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Russia has a new richest man after steel tycoon beats rival

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Vladimir Lisin, who started as an electrical fitter in Siberia in the 1970s, is now Russia's wealthiest person.

[MOSCOW] Vladimir Lisin, who started as an electrical fitter in Siberia in the 1970s, is now Russia's wealthiest person.

The metals magnate slipped past rival Alexey Mordashov Monday as shares of Lisin's Novolipetsk Steel PJSC climbed 3.5 per cent, pushing his fortune to US$20.19 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 richest people.

Lisin, 62, also controls Russia's largest freight rail operator and interests in shipping, shipbuilding and tourist cruise services. He's the majority shareholder of Novolipetsk Steel, which has returned 18 per cent this year, including reinvested dividends, helping him add US$2.17 billion to his net worth. Mordashov, the chairman of rival steelmaker Severstal PJSC, has seen his fortune increase 2.6 per cent to US$20.18 billion.

Lisin graduated from the Siberian Metallurgical Institute in 1979 and worked various jobs in iron and steel plants. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he moved to Moscow in 1992 and started exporting metals. Within about five years, using trading profits, he acquired a controlling stake of NLMK through the secondary market and became its chairman. The company was Russia's largest steelmaker by output in 2017, according to the World Steel Association.

Mordashov, 52, had been Russia's wealthiest person for 267 days, succeeding Vladimir Potanin.

Alisher Usmanov, now Russia's seventh-richest man, led the list for about two years.

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