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June 21, 2024 3:17 am

Gautam Adani becomes Asia’s richest person, overtakes Mukesh Ambani

New Delhi, June 2

Gautam Adani has retaken the tag of richest person in Asia after a surge in stock price of the listed companies in his apples-to-airport conglomerate helped him overtake Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani.

Adani with a net worth of USD 111 billion is now ranked as the 11th richest in the world, ahead of Ambani whose USD 109 billion wealth placed him at No. 12, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Shares of all Adani Group companies surged on Friday by up to 14 per cent after US brokerage Jefferies put a bullish view on the group that is back to an expansion spree with a planned USD 90 billion capital expenditure over the next decade.

An addition of Rs 84,064 crore in market value took the market capitalisation of 10 Adani group listed firms to Rs 17.51 lakh crore at the close of trading on Friday. This helped Adani, a first generation entrepreneur and chairman of the namesake conglomerate, overtake Ambani, who is currently on a cruise in Europe for a second, multi-million-dollar pre-wedding celebration of his youngest son Anant.

Adani, 61, had in 2022 become Asia’s richest man after his personal wealth rose even as the global economy suffered a period of slowing growth. But in January 2023, his sprawling USD 21 billion conglomerate that owns many of India’s airports, the nation’s largest private-sector port, the media giant New Delhi Television, largest renewable energy firm, data centres and many other holdings was hit by a damning report by prominent short-seller Hindenburg Research.

Hindenburg alleged Adani’s business empire was built through fraud, sending stock prices of his group crashing by USD 150 billion at its lowest point and him out of the world’s top 20 billionaires. Ambani, who had to give away his Asia’s richest tag to Adani in 2022, was again the top billionaire.

Adani group denied all allegations and worked on a comeback strategy that included containing debt, reducing founder share pledge and consolidating business in core competencies.

The strategy worked as the group raked in record earnings in the fiscal year ended March 31.

And now, Adani has overtaken Ambani after nearly 5 months. In January, Adani had overtaken Ambani after nearly 12 months but soon after conceded the top spot to Ambani. Now Adani has overtaken Ambani again.

So far in 2024, Adani’s net worth has jumped USD 26.8 billion while Ambani’s wealth has increased by USD 12.7 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

A college dropout, Adani began his career in the diamond industry before joining a plastics factory run by his brother. He formed his own company in 1988, which began as an import-export operation in the commodities sector and gradually expanded to other initiatives.

His wealth ballooned in the last 10 years, rising from roughly USD 5 billion in 2014 to a whopping USD 121 billion at the end of 2022. He briefly became the world’s second-richest person in September 2022.

Last week, Adani in annual reports of the group companies had expressed his optimism about the future of the group saying that its best days are ahead. “The road ahead is paved with extraordinary possibilities, and I can promise you that the Adani Group today is stronger than it has ever been.”


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