Spain’s Richest Man is Moving Into Healthcare


The global rich list is splattered with household names who have built their reputation not only through business acumen but through eye-catching purchases such as Steve Balmer’s record buyout of the LA Clippers basketball team for a whopping USD two billion in 2016 or Roman Abramovich´s spectacular 162.5 metres yacht that patrols the Mediterranean.


Nevertheless, many of the world’s mega-rich throughout history are increasingly active philanthropists and have begun to donate to noteworthy causes. In 2015, Business Insider reported that the top 20 donators globally gave USD 106 billion to charity, with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet alone having jointly dedicated some USD 48 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an attempt to solve global issues, such as improving healthcare and fighting poverty.


Spain itself has its own uber wealthy billionaire, though he has chosen to continue living close to his humble upbringing in the Gallegan town of A Coruña. In fact, Amancio Ortega Gaona, 82, owner of Spanish clothing empire, Inditex, which includes mega brand Zara, overtook Bill Gates briefly in 2017 as the world’s richest person (he now sits at number five, with an eye-watering USD 63.9 billion net worth).


In recent years Ortega has followed the lead of Gates and Buffet and begun to engage in philanthropy. In 2017 his charitable foundation donated USD 344 million to purchase and supply the latest 290 of the latest machines in breast cancer screening technology for public hospitals across Spain, according to El Pais, a newspaper. This is the largest outlay by the foundation to date and adds to the relatively smaller donation of USD 18 million towards screening and radiotherapy equipment for public healthcare in Galicia and Asturias in 2015.


La Fundacíon Amancio Ortega was set up in 2001 and has recently embarked on somewhat of a spending spree, with data indicating that in 2017 USD 37.2 million was spent, bringing the total between 2013 and 2017 to USD 147.6 million and with future commitments of USD 360.5 million for 2018-2022.


The Ortega family’s foray into healthcare has also been taken up by Amancio’s daughter, Sandra, but on the investment side of things. The investment fund she heads, Rosp Coruña, has recently made a move to increase its share in Spanish biotech success story PharmaMar from five to ten percent. This move has given added support to the company, who despite initial promising results for first-in-line cancer treatments, have encountered clinical complications in recent times.

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