Postcard from... Brazil


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The Independent Online


Eike Batista once boasted he would become the richest person on the planet. But now Brazil’s most flamboyant billionaire, formerly listed as the eighth wealthiest individual in the world with more than $30 billion in his personal coffers, has seen 99 percent of his fortune drain away. In one of the most spectacular corporate defaults in global history, Batista’s  flagship oil and gas company, OGX, has sought protection from bankruptcy with debts of 11.2 bn reais (£3.2 bn).   Analysts believe Batiste’s vast ambition may have been his undoing. He built an empire that included logistics, shipping, and  natural resources.

Sergio Lazzarini, a professor at the Institute of Education and Research in Sao Paulo, said OGX had been unable to generate sufficient sales.

A year ago, in an interview with Istoé Money Magazine, Batista, with an air of calm confidence, said: “All of my companies have got high profit margins and are healthy projects. The most important thing to do in a time of crisis is to have the financial discipline.” But now, after Batista slid off the world’s list of billionaires, he has been left with little to show for his self-professed financial discipline, or lack thereof.