The New York TimesBrazil, Fortune and Fate Turn on Billionaire
When the Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista appeared on the Charlie Rose show in 2010, he and his country were on a roll.
Brazil’s economy, driven by a worldwide commodity boom, grew a blistering 7.5 percent that year. And Mr. Batista’s prodigious holdings — spanning oil, mining, shipping and real estate — were soaring in value. In the interview, Mr. Batista was asked how rich he would become over the next decade.
“A hundred billion dollars,” he said, an amount that would most likely have made him the wealthiest person in the world.
Today, with the Brazilian stock market and the value of its currency falling as mass demonstrations hobble the country, Mr. Batista’s billions are evaporating. From a peak of $34.5 billion in March 2012, his wealth has dropped to an estimated $4.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His lenders are growing anxious, and there are concerns that he might have to reorganize — and possibly lose control of — his dwindling empire.