ranking of 391 billionaires
TO THE CLUB
most exclusive club has been flooded with new entrants, with as
many as 89 entrepreneurs paying the billion rupee admission fee
a few are set to storm into the Billionaire Club. We catch up with
a few of them
interesting unlisted billionaires
new CEOs join the list of those who earn more than Rs 1 crore a
list of India Inc's top earners
we estimated the wealth and earnings of billionaires
billionaires have had an extraordinarily good year, with fascinating
strands to the overall weave of wealth, reports B
years ago, when Business Standard
compiled for the first time a list of the wealthiest people in India,
the Ambani family (father and two sons) was worth Rs 5,046 crore.
It seemed a big number then, but it is less than what Sajjan Jindal,
the steel tycoon, is worth today (Rs 5,582 crore). Jindal is no
out-performer, because there are 20 others who are worth more today
than the Ambanis were in 1999when they ranked third in our
BILLIONAIRE OF THE YEAR
AMBANI, the runner up in six of the last seven years,
has climbed to the top this time, with a net worth of Rs
765.09 billion ($16.56
billion). Two factors helped Ambani. While the market
price of his flagship, Reliance Industries, surged 46.4
per cent in a year, there was a change in our methodology
to compute promoters net worth. Instead of removing
the entire market value of crossholding from the promoters
net worth, this year we have added back the promoters
share in crossholding as their net worth.
comparison, Mukesh Ambani today has a personal wealth of Rs 76,509
crore, and younger brother Anil another Rs 23,721 crore (all numbers
are based on stock prices at the end of August). Between them, the
brothers now have wealth that is marginally more than Rs 100,000
crore and they have therefore multiplied their assets 20-fold in
seven short years. Thats an annual rate of growth of more
than 50 per cent. Mukesh,
in particular, has done better than anyone else at or near the top
of our list, in terms of the increase in total wealth.
PREMJI surrendered the richest Indian crown to Mukesh
Ambani despite an increase of Rs 170 billion in his
net worth to Rs 595.57 billion ($12.89 billion). But
Indias richest moguls continued to be from software
(44 out of 389), and Premji remained at the top of
the heap as far as technology billionaires are concerned.
are now 23 Indians with wealth of over Rs 4,500 crore, making
them dollar billionaires. In 1999, there were only three.
fewer than 45 people entered the list this year because
of the 4000-point surge in the Sensex over the past year.
members out of the 391 this year have joined the club by
doing a public issue in the last 12 months.
Premji, who topped the list in 1999 and in all but one of the lists
from then till before this latest list, has seen his wealth grow
from Rs 17,607 crore to Rs 59,557 crore today an annual growth
rate of a relatively sedate 20 per cent. Premji is second on our
list this year.
your wealth by 20 per cent a year is sedate? Well, the full list
of 391 members of this years Billionaire Club has a combined
wealth of Rs 634,457 crore. In comparison, the 100 members of our
first list of those with wealth of Rs 100 crore and more in 1999
were together worth Rs 83,800 crore. Amazingly, we now have 99 people
whose wealth is more than Rs 1,000 crore each (10 times the threshold
of seven years ago). And there are now 23 Indians with wealth of
over Rs 4,500 crore, making them dollar billionaires. In 1999, there
were only three: Azim Premji, Shiv Nadar and Dhirubhai Ambani.
way you look at it, the first years of the new millennium
have been very good for the members of Indias most exclusive
club. Thank the boom on the stock market, as these peoples
wealth is calculated on the basis of their holdings of company
stock. No fewer than 45 people have entered the list this
year because of the 4000-point surge in the Sensex over the
past year. Indeed,
Mukesh Ambanis wealth has gone up by two-thirds in the
last one year, in part because of some restructuring in the
wake of the split with his brother, and fresh stock market
listing. Anil has done even better in percentage terms
a 140 per cent increase in his wealth, bringing him at the
fifth spot as he enters the list for the first time.
prices, in general, have multiplied manifold reflecting
how companies have done very well in the past three years
in particular, and seem poised to continue on their rapid
growth curve. If
India emulates some countries where the total value of companies
listed on the stock exchanges equals GDP, then Indias
billionaires will see their wealth climb rapidly in the future
as well, and many more billionaires will be added to the list.
not just shares, for land prices have moved up even faster
in most cities. So is this merely a case of general asset
price inflation because there is so much money sloshing around?
Perhaps, and with individual house prices in the toniest parts
of New Delhi beginning to fetch more than Rs 100 crore, even
the owner of a house in the capital can count himself a billionaire
on the strength of that asset alone!
the high road to riches in India seems to lie in starting
a company, making it successful and then taking it public
at the right time: fully 35 members out of the 391 this year
have joined the club by doing a public share issue in the
last 12 months, starting with Tulsi Tanti of the amazing wind
energy firm called Suzlon. Tanti enters the list at the sixth
rank, with a wealth total of Rs 23,665 crore.
that sense, the wealthy have to be distinguished from those
with fat pay cheques. Even though CEO salaries have ballooned
in recent years, and there are an estimated 800 or more people
earning a crore and more per year (see our separate list on
this), the fact is that income does not equal wealth
as is the case in other economies.
Rs 350.34 billion net worth,
Sunil MIttal remained at
number three, with his mobile company Bharti Airtel increasing
shareholder wealth by 33.7 per cent
ninth in 2005, climbed to the fourth spot (Rs
319.02 billion). Agarwal benefited from the spiralling
metal prices and change in our computation of net worth.
demerged Reliance Industries unlocked the market value
of Infocomm, and made the 45-year old Anil
Ambani the fifth richest Indian (Rs
(at least that wealth which a market can assess because let
us not forget the former maharajahs who still own palaces and forts
and vast quantities of jewellery and other family heirlooms) comes
as a rule from owning a substantial chunk of shares in a successful,
well-paid CEO can imitate the life of the rich by moving around
in a luxury car, living in a swank apartment and going abroad for
holidays every year, but many of the really wealthy shun those accoutrements
and go about quietly running their business, without much show.
real story here, therefore, is about Indias growing entrepreneurial
class, and the fresh blood that you see in its ranks: the growing
clusters of first-generation entrepreneurs. Who would have thought
that a civil engineering graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology
would be able to change the fortune of his low-profile real estate
company so dramatically in just seven years? Valued at Rs 52 crore
in 1999, Unitech Chairman Ramesh Chandra didnt make the grade
in our inaugural billionaire ranking. Today, his 75 per cent stake
in Unitech is worth over Rs 12,670 crore, courtesy a steep 2,100
per cent increase in the stock price in the past year.
takes him to the seventh position in the list of the richest Indians
this year, up from 114th in 2005. Indeed, DLFs K P Singh is
arguably even wealthier, but his IPO has been deferred and so his
wealth remains hidden from public view (except for those who visit
Gurgaon and DLF City). Or take Punj Lloyds Satya Narain Prakash
Punj, a new entrant into the Billionaire Club this year. In 1999,
Punj Lloyd was a small engineering company with an order book of
less than Rs 200 crore. Seven years later, the company has an order
backlog of Rs 14,500 crore waiting to be executed over the next
three years. Punjs current market capitalisation is Rs 2,000
extraordinary optimistic message that the rich list 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 chances. Over two-thirds of the promoters listed are
from small and medium firms. And it would be a mistake to think
that it is only hot new sectors like technology and telecom that
are creating extraordinary wealth. While many of Indias richest
moguls continue to be from software (44 billionaires) and other
services sectors, pharmaceuticals, steel, automobiles and diversified
businesses have spawned a large numbers of billionaires too.
GAINERS IN (%)
Agarwal, Saket Agarwal
Gandhi, O P Monga, Naina Shah and Nathubhai
GAINERS IN (RS)
Over Previous year
new feature of the list this year is the addition of people who
do not run companies but who have invested well on the market, the
cut-off being those who own over 1 per cent in various companies.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and his family, with wealth of Rs 1,400 crore,
tops the list of investor billionaires no surprises there.
But investor Nemish Shah, too, joins the big league with a net worth
of Rs 158 crore.
there are 86 new entrants in the 2006 list, Jet Airways Chairman
Naresh Goyal is the most prominent of the losers. The promoter of
Indias largest airline, who listed Jet last year to become
the wealthiest new billionaire, has lost about Rs 4,500 crore on
account of the Jet-Sahara episode and the downturn in airline fortunes.
The other major losers in what has been a bull market are the promoters
of Ranbaxy, who lost Rs 1,560 crore, and Habil Khorakiwala of Wockhardt
who lost Rs 1,066 crore. In other words, your wealth is going to
take a big hit if your company hits squally weather whether
because of bad business decisions or simply bad luck.
the end of the day, then, 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