Warren Buffett is once again the world's third-richest person.
The 82-year-old American investor regained the title after first ceding it to Spanish retail tycoon Amancio Ortega in August. Buoyed by a 49 per cent jump in fourth-quarter profit, shares of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc have rallied 14 per cent this year. That brings Buffett's net worth to $54.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He's up $6.7 billion year-to-date.
Ortega, the 76-year-old founder of the Zara clothing chain, has seen his wealth decline amid fresh concern that Spain's recession will hurt sales for his Inditex SA holding company. From a record high on January 2, the shares have slumped 7.5 per cent. He's now worth $54.3 billion, down $3.2 billion year- to-date. Ortega slipped below Buffett before trading began in New York yesterday.
Buffett built Berkshire Hathaway over almost five decades through takeovers and stock picks.
Earlier this month, the company reported net income of $4.55 billion in the fourth quarter, up from $3.05 billion in the same period in 2011. Much of the gains stemmed from derivatives bets.
Buffett remains $12.7 billion behind Bill Gates, who earlier this week narrowed the gap between himself and Carlos Slim to less than