11 Dec 2013

Norway's richest man gives large part of fortune to charity

6:17 am on 11 December 2013

The richest man in Norway has donated much of his wealth to a charitable foundation.

Olav Thon, whose wealth is estimated at 27 billion crowns ($US4.39 billion) by Kapital magazine, has given his 71.9% stake in Olav Thon Eiendomsselskap ASA to the Olav Thon Foundation.

Based on the firm's market capitalisation, the donation is worth about $US1.3 billion.

A self-made billionaire, who turned 90 this year, Thon built a real estate empire from the early 1950s and amassed a group with close to 500 properties, including hotels, retail space and office buildings.

He has served as the company's chairman for the past 31 years and publicly backed Norway's high taxes, which hit the wealthy with high income and wealth taxes.