Amag heiress Eva Maria Bucher-Haefner (66) has a lot of concrete gold in her portfolio. Pictured with brother Martin Haefner (68). (archive image)
Dorothea VollenweiderEditor Economics
Share prices are likely to have made many billionaires sweat this year. Those who invested in real estate hardly felt the effects of the crisis.
This year, for example, a number of billionaires residing in Switzerland who do real estate have benefited. In its annual special edition on the 300 richest people in Switzerland, the business magazine “Bilanz” has brought together the wealthiest property owners in the country.
The richest heirs
According to the balance sheet, the richest real estate owners in Switzerland have a total of 33.2 billion francs on the high edge. The wealthiest of these was August von Finck (1930-2021). The heir to the German private bank Merck Finck had his residence in the Swiss castle Weinfelden TG.
It is not known how his fortune was divided between his wife Francine and their four children. But the family should be worth 7 to 8 billion francs today. August von Fink had increased his fortune primarily with real estate in top locations and various company investments.
Climbers and self-made millionaires
Real estate climber of the year is Beat Frischknecht (61). His fortune is estimated by the “balance sheet” today at 250 to 300 million francs. Frischknecht started modestly. The banker started his career with a commercial apprenticeship. He later became an independent asset manager. The self-made millionaire built up his real estate portfolio on the side. This includes commercial premises and several hundred rental apartments in Thurgau and in the city of Zurich. Two years ago, according to the balance sheet, Frischknecht took his real estate company BFW Liegenschaft off the stock exchange.
Guido Fluri (56) also started with nothing. He completed his apprenticeship as a gas station attendant, where he put his tips aside. With 5,000 francs in savings and a bank loan, he is said to have bought a piece of land at the age of 20, built a house and sold it at a profit. It was the beginning of his career as a real estate mogul. In the 1990s he built up a large real estate portfolio, part of which he sold to Swiss Life in 2020. Today, Fluri’s fortune is worth 350 to 400 million francs. He lives with his wife Tânia in Zug.
Women with large real estate portfolios
Some women have also made it into the list of the richest property owners in Switzerland. For example, Amag heiress Eva Maria Bucher-Haefner (66). She has a lot of concrete gold in her portfolio. Bucher-Haefner has launched large residential projects since selling her half in the family business. These include the Sagenmatt residential development in Ebikon LU and a settlement of micro-houses in Zurich. According to the balance sheet, Bucher-Haefner has assets of 4 to 4.5 billion francs.
Margherita Agnelli de Pahlen (67) is also one of the real estate billionaires. In 2003 she relinquished her stake in the car manufacturer Fiat and in return received an extensive fortune, consisting mainly of prestigious real estate and paintings by great masters. She lives on Lake Geneva with her second husband Serge de Pahlen (67) and is said to have assets of 2 to 2.5 billion francs.
Billionaires in the mountains
The heirs of the shipowner Stavros Niarchos (1909-1996) are now in their third generation living in St. Moritz GR. The family has long left the shipping business behind. The two sons Philip (69) and Spyros (67) are among the largest land and property owners in the Engadin – and were made honorary citizens in 2018. In addition to luxury hostels, they own ski areas and, according to “Bilanz”, employ over 1,000 people there. The Stavros clan is said to be worth between 3 and 3.5 billion francs.
Christian Constantin (65) was a real estate developer long before he became president of FC Sion. According to the “balance sheet”, the real estate business remains extremely bearable for the Valais. Constantin launched several construction projects last year, including in Crans-Montana and Montreux. Constantin is said to own a fortune of 300 to 350 million francs.