Elon Musk, the world’s richest man has started the new year richer by adding $32.6 billion to his net worth bringing his fortune to $304.2 billion.
According to Forbes, the billionaire – who is also the founder behind the commercial space enterprise SpaceX, remained at the top of the world’s rich list going into the new year.
In second place and $103.6 billion behind Musk is Bernard Arnault, the CEO of French fashion empire LVMH. Amazon founder and former-CEO Jeff Bezos sits in third place, Forbes said.
Tesla’s soaring stock price has again been credited for the South African’s growing wealth.
On Sunday, the electric car producer announced it had delivered more than 936,000 cars in 2021, surpassing projections by analysts, but also announced that the company had recalled 475,000 of its cars built between 2014 and 2021.
Forbes said Tesla shares increased by more than 13 percent by market close, with the company’s market capitalisation again topping the $1 trillion mark, after dropping below that level last month.
As CEO of Tesla, Musk, who was named Time Magazine’s 2021 Person of the Year owns about 15.6 percent of the company’s stock.
He has continued to sell shares, finishing the year having unloaded 3 million shares on the open market in order to cover the tax bills on around 5.7 million stock options that he exercised at the same time.
Musk reportedly sold 15.7 million Tesla shares over the course of 2021 – worth more than $16 billion before tax.
His fortune jumped more than $200 billion over 2020 and 2021. In 2021 alone, he added $116 billion to his net worth.
This, Forbes said, is the biggest one-year gain by any billionaire since the news outlet began tracking the wealth of high net-worth individuals.
Musk is set to earn another windfall later this month when Tesla reports its fourth-quarter earnings. If the company meets certain operational and valuation goals, the world’s richest man is set to become even richer.