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Home > Business > Special

The 40 richest Indians: L N Mittal tops with $20 billion

Naazneen Karmali, Forbes | December 16, 2005

Forbes Asia's second annual list of the 40 richest Indians is quite a bit more exclusive this year. Folks needed a net worth of at least $590 million, up from $305 million last year, to make the cut.

Twenty-seven members are billionaires, more than double last year's count. The group's collective net worth soared to $106 billion, up from $61 billion; by contrast, China's 40 richest are worth a collective $26 billion.

India's wealthiest citizen is again steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal, who resides in London. Seven newcomers join the ranks, including four who took their companies public in 2005.

The Top Ten





Lakshmi Mittal

$20 billion


Azim Premji

$11 billion


Mukesh Ambani

$7 billion


Anil Ambani

$5.5 billion


Kushal Pal Singh

$5 billion


Sunil Mittal

$4.9 billion


Kumar Managalam Birla

$4.4 billion


Tulsi Tanti

$3.7 billion


Pallonji Mistry

$3 billion


Anurag Dikshit

$3.1 billion

They include former airline agent Naresh Goyal, who runs Jet Airways, the country's leading domestic airline; Anurag Dikshit and Vikrant Bhargava, executives at Internet casino outfit PartyGaming; and Tulsi Tanti, who built Asia's largest wind farm.

By the Numbers

Rich Rivalry

India has bragging rights over China, at least when it comes to the net worths of its wealthiest citizens.




$106 billion

$26 billion


$590 million

$321 million







Sources: Euromonitor; U.S. Census Bureau.

Forbes Asia also added two low-profile, privately held fortunes: Kushal Pal Singh, whose DLF group is India's biggest real estate developer; and Indu Jain, the matriarch of India's most powerful media house, Bennett, Coleman.

All returning Indian rich listers saw their fortunes rise. Tycoons with telecom interests did particularly well, including Sunil Mittal, the Ruia brothers and Uday Kotak.

Making peace among fighting family members was another theme. Feuding siblings Mukesh and Anil Ambani announced plans to part ways in June after their mother brokered a peace settlement, a move that Forbes Asia estimates makes both men much richer.

So, too, did Rahul Bajaj and his younger brother Shishir; the stock of Bajaj Auto, which Rahul will still control, has doubled in the past year.

Pharmaceutical tycoons didn't do quite so well. While seven returned to the list, three -- Dr Reddy's Laboratories' Anji Reddy, Zydus Cadila's Pankaj Patel and Lupin's Desh Bandhu Gupta -- dropped off because their stocks underperformed India's red-hot stock market.

Additional research by C.N. Krishnakumar with Kiri Blakeley and Matthew Miller.

Unlike Forbes' Billionaires list, this ranking has been broadened to include family fortunes. For people with fortunes in publicly traded companies, net worths were calculated using recent market prices and exchange rates.

Privately held companies are valued by coupling estimates of revenues of profits (or, in some cases, company-provided numbers) to prevailing ratios for similar publicly traded companies.

More Specials

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Number of User Comments: 7

Sub: Lakshmi Mittal is not Indian

sorry to pour cold water on your excitement.. but Lakshmi Mittal is not Indian, he is English. And it would be in the best interests ...

Posted by siddharth

Sub: Not a penny in India

Don't talk of Mittal as an Indian. Mittal has invested billions of pounds all over the world and not a penny in India.

Posted by kulmohan

Sub: $s Vs Rs.

40 Richest Indians? then, Y say in $s? Y not in Rs?

Posted by Geetha Sriram

Sub: 40,Richest Indian

Dear sir, The article on '40 Richest Indians' was made for an interesting read.It clearly showed that the indians are not far behind when they ...

Posted by Sonali Mallik

Sub: Naran Murthy?

I did not fid the name of Mr. Narayan Murthy... he srill holds more than 6% share of infy.. isn't it?

Posted by vikas



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