53-year-old Swiss billionaire Margarita Louis-Dreyfus pregnant with twins

4th January 2016, Comments 0 comments

Swiss multi-billionaire businesswoman Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the 53-year-old chair of French conglomerate Louis Dreyfus Commodities and owner of the Olympique de Marseille football team, is pregnant with twins, the company said Monday.

"Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, Non-Executive Chairperson of the Louis Dreyfus Commodities Group Supervisory Board, is pregnant with twin girls, due in early April 2016," the company said in a statement.

"She intends to continue to exercise her duties as chairperson until the birth, take a brief break and return to work full time in late April," it added.

The company thus confirmed news that had been circulating in Swiss media, which have long been infatuated with the tall and glamourous blond.

The tabloids have in recent years pictured her at the side of her partner Philipp Hildebrand, a 52-year-old ruggedly handsome Swiss banker.

He served as head of Switzerland's central bank for a few year, but was forced out in early 2012 amid controversy over currency trades made by his ex-wife.

He landed on his feet however, becoming the vice-president of BlackRock, the world's largest investment manager, with some $4.5 trillion ($4.2 trillion) under its management.

- 'The Tsarina' -

Louis-Dreyfus meanwhile has been dubbed "the Tsarina" by Swiss media due to her Russian origins, and could easily be the heroine in an Emile Zola novel.

Born in the Soviet Union in 1962 with the last name Bogdanova, she lost both of her parents at the age of seven and was raised by her grandfather.

She arrived in Switzerland in the 1980s and acquired Swiss citizenship through a first marriage, which quickly broke down.

She remained in Switzerland after her divorce and in 1988 met her second husband, the famous French businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who was 16 years her senior.

The couple married in 1992 and had three sons, including a pair of twins.

He was from a wealthy family and expanded his wealth through smart investments in telecommunications and sport, serving as chief executive of Adidas, among other companies, before taking over the family business.

The conglomerate is, among other things, involved in metal, oil, energy and commodities, as well as international shipping, telecommunications and real estate development.

It is especially big in agricultural commodities trading, accounting for nine percent of all trades in the sector globally.

But then tragedy hit again: Robert Louis-Dreyfus became seriously ill in 2006, and died of leukaemia three years later.

Before his death, Louis-Dreyfus had asked his confidant Jacques Veyrat to take the helm of the family business.

But his widow, who took over as chairwoman, opposed the group's strategy and entered a two-year tug-of-war with Veyrat, who ended up leaving.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus remains the non-executive chairman of the company, and also owns the famous Olympique de Marseille football team her husband bought in 1997.

Forbes estimated her fortune in 2015 to be around $7.1 billion.

The Sonntagsblick weekly reported at the weekend that only 40 women over the age of 50 gave birth in Switzerland last year, including nine who were 53, Louis-Dreyfus's age.

mnb-nl/jm


© 2016 AFP

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