Here’s a scary notion: Eike Batista, Brazil’s (former) richest man, lost 97% of his fortune in 18 months. According to Forbes, Eike, onetime the world’s 7th richest, is no longer a billionaire. At one point, Eike was interviewed on 60 Minutes and even said he was going to be the richest man in the world.
How quickly things change. Eike not only managed to lose billions of dollars in less than two years, but he is now struggling to stay afloat.
And what do people short of money do? They sell. In Eike’s case, his version of a garage sale includes some pretty expensive (and personal) stuff: Hotels, boats, jets and even his son’s luxury apartment! Not to mention breaking his companies in pieces and selling them to the highest bidder. Or whoever will pay the expenses.
Here’s what Eike has sold (and is trying to sell) to try to “make ends meet:”
Hotel Gloria open in 1922 and was Brazil’s first 5-star hotel. It was bought by Eike Batista for about USD$50 million in 2008 and there were plans to spent almost double that in renovation work (which Eike borrowed money from the government to start the work). There were also plans to have the place open by 2011, then by 2012 or just before the world cup in 2014. But then again, Eike was also saying that the place would be “a 6.3 star hotel, the envy of the world.” Perhaps that should have been the first sign…
Pink Fleet Yacht
There was a time when Eike probably thought he would join the likes of Roman Abramovich and Paul Allen, owners of some of the biggest yachts in the world. But Eike’s Pink Fleet boat actually served a different need. The idea was to have a high-end boat for corporate events, taking big shot executives to see Rio’s famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches from a sea view. Eike was paying about USD$150,000 a month to maintain the money-losing boat and recently had to sell it for scrap metal. Yikes! (or should I say, EIKES!)
Eike tried to sell one of his three private jets in a very low-key kind of way, putting it online in a site outside Brazil. Problem is, when it appeared on the site Controller.com, tons of people were more curious about the seller than the aircraft. His 2008 Embraer Legacy 600, went on sale in May. Similar planes fetch about USD$7-10 million.
His Son’s Luxury Apartment
Some people trace the lowest point of Eike’s luck hitting rock bottom to when his son Thor killed a cyclist with his car. Thor’s luxury apartment at condominium Riserva Uno, in Barra da Tijuca, west zone of Rio de Janeiro went on sale some time after he was convicted for the accident. Eike used to be quite vocal on twitter, always boasting of his riches and shortly after Thor’s accident, Eike went on to defend his son via the social media channel. But gradually, as Eike’s financial troubles mounted, he became quieter and quieter…
Eike has been quick to sell off his companies. But what must really stink is what some of these companies held and represented. Case in point, Açu Superport. Açu was being built by LLX, one of Eike’s company that he recently sold to US-based EIG. According to LLX’s site, Açu was supposed to have “two terminals, one offshore and one onshore, a 17-km pier, initial depth of 21 meters (to be expanded to 26 meters) and the capacity for up to 47 vessels, including large size vessels such as Capesize, Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and Chinamax.” It was supposed to handle 350 million tons exports and imports, especially oil. Problem is, Eike never finished building it and the oil never started flowing…
His (Former) Wife
No, Eike is not selling his (former) wife, Luma de Oliveria. But many Brazilian are now joking that if broke Eike still had autographed Playboy issues with his ex-wife on the cover, he would be selling those too! As Forbes magazine pointed out recently, “Batista is in a desperate mode to speed up the dismantling of his EBX Group in order to pay creditors.” He sold his energy company, MPX, to Germany’s E.ON. He is trying to unload his mining company, MMX and his gold mining company AUX is also on the chopping block.