MOSCOW Leonid Mikhelson, co-owner of Russian gas producer Novatek, has topped Russia's rich list for a second year running with an estimated wealth of $18.4 billion, the Russian edition of Forbes reported on Thursday.
It said that Mikhelson, 61, had increased his wealth by $4 billion year-on-year, putting him at the head of the financial magazine's 2017 list of Russia's 200 wealthiest businessmen.
Apart from a stake in Novatek, Russia's second largest gas producer after Gazprom, Mikhelson also owns a stake in Sibur, a petrochemical firm.
"The cost of a ticket" for a place on the Russian rich list reached a record $500 million this year, compared with $350 million a year ago, Forbes said.
The collective wealth of the 200 richest Russian businessmen increased to $460 billion, up $100 billion in a year. The number of dollar billionaires also jumped -- to 96 from 77.
The increase was caused by the strengthening of the rouble against the dollar and by favourable conditions in the global commodity markets, above all by growth in steel prices.
As a result, the second and third spots in the ranking were occupied by steel tycoons.
Alexei Mordashov, 51, who controls Russian steel producer Severstal, was ranked second with an estimated wealth of $17.5 billion. He was followed by Vladimir Lisin, 60, the controlling shareholder of NLMK, another steel maker, who was credited with an estimated wealth of $16.1 billion.
Their estimated wealth rose by $6.6 billion and $6.8 billion year-on-year respectively, Forbes said.
Mikhail Fridman, co-owner of Alfa-Bank, fell to seventh spot from second place last year, Forbes said.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Andrew Osborn and David Evans)