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Supermarket trio tops Norway billionaires list

Three supermarket moguls topped the list of Norway's richest people compiled by Forbes Magazine in 2014, after hotelier and real estate mogul Olav Thon put his fortune into trust and lost his billionaire status.

Supermarket trio tops Norway billionaires list
Stein Erik Hagen. Photo: Orkla Group/Guri Dahl
Svein Erik Hagen was Norway's richest man, according to Forbes, having built up a $5bn fortune after making a series of successful investments since selling Rimi, the discount retailer he founded with his father, in 2004. He ranked 281st in the list of the world's richest men. 
 
Second and third in the list were supermarket moguls Odd Reitan, who owns the REMA 1000 supermarket chain, and Johan Johannson, who owns NorgesGruppen, another supermarket chain and who did not feature in last year's list, worth $3.8bn and $2.7bn respectively. 
 

A record nine Norwegian citizens qualified as billionaires in 2014, according to the magazine, with Johannson, shipping billionaire Jacob Stolt-Nielsen and hedge fund investor Alexander Vik all joining the list since 2013. 
 
Oil tanker baron John Fredriksen remains far and away the richest man of Norwegian origin, with a $13.6bn fortune. But he long ago became a citizen of Cyprus for tax reasons. 
 
Aker drilling owner Kjell Inge Rokke came in fourth with $2.5bn, followed by hedge fund mogul Andreas Halvorsen with $2.2bn, Royal Caribbean Cruises owner Arne Wilhemsen with $2bn, and Nordic Choice Hotels founder Petter Stordalen with $1.4bn. 
 
Shipping magnate Jacob Stolt-Nielsen came next with $1.15bn, followed by another hedge fund billionaire, Alexander Vik with $1bn. 
 
H&M owner Stefan Persson was the highest ranking Swede, with a  $34.4bn fortune which put him at number 12 worldwide. 
 
American IT mogul Bill Gates topped the list yet again with an estimated $76 billion to his name, a spot on the list he has enjoyed for 15 of the last 20 years. 
 
To see the full list click here

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GAY

Top Norway billionaire comes out as gay

Norway’s second richest billionaire, supermarket tycoon Stein Erik Hagen, has come out as gay, outing himself in front of more than two million viewers on Norway’s leading chat show.

Top Norway billionaire comes out as gay
Stein Erik Hagen (right) with openly gay businessman Christen Sveaas. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB scanpix
Hagen, 59, who built his $4.3bn fortune on the RIMI budget supermarket he founded with his father in 1977, told NRK’s Skavlan show that he had slowly come to understand his sexuality in adulthood.
 
“I realised I was gay well into adulthood. When I was in my 20s we didn’t know what it was. We heard about it but did not associate ourselves with it.” 
 
The revelation sends Hagen straight to the number two slot in the list of the world’s gay plutocrats, just behind the entertainment mogul David Geffen on $6.9bn, but ahead of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, with $2.8bn. 
 
Hagen, who separated from his second wife Mille-Marie Treschow in 2012 after an eight-year marriage, and has five children, said after the interview was aired that both his wives and most of his friends had long known about his sexuality.  
 
“To say that I’m gay is not entirely correct,” he told VG newspaper. “I’m bisexual, and to everyone in the family, all my friends and those who know me, that’s something which comes as no surprise. The same goes for those I have been married to, including Mille-Marie Treschow. She knew. And it wasn’t the reason we split up.”
 
Christian Sveaas, 59, who Hagen has ousted as Norway's richest openly gay man, lauded his friend's decision. 
 
“Those of us who know him have known this a long time, so it's not such great news for us,” he said in an email to DN newspaper.  “I can say that it's about time”. 

Bård Nylund, leader of Norway’s National Association for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, said he hoped Hagen’s example would encourage other older gay men to be open about their sexuality.

 
“To live a life of openness is much better than living a life in hiding,” he said. 
 
“I think he can be an inspiration for more and I hope that people realise that just because you wait to come out, does not mean that it’s a bad idea to come out. Come out when you’re ready. It doesn’t matter if you are 35 or 65, because choosing openness is much better than letting it be.”
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