From Croatia to Chile – The Luksic Family: From the World’s Driest Desert to the Forbes List
In Chile, everyone knows the Luksics and their remarkable story that started with Policarpo Luksic who left his native Croatia as a young man to try his luck in the mineral-rich Atacama Desert in Chile’s far north. Here, in purportedly the world’s driest desert, Policarpo Luksic did reasonably well. He married the granddaughter of a hero from the War of the Pacific (1879-1883) that pitched Chile against Bolivia and resulted in the latter losing its access to the ocean.
It was the next generation that would find the success Policarpo had travelled the world for. In 1952, his son Andrónico Luksic Abaroa (1926-2005) laid the cornerstone of what was to become the family fortune and, indeed, one of the world’s greatest fortunes. That year Andrónico managed to buy a 25% share in a local mining company for next to nothing, selling it two years later to a Japanese conglomerate for a cool $500,000.
The proceeds of the sale were immediately invested in other mining ventures. In the years following, the profits from Andrónico’s deals started to accumulate. As they did, he successfully diversified his investments taking stakes in any kind of business that caught his fancy.
Today, the third Luksic generation, headed by Andrónico Luksic Craig and his brothers Guilermo and Jean-Paul, are in charge of a veritable business empire that generates close to $14 billion in annual revenue. The Luksic’s Quiñenco holding company has interests in rail roads, mining, banking, breweries, shipping, television, energy and telecom. The impression is that the Luksic family has a stake in almost everything that goes on in Chile.
The political turbulence experienced in the early 1970s – a time when private business was not encouraged – caused the Luksic family to look elsewhere for opportunity. They expanded their business interests in Argentina, Colombia, and Brazil where the Luksic’s again acquired stakes in an eclectic range of businesses.
With Croatia becoming the newest member of the European Union and a place safe for business, the Luksic family is at long last returning to its roots. Property is being snatched up left, right, and centre. The family is also supporting an impressive number of initiatives to help with the social development of Croatia: significant contributions are made to improve healthcare, education, and the preservation of national Croat culture. On the business side, $800 million has so far been invested in Croatia. The family sent fourth generation Davor Luksic to manage its affairs in Europe.