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Adani’s wealth surges 261%, now Asia’s second richest

The Times of India logo The Times of India 01-10-2021 Prabhakar Sinha and Mayur Shetty
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MUMBAI: India has added five billionaires every month in the last 12 months as the value of businesses such as chemicals, software and pharmaceuticals soared. Among the traditional billionaires, Gautam Adani (59) and family, with Rs 5.1 lakh crore (a 261% surge), for the first time has become Asia’s second-richest. His family has added Rs 1,000 crore a day over the last year.

Mukesh Ambani (64), with Rs 7.2 lakh crore, remained the richest Indian for the 10th year in a row. The rise in commodity prices has enabled magnates, including Lakshmi Mittal (71) and Kumar Mangalam Birla (54), to be part of India’s top 10. Vaccine king Cyrus S Poonawalla of Serum Institute of India, whose wealth increased by 74% to Rs 1,63,700 crore occupies the 6th position.

Gautam Adani's brother Vinod Shantilal Adani, who owns a trading business in Dubai, too made it to the top 10, ahead of Birla, with his wealth growing threefold to Rs 1.31 lakh crore.

The last decade has seen the fastest pace of wealth creation with India’s rich adding Rs 2,020 crore of wealth every day for the past 10 years. Hurun, which compiles a list of the super-rich in India in partnership with IIFL Wealth management, has in this year’s ranking highlighted trends for the last decade.

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“The number of entrants in IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List has grown from just under 100 ten years ago to 1,007 today. At this rate, in five years, I expect the list to grow to 3,000 individuals. The evolution of the IIFL Hurun India Rich List is a reflection of India’s economic growth story,” said Hurun India MD & chief researcher Anas Rahman Junaid.

According to Junaid, a decade ago the cut-off for being part of the top 10 in India was Rs 30,800 crore, which has gone up to Rs 1,21,600 crore. However, the cut-off to enter the top 100 has risen nine-fold from Rs 1,800 crore to Rs 16,800 crore. Pharma has been the biggest contributor to wealth creation with 130 individuals in the rich list from pharma, followed by chemicals (98) and software (81).

Following the addition of 59 new billionaires, the number has gone up to 237. Another interesting finding is that, unlike a decade ago, wealth creation is no longer limited to big cities and includes people from Haridwar to Thiruvananthapuram, with the total number of cities at 76.

According to IIFL Wealth joint CEO Anirudha Taparia, most billionaires invest largely in equity and in fixed income securities. Also, most of their money is invested in India where wealth creation is fastest. “They may invest some Rs 10 out of Rs 100 overseas, but most of it is invested back in the country,” he said.

Also, new-age billionaires who have created wealth through startups have been giving back a lot to startups. “They are investing back in the ecosystem. They are far more comfortable in taking this particular risk where there is a lot of illiquidities,” said Taparia. He added that of late there were a lot of pre-IPO investments as well.

Other trends include a drop in age. From Shivinder Mohan Singh being the youngest billionaire at 34 ten years ago, the lowest age has dropped to 23 with Shashvat Nakrani of Bharat Pe making it to the list. Another trend was the entry of professional managers with 14 of them making it to the rich list. Also, self-made billionaires now occupy two-thirds of the list, up from little more than half a decade ago.

A global new entrant to the top-ten is Jay Chaudhry (62), of California-based enterprise cloud security firm Zscaler. The sector which has not done well in the last 12 months is jewellery with 12 businessmen dropping out of the rich list. Businessmen who have dropped out over the decade include Anil Ambani, Vijay Mallya, Venugopal Dhoot, Rana Kapoor, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Malvinder Mohan Singh and Shivinder Mohan Singh.

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