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The Richest Billionaire in the Service Industry

We recently compiled a list of the 25 Richest Billionaires in Service Industry and in this article we will look at the richest person in the service industry.

US Service Sector Rebounds

On June 5, Reuters reported that the US economy is presenting a rather mixed picture with the services sector which represents most of its economy, rebounding after a brief contraction in April. The measure of business activity has also improved the most in three years which may support the Fed's pause of the interest rate cuts. The index grew by 10.3 points, reaching a post-November 2022 high of 61.2, the largest since the first quarter of 2021.  The ISM services PMI, which measures the economic activity across industries including accommodation and food services, recreation, finance, and healthcare, among others, also rose to 53.8 in May, compared to 49.4 in April. The reading in May was the highest since August 2023.

Post-Pandemic Revival of the Cruise Travel Services Industry

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the service sector, expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.4% and reach $2 trillion by 2030, as per estimates by Grand View Research. This growth is expected to propel companies like Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL), a leading leisure travel services company with operations across North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The group operates a fleet of over 90 ships through 9 cruise line brands and offers vacation packages to major cruise destinations worldwide. It is led by one of the richest billionaires in the service industry, Micky Arison.

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Established in 1972 in Miami, the company is a major player in the cruise industry in the United States and the world. However, the pandemic affected the cruise industry and forced the company to cease operations. Management slashed its operating expenses and capital expenditures and raised billions in new debt and equity financing to keep the company afloat. The company has been effectively managing its debt and working toward reducing interest expenses to achieve a streamlined capital structure and return to investment-grade credit. It recorded a strong 2023 with full year revenues hitting an all-time high of $21.6 billion and started the new year with the best booked position in terms of price and occupancy. Its occupancy returned to 102% in the first quarter of 2024.

Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) not only reached its pre-pandemic booking levels but also attracted 12.5 million guests with 3.5 million new passengers in 2023 who had not previously taken a cruise. The cruise industry, which was previously considered a market for baby boomers, is now getting more attention from younger people. According to research by JP Morgan, the cruise industry will represent 3.8% of the $1.9 trillion global vacation market by 2028, benefitting the companies operating in the cruise travel services market.

CCL experienced a hit during the pandemic due to worldwide lockdowns and muted tourism activity. However, it's slowly deleveraging and reduced its debt by $1.8 billion in Q1 2024. Its revenue for the quarter reached $5.41 billion, up 22% year over year. Now that travel activity has resumed, CCL can recover to profitability.

The cruise company continues to invest in new ships. It has ordered its first newbuilds in five years. The company will be adding two ships that will be available in 2027 and 2028. It is focusing on its cruise line portfolio, with new ships such as Carnival Jubilee and a private destination, Celebration Key expected to grow bookings. It is also on investors' radar as 56 portfolios have stakes in the stocks worth $1.49 billion at the close of Q1 2024. Among those, Steve Cohen's Point72 Asset Management grew his position in the company by 228% to $208 million.

Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) is currently trading at 16 times its forward earnings, in line with its sector median. The group reported a loss per share in 2023 of $0.06, however, analysts expect things to turn around and CCL to deliver an EPS of $1 this year. If CCL beats analysts' expectations, as it has 6 times over the past 8 quarters, it will grow its EPS by over 1750%. CCL is up 15% over the past 12 months as of the time of this writing, and the Street-median target points to a further 26% upside.

Although we acknowledge the potential for CCL to grow, our conviction lies in the belief that AI stocks hold greater promise for delivering higher returns, and doing so within a shorter timeframe. If you are looking for an AI stock that is more promising than NVIDIA but that trades at less than 5 times its earnings, check out our report about the cheapest AI stock.

The Richest Billionaire in the Service Industry
The Richest Billionaire in the Service Industry

An aerial view of a luxurious cruise ship, surrounded by the blue horizon.

Methodology

To compile our list of the 25 richest billionaires in the service industry, we consulted the real time billionaires data from Forbes. The billionaires from the service industry are ranked in ascending order of their net worths, as of June 11.

At Insider Monkey we are obsessed with the stocks that hedge funds pile into. The reason is simple: our research has shown that we can outperform the market by imitating the top stock picks of the best hedge funds. Our quarterly newsletter’s strategy selects 14 small-cap and large-cap stocks every quarter and has returned 275% since May 2014, beating its benchmark by 150 percentage points (see more details here).

The Richest Billionaire in the Service Industry

1. Wang Wei

Net Worth as of June 11: $13.6 billion

Wang Wei is the richest billionaire in the service industry. He is the chairman of the leading package delivery services company, S.F. Holding which is well known for its SF Express brand. He founded the company in 1993 in Shunde, Guangdong, and is also the majority owner. He took the company public in 2017 on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and also filed for a listing in Hong Kong in 2023. Wang is also among the 150 richest billionaires in the world and has a net worth of $13.6 billion.

To learn about other wealthy individuals in the service industry, check out our free report on the 25 Richest Billionaires in Service Industry.

At Insider Monkey, we delve into a variety of topics, however, our expertise lies in identifying the top-performing stocks. Currently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology stands out as one of the most promising fields. If you are looking for an AI stock that is more promising than NVDA but that trades at less than 5 times its earnings, check out our report about the cheapest AI stock.

READ NEXT: Michael Burry Is Selling These Stocks and Jim Cramer is Recommending These Stocks.

Disclosure: None. This article is originally published on Insider Monkey.