half of a 57% stake in the company as part of a joint venture with Brazil's Setubal family. The brothers own 20% of Eneva, a power generation company, also through Cambuhy.

Itau representatives declined to comment on the Moreira Salles net worth.


Family: Unknown, No children

The Moreira Salles family fortune traces back to 1924, when Joao Moreira Salles opened a banking department at a store in Brazil's Minas Gerais state, where he sold food, drinks and household goods. The operation soon became independent, and financed the expansion of coffee plantations. Joao's son Walther took the helm in 1940, when the family took over two rival banks. He gradually built it into what came to be known as Unibanco.

At the same time, Walther became influential in politics. He served two one-year stints as ambassador to the U.S. in the 1950s, and was finance minister for three years in the early 1960s. While serving as ambassador, he met U.S. Navy Admiral Arthur W. Radford. In 1965, Radford, then a boardmember at the mining company Molycorp, convinced Walther to buy a controlling stake in a niobium deposit in Brazil that the company hoped to develop. It would prove a wise bet. The element is used to strengthen 10 percent of all steel produced today. The company, known as CBMM, controls 85 percent of the world's niobium production.

Walther Moreira Salles was also a member of global high society, hosting guests such as Henry Ford II, Nelson Rockefeller, Aristotle Onassis and Mick Jagger at his mansion in Rio de Janeiro. His first wife, Helene Tourtois, the mother of his son Fernando, was the daughter of the creator of Chanel 5 perfume. His second wife, Elisa Goncalves, gave birth to three more sons: Fernando, Pedro and Walther Jr. She died after jumping out of a window in 1988.

Walther stepped down as chairman of Unibanco in the early 1990s, and founded the Instituto Moreira Salles, which funds cultural programs in Brazil. His former mansion in Rio became its headquarters, and is open to the public. When Walther died in 2001, he bequeathed his stake in Unibanco to his four sons. Itau Unibanco was created in 2008, when Itau, owned by the Villela and Setubal families, acquired Unibanco. The deal created Latin America's largest lender by market value.

Today, Pedro and Fernando lead the family's business interests. Pedro, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, is Itau Unibanco's chairman, while Fernando holds that position at CBMM. The other two brothers lead lives in the arts. Walther Jr. is famous for directing the movies The Motorcycle Diaries and On the Road. Joao is a documentary filmmaker, as well as the founder and publisher of the magazine Piaui, which was inspired by The New Yorker.

  • 1924 Businessman Joao Moreira Salles opens a banking department.
  • 1940 Family acquires two rival banks; son Walther takes the helm.
  • 1952 Walther is named Brazil's ambassador to the U.S. for one year.
  • 1961 Banker is appointed the country's finance minister for three years.
  • 1991 Walther steps down as chairman, maintaining honorary chair.
  • 2001 Walther Moreira Salles dies, leaving Unibanco to his four sons.
  • 2008 Itau buys Unibanco, creating Latin America's largest bank.
  • 2011 Heirs sell 30 percent stake in CBMM for $3.9 billion.