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India's Billionaire Club Has New Entrants

By Krishna Kant
January 09, 2024 08:44 IST
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The IPO boom in 2023 added four new promoters to the billionaires' list.

IMAGE: The Richest Indian: Reliance Industries Chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani, seen here virtually addressing the Tamil Nadu Global Investors Meet 2024 in Chennai, January 7, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

The ranks of billionaire promoters of India's listed companies swelled in 2023 to a record high of 152, with their combined net worth reaching an unprecedented $858.3 billion by the end of the year.

This represents a 21 per cent increase in the number of billionaire promoters from 2022 (126) and a 16 per cent jump in their combined net worth from the previous year (around $739 billion).

The net worth of these billionaire promoters, as represented by the market value of their family's stake in their companies, rose by 16.2 per cent in 2023.

This outpaced the 15.5 per cent rise in the combined net worth of promoters of all family-owned listed companies during the same period.

The rupee versus dollar rate for this report is 78.87 for 2022, and 82.58 for 2023 -- the monthly average for the respective 12-month periods.

The 2023 list reveals a democratisation of the billionaire's club, with new members entering and the richest promoters' share in the overall net worth declining.

The country's two wealthiest promoters -- Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani -- accounted for 25.5 per cent of the combined net worth of all billionaire promoters in 2023, down from their 34.8 per cent share in 2022.

Ambani of Reliance Industries regained the top spot in India's billionaire league table in 2023 from Adani of the Adani group, who had topped the list for the first time in 2022.

Ambani's net worth rose by 4.7 per cent to $112.4 billion from $107.4 billion a year ago.

Adani slipped to the second spot in 2023, following a sharp decline in the share prices of his group companies after US-based Hindenburg Research raised concerns about the group's debt and its shareholding structure, allegations that the Adani group has strongly denied.

Despite a 28.7 per cent drop in the Adani family's net worth to $106.63 billion, from $149.5 billion in 2022, it remains 3.6 times that of the third-ranked Shiv Nadar family of HCL Technologies.

Nadar surpassed Radhakishan Damani of Avenue Supermarts to become India's third wealthiest business person, with a net worth of $29.3 billion, a 34.9 per cent increase from the end of 2022 ($21.75 billion).

Damani slipped to the fourth spot in the Business Standard billionaire's list with a net worth of $24 billion, a 4.3 per cent decrease from the previous year.

He was followed by Wipro's Azim Premji, now India's fifth richest promoter with a net worth of $21.8 billion, a 9.1 per cent increase from the end of 2022.

Other notable names in the top ten list for 2023 are Malav Dani, Amrita Vakil and Manish Choksi of Asian Paints (a combined net worth of $20.8 billion); Dilip S Shanghvi of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries ($20.7 billion); Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel ($20.2 billion); Sajjan Jindal of JSW Group (($18.9 billion); and Rajiv and Sanjiv Bajaj of the Rahul Bajaj Group ($16.7 billion).

The top ten list remained relatively stable, with one exit -- Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra -- and one entry -- Sajjan Jindal of the JSW Group.

The Jindal family's net worth increased by 55.4 per cent in 2023, thanks to the initial public offering (IPO) and listing of JSW Infrastructure.

The port-related infrastructure company added nearly $4.5 billion to the family's net worth in 2023.

The IPO boom in 2023 added four new promoters to the billionaires' list.

Ramesh Chand Juneja of Mankind Pharma became India's 25th richest businessman with a net worth of $7.4 billion at the end of 2023.

Other IPO-led entrants to the billionaire's club include Pradeep G Rathod of Cello World ($1.6 billion), Tribhuvanprasad Kabra of R R Kabel (($1.3 billion), and Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal of Signature Global ($ 1 billion).

The steepest increase in net worth in this elite club, however, came from the rally in midcap and smallcap stocks with 29 new promoters joining the club in 2023 because of the sharp rise in their company's share price.

The gainers list was led by Amit Dangi of Authum Investment and Infrastructure whose net worth is up 323 per cent in 2023.

He was followed by P R Jindal of Jindal Saw (up 281 per cent), Savita Ramesh of Kaynes Tech (up 263 per cent), Kushal Desai of Apar Industries (up 222 per cent), and T S Kalyanaraman of Kalyan Jewellers (up 168 per cent).

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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Krishna Kant
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