A Swiss billionaire businesswoman has given birth to twin girls at the age of 53, her spokeswoman has said.
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, ranked the 171st richest person in the world and the 21st most powerful woman in Europe, the Middle East and Asia by Forbes and Fortune magazines, is the majority owner and chairwoman of the £120bn international trading house Louis Dreyfus Commodities. More after the cut…
She also owns the French first-division football club Olympique de Marseille. “Mother and babies are doing well,” the press office of the 165-year-old family firm announced, confirming weekend rumours in the Swiss press. The company said in December that Louis-Dreyfus intended to take “a brief pause” after the births but would return to work full-time at the end of April.
The Russian-born businesswoman, who will be 54 in June, has three sons, including 18-year-old twins, from her marriage to her late husband, Robert Louis-Dreyfus, from whom she inherited the French commodities house after his death from leukaemia in 2009.
The babies’ father was reported by Swiss media to be Philipp Hildebrand, a former governor of the Swiss central bank until he resigned his post in 2012 following an insider currency trading scandal involving his ex-wife, Kashya, a former trader.
Hildebrand has since become vice president of the US financial services giant BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, with more than $4,500bn under management. Louis Dreyfus Commodities, which has offices or subsidiaries in more than 90 countries, trades in everything from grains, oils, coffee, cotton, fruit juices, sugar and dairy products to metals, marine transport and fertilisers.
Held by a trust based in Amsterdam, the company is widely thought to be the largest cotton and rice trader and second-largest sugar trader in the world. Along with Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill, it makes up the so-called “ABCD” quartet of companies that control most of the world’s agricultural commodities trading.
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, who sold circuit-board components for a living until she met her late husband, has shaken up the venerable company since assuming control, reshuffling top management and raising her majority stake to around 81% – making her worth $7.1bn, according to Forbes.
Robert Louis-Dreyfus was a cousin of the former Louis Dreyfus chief executive, Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, the father of US actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who is best known for her work in the TV series Seinfeld and Veep.