Business, Economics and Jobs

Eike Batista: Brazil's richest man loses half of fortune


Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista says he'll soon be the world's richest man.

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Eike Batista has lost half his fortune and his rank as Brazil's richest man.

Forbes put Batista at No. 7 on its list of World's Billionaires back in March, with an estimated net worth of $30 billion, but said he has now lost $15.5 billion of that fortune, leaving him with a mere $14.5 billion as of Thursday morning.

Batista — whose aim was to dethrone Mexico's Carlos Slim as the world's richest man — lost much of his money when his oil and gas company, OGX, had a stumble in the markets, reported the Financial Times. OGX's stock dropped 25 percent on Wednesday, and then another 19 percent on Thursday after cutting production targets at its first two oil wells by as much as 75 percent, causing investors to flee his other mining and logistics companies as well.

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According to Reuters, this puts OGX at its lowest since March 2009, despite Batista's efforts to downplay the impact of the revised forecasts on Tubarão Azul, its only productive well so far.

"We believe the low level of production regarding the expectations on OGX puts into question all the assumptions behind the company's growth program," said a report released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, reported Forbes, which downgraded OGX's stock from 'neutral' to 'underperform.' "We see this as a great disappointment that will probably have a longer effect on the assessments made about OGX."

Forbes also reported that JP Morgan said OGX's stock could lose up to 70 percent of its value.