The Russian tycoon who made $1.4 billion with an early bet on Facebook Inc. and still owns a stake in Uber Technologies Inc. is returning to the sooty old commodities industry that first made his fortune.
Alisher Usmanov, 63, said he’s been investing in natural-resource producers as they rallied last year following three years of declining prices. The Bloomberg World Mining Index of shares jumped 38 percent in 2016 as concerns eased over China’s economy and prices for metals rose, with companies such as Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc surging.
“Last year showed that commodities companies such as BHP Billiton, Fortescue and traditional companies of the oil and gas sector are also able to offer high returns on investment,” Usmanov said in an interview in his Moscow office, without disclosing which companies he’s bought stakes in.
The billionaire, who first made his fortune in iron ore and steel with his Metalloinvest Holding Co., is now the nation’s fifth-richest man with a net worth of $14 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Part of that’s down to a switch toward technology companies in the past decade, including a stake in Facebook that saw the value of his investment surge more than 10-fold and shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. that delivered substantial returns when it went public in 2014.
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