10 Things You Didn’t Know About John Fredriksen

John Fredriksen, the self-made shipping and oil tycoon, has made an indelible mark on the global business stage. His journey from being the son of a welder to one of the richest men in the world is inspirational to say the least. But beyond the surface, how much do you really know about Fredriksen’s life, his ventures and his wealth accumulation? Here are 10 facts about John Fredriksen that you probably didn’t know.

1. He is a Cypriot Citizen

Despite being known as a Norwegian tycoon, John Fredriksen actually holds a Cypriot passport. After losing faith and growing dissatisfied with the Norwegian tax system, Fredriksen relinquished his Norwegian citizenship in 2006 and became a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus.

The move granted Fredriksen considerable financial benefits, as Cyprus has a far more favourable tax system for wealthy individuals. In recent years, the country has become popular among financially elite individuals looking for a hospitable home base.

2. His Companies Own Over 200 Oil Tankers

Through his various business ventures, Fredriksen owns more than 200 oil tankers, making him one of the world’s leading oil shipping magnates. His significant fleet primarily includes VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) and Suezmax ships.

The large number of vessels affords his companies vast control over global oil transportation, further solidifying his influence in the shipping and energy industries. His companies’ fleets are constantly at work, shuttling oil to various parts of the world.

3. He Started Out As A Shipping Broker

Before becoming a renowned billionaire, Fredriksen started his career as a shipping broker in the early 1960s. Despite lacking formal higher education, he quickly made a name for himself in the industry.

His assertiveness, quick decision-making ability and unrivalled understanding of market dynamics helped him hustle his way into owning one of the world’s largest oil tanker fleets. His tenure as a shipping broker laid the foundation for his future success.

4. He Was Involved in Controversy During the Iran-Iraq War

During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Fredriksen’s shipping company played a controversial role. His oil tankers were accused of illegally shipping oil from Iran to international markets despite a wartime blockade.

Though the illegal operations led to immense profits, they also landed Fredriksen a brief stint in jail. He ended up facing punishment for his actions but emerged resilient, learning crucial lessons from the incident.

5. He is One of the Richest Men in Cyprus

Thanks to his extensive business ventures and wealth accumulation over the years, Fredriksen is considered one of the richest men in his adopted home of Cyprus.

The tax-friendly policies and asset protection laws in Cyprus have also contributed to his stature as the nation’s wealthiest individual. His wealth and entrepreneurial acumen have made him a standout figure in the island nation.

6. His Twin Daughters Have Taken Over His Empire

Fredriksen has effectively handed over the reins of his business empire to his twin daughters, Kathrine and Cecilie. The two are heavily involved in their father’s ventures and currently hold key positions in the Fredriksen Group.

By entrusting his empire to his daughters, Fredriksen has ensured that his vast operational networks continue to thrive under their management. Kathrine and Cecilie have proven themselves capable of carrying on their father’s legacy.

7. He Has a Fortune Worth Billions

As of 2021, Fredriksen’s net worth stood at approximately $12.8 billion, earning him a spot in the global list of billionaires. His wealth stems primarily from his shipping and oil-related businesses.

Despite facing several market crashes and downturns, Fredriksen’s wealth has consistently grown over the years. His knack for making lucrative deals, coupled with his risk-taking approach, have significantly contributed to his vast fortune.

8. He Makes Major Decisions Within Minutes

Fredriksen has a reputation for making critical business decisions within minutes. His quick decision-making ability is often credited as a key contributor to his extraordinary success in various business ventures.

His philosophy of ‘act quickly or miss out’ has spurred him to seize lucrative opportunities that many would hesitate to take. This approach has resulted in both immense success and occasional losses, but the overall outcome has been highly beneficial to his corporate empire.

9. He Survived an Assassination Attempt

In the 1980s, Fredriksen was the target of a failed assassination attempt. The attacker was a former mercenary and confessed to a plan to kidnap Fredriksen and demand a ransom.

Fortunately, the plan never reached fruition and Fredriksen escaped unharmed. Nonetheless, the incident remains a shocking event in his life and serves as a reminder of the numerous challenges he has overcome.

10. The Fredriksen Family Owns One of London’s Most Expensive Homes

In 2002, Fredriksen bought one of London’s most expensive homes, known as “Old Trees”, for a whopping $92 million. Located in the exclusive neighbourhood of Chelsea, the Fredriksens use the property as their residence when in the British capital.

The massive sum he paid for the property signifies not just his impressive wealth, but also his family’s urbane lifestyle and penchant for luxury. The acquisition of this opulent home has cemented the Fredriksen family’s presence among the global super-rich.

There’s no denying that John Fredriksen is a true titan in the shipping and oil industries. The ten facts mentioned above only scrape the surface of the esoteric life and impressive career of this audacious tycoon. We hope this post helped you discover a few new insights about the man and the legend that is John Fredriksen.

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