KEY POINTS

  • Alice Schwartz co-founded Bio-Rad Laboratories in 1952
  • Bio-Rad Laboratories debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in 1998
  • Norman Schwartz is now the president and chairman of the company

Alice Schwartz may not be getting any younger, but her net worth remains robust. This is how she built her $2.2 billion fortune.

Schwartz is considered to be the oldest woman on the richest women in the U.S. list by Forbes. With her $2.2 billion net worth, she ranks at the 378th spot. The California-based multibillionaire was not born rich and all of what she has now is a product of hard work and persistence throughout the years. At 94 years old, she shows no sign of stopping soon.

Schwarts and her husband David Schwarts founded Bio-Rad Laboratories in 1952 with only $720 in savings. The couple did not plan on launching the company but the idea of producing tobacco virus became the backbone of what would become an $8.5 billion company by market value, per Money. Bio-Rad has since expanded its offerings and now include pipet, resins and diagnostic testing systems. One could say the Schwarts were at the right place and at the right time as they became pioneers in the industry. 

The company went public in 1966 and was listed on American Stock Exchange in 1980. On the other hand, it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in 1998, per a separate report from Forbes

A report from Owler revealed that the medical products manufacturer has 8,250 employees while Norman Schwartz, the son of the founders, now sits as its chairman and president. Although Mrs. Scwartz is rarely seen in public nowadays, she was described as “very, very bright” when she was younger by her husband who passed away in 2012. The University of California, Berkeley graduate remains a member of the board of Bio-Rad Laboratories while letting her son take charge of running the company.

A report on the company’s  website stated that the 4Q net sales of Bio-Rad in 2019 reached $624.4 million, which was bigger than the figures recorded a year prior. Like any other businesses, Bio-Rad is not spared from the effects of COVID-19 which resulted in a slight dip on its revenues during 2Q. Its products connected to the coronavirus provided enough cushion to offset the fall in revenues, 360Dx reported. 

When it comes to the richest women in the U.S., the throne belongs to MacKenzie Bezos, ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who has a reported net worth of $36 billion. Other women in power who made the list are Alice Walton of Walmart, Pamela Mars of Mars, Inc., and Oprah Winfrey, among others. 

Bio-Rad laboratory A picture shows a package of microplates in the Bio-Rad laboratory during the manufacturing of serological COVID-19 detection kits which were developed in the region, in Steenvoorde, northern France, on June 23, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Photo: DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images