On this day, November 5 in the year 1926, the man who was once the richest in Chile was born in Antofagasta, formerly a small town in the Atacama Desert. His name was Antonio Andronico Luksic Abaroa, the former chairman of Antofagasta Plc, a large copper mining concern.
Andronico Abaroa was the son of a general store owner who came from Croatia in the 1900s. He was sent to study in Paris but dropped out very early from Sorbonne University.
In 1950, Andronico Abaroa established a Ford dealership in Antofagasta which at that time was booming due to newly opened copper mines. In due time, he acquired a small mining firm which he sold to Japanese investors at a very huge profit. Using this windfall, he put up a fishing company and another mining company. Later, he moved to the capital, Santiago where he played the stock market, in the process taking control of pasta maker and a metal manufacturing company.
Although his businesses suffered during the military regime in the 1970s, Andronico Abaroa emerged in the 1980s awash with cash and with little debt. He began to acquire struggling companies including the country’s leading bank and also its largest beer producer. In the 1990s however, investments in the neighboring countries suffered as economic crisis hit the region.
Andronico Abaroa restructured his business empire into two groups. Antofagasta Plc. Controls mining and railroad operations while the Quinenco handles finance and manufacturing. In 2000, he purchased several resorts in his father’s native country Croatia.
Andronico Abaroa died in 2005 at the age of 78. He married twice and had 5 children. At the time of his death, his net worth was $4.2 billion.