Bill Gates Fattens Wealth Gap Over Slim as Family Office Cascade’s Investments in Ecolab Surges

Bill Gates Fattens Wealth Gap Over Slim as Cascade Surges

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates extended his lead yesterday over Mexico’s Carlos Slim as the world’s richest person to $5.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Almost all of Gates’s investments, including a 4.8 percent stake in Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, have soared this year while Slim’s main holding, a 44 percent stake in America Movil SAB, the largest mobile-phone operator in the Americas, has fallen 14 percent.

One of the biggest gainers in Gates’s portfolio, which he controls through his Kirkland, Washington-based investment vehicle Cascade Investment LLC, is Ecolab Inc. (ECL) The St. Paul, Minnesota-based provider of sanitation and health services is up 22 percent this year, a performance that has added $423 million to the billionaire’s fortune.

“Ninety percent of what they produce gets flushed down the drain and you have to rebuy it,” Shlomo Rosenbaum, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co.’s Baltimore office, said in a telephone interview. “They have repositioned their portfolio of assets to be much more exposed to the energy market. That’s something that I think will help their top-line growth for years to come.”Gates, 57, has a net worth of $72.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg ranking. Slim, 73, controls a $67.8 billion fortune, down $7.4 billion so far this year amid America Movil’s fall.

Other gainers in Gates’s portfolio include Phoenix-based waste disposal company Republic Services Inc. (RSG), which is up 18 percent year-to-date, and Montreal-based Canadian National Railway, which has risen 17 percent. Together, the two holdings have increased Gates’s net worth by more than $1 billion.

Cascade, Microsoft

Funded by years of Microsoft dividends and share sales, Cascade controls stakes in more than two dozen publicly traded and closely held companies. Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Gates, said he declined to comment.

Microsoft, which hit a five-year high last week, is up more than 31 percent for the year, adding $3.3 billion to Gates’s fortune.

Cascade, which the billionaire solely owns, also controls 4,350 Class A shares of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) Warren Buffett, the company’s chairman, is the world’s third-richest person. He has a $60 billion net worth.

Gates and Buffett started the Giving Pledge campaign in 2010 to encourage philanthropy among the rich. The initiative has 114 signatories who have committed to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity, according to its website.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jack Witzig in Princeton at; Pamela Roux in New York at

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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