Eduardo Garcia, a respected financial journalist who operates Sentido
Comun, said that Slim moved into the number one spot with a fortune of $67.8 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2007.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp. founder Gates has an estimated wealth of some $59 billion, Garcia said.
US-based Forbes magazine, renowned for its rankings of the world's wealthiest individuals, updated its listings in April to rank Slim as the second richest individual in the world, moving ahead of the US investor Warren Buffett.
|Bill Gates has an estimated fortune of $59bn, |
the Mexican financial website said [AFP]
Aside from America Movil, Slim controls the Inbursa financial group and the Grupo Carso industrial firm with interests including retail stores, coffee shops and restaurants.
Gates stepped aside as Microsoft chief in 2000 to devote his energies to the philanthropic foundation he runs with his wife, Melinda
Garcia, however, acknowledged that his second-quarter calculations do not include possible gains in Gates' holdings outside of Microsoft, which according to Forbes represent more than half of the software mogul's fortune.
In the blood
He also noted that he does not take into account Slim's holdings outside of his numerous companies.
"I say that Slim is No 1 because I have the latest figures of Forbes," Garcia said. "When Forbes revises their numbers, OK, then we'll have to wait and see."
Slim, the son of Lebanese immigrants, has had business in his blood from his early days when he helped out in his father's shop, "The Star of the Orient."
He was already affluent enough when he graduated from university with an engineering degree to buy stakes in a stock brokerage and a bottling firm.
During the Latin American economic crisis of the early 1980s, Slim snapped up and reformed a number of struggling businesses, creating massive profits for Grupo Carso.
In 1997, he bought about three per cent of Apple Computer at $17 a share shortly before the company launched its hit iMac computer. Twelve months later, Apple's shares were $100.
Despite his vast riches, Slim reportedly shuns a lavish lifestyle, even wearing a plastic watch during the 1990s.
He was widowed in 1999, and, like Gates, he has developed a strong profile on the philanthropic front.
Earlier this month he allied himself with the foundation of the former US president Bill Clinton and with a Canadian mining magnate, Frank Giustra, to launch an anti-poverty campaign in Latin America.