Thursday, November 16, 2006

Owner of #1 private co. loses millions enroute to success

Working for his father’s engineering and pipeline company in Wichita, Charles Koch lost $50 million on supertankers and crude oil in the mid-1970s. He wiped out $120 million more on a misguided attempt to turn Purina Mills into an integrated feed-to-steaks agribusiness in the late 1990s. But despite these setbacks, Koch has been successful, very successful. During the 38 years he has been running Koch Industries, the company has grown more than a hundred times in value, to an estimated $30 billion, compared with a 13x increase in the S&P 500 index. After acquiring Georgia-Pacific in December, 2005, it is now the largest privately held company in the world. Unlike many wheel-and-dealers, Koch has no plans to go public. Shares in Koch Industries, 40% of them owned by Charles, will be offered to the public “literally over my dead body.” Featured in Forbes, March, 2006

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