There were 106 additions to the super-rich list in 2010.
Alla Ayodhya Rami Reddy, 45, is a self-confessed workaholic whose day begins at 5 a.m. and ends after 11 p.m. The hard work has given him handsome returns: The net worth of the Founder-Chairman of the diversified infrastructure and wate management solutions provider, Ramky Infrastructure, is Rs 1,229 crore, courtesy the initial public offer his company made in September last year.
Reddy, who has earned the sobriquet Rs waste king’ for the pioneering work he has done in waste management through his other company — Ramky Enviro Engineers — is now dreaming big and has set a scorching pace for his professional managers. He wants his Rs 2,500 crore group to be a $5 billion (Rs 22,500 crore) entity in the next few years.
While Reddy entered the super-rich club via listing, many others did so because of a spectacular turnaround of their commodity-based businesses. Consider Mukesh Sangla, founder of the Rs 400 crore Signet Group. Sangla was worth Rs 5.5 crore in December 2009. A year later, that went up 40 times to Rs 224 crore. Signet Industries has a diverse portfolio ranging from international trading & domestic distribution of polymers, chemicals, jumbo & raffia bags to spices, wax, plastics and power generation. The reason for Singla’s wealth spike was obvious: the commodity sectors rebounded sharply from the year before.
Same was the case with the Kolhapur based Mohite family, promoter of R M Mohite Industries. The company, which manufactures and exports 100 per cent cotton yarn with a manufacturing capacity of 35,216 spindles, saw its market value go up 10 times.
The extraordinary optimistic message that the super-rich list (106 businessmen entered the hallowed portals of the Club in 2010) throws up is a simple one: with the opening up of the economy, opportunities have mushroomed in every field, and entrepreneurs have been quick to grab their chance.
Overall, the year 2010 saw The Billionaire Club membership swell to 657. The total net worth of these billionaires, however, went up a modest 14 per cent, compared to an over 80 per cent rise in 2009 calendar year. At Rs 16 lakh crore, BS Billionaires account for a fifth of the collective market value of Rs 76.68 lakh crore of India’s listed companies.
The net worth of promoters has been compiled on the basis of the average stock prices of listed companies for December 2009 and December 2010. The promoters’ net worth is based on their holdings in companies. In the case of cross-holding, promoters’ share in parent companies has been considered for evaluating net worth. In the case of investor-billionaires, shareholding of one per cent and above in each of the invested companies has been considered.
But the billionaires can also have their own list of haves and have-nots. The top five account for 30 per cent of the total net worth of the 657 super-rich members. The number of dollar billionaires also increased by a dozen from 45 last year.
The top 10 list saw quite a few changes. Quite predictably, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, topped the rich list for the fifth consecutive year with a net worth of Rs 140,079 crore. But moving up to the second position (from fifth last year) was Gautam Adani having interest in power, port and trading. His wealth increased to Rs 91,272 crore from Rs 63,648 crore last year, thanks to 51 per cent rise in the market value of flagship Adani Enterprises.
Wipro’s Azim Premji maintained the third rank, while Sterlite’s Anil Agarwal slipped to fourth from second last year amid change in the outlook for the metal sector.
The listing of Essar Energy in London last year powered brothers Shashi and Ravi Ruia to the eighth position from 32nd last year as they added a net worth of Rs 40,000 crore to their kitty.
Anil Ambani slipped to the fifth position (from fourth last year) as his share valuation in telecom flagship Reliance Communication plunged 25 per cent on account of re-rating of the telecom sector. The re-rating, however, did not impact Sunil Mittal who made Bharti Airtel the fifth largest mobile operator in the world through acquisition of Zain Telecom’s Africa operations for $10.7 billion. His ranking went up by a notch to sixth.
Real estate magnate KP Singh too slid two positions to No 9 this year, battered by the crosswinds in the industry. Kumar Mangalam Birla did not benefit much from acquisition of Novelis and slid by a notch at No 10.
A notable gainer was 46-year old media mogul Kalanithi Maran who was ranked No 16 with a net worth of Rs 15,965 crore, up by 58.8 per cent from last year’s Rs 10,056 crore. The owner of Sun TV Network caused a stir this year when he took more than one-third stake in domestic airline Spice Jet.
Asian Paints promoters Ashwin Choksi, Ashwin Dani, Abhay Vakil (No 19) and Cadila Healthcare promoter Pankaj Patel (No 21) gained nine notches each as the market value of their listed companies went up by 60 and 80 per cent respectively. G M Rao, promoter of G M Infra, slipped to No 20 from No 12 as infrastructure projects are not making enough money to beef-up valuation of listed companies. The cup of woes for Tulsi Tanti of Suzlon Energy seems to be brimming over. Tanti was down 20 notches to No 47 as the debt burden and slowdown in wind energy orders clipped stock value by 68 per cent over a year ago level.
There was no dearth of investor-billionaires as well. India’s most famous investor, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who along with wife Rekha, manages his firm RARE Enterprises, saw his wealth double to Rs 3,755 crore. Jhunjhunwala’s prize investment includes Titan, Crisil, Lupin, A2Z Maintenance and Nagarjuna Construction. And Jhunjhunwala was not alone. There were 14 other pure-play investors in the super-rich list.
At the end of the day, the message is a good one for the system: run a company well, add value to the economy, share your wealth with other investors — and you will be rewarded with undreamt of riches.