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L N Mittal is the richest Indian
Forbes | March 10, 2006
Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal is the richest Indian and Microsoft Corporation Chairman Bill Gates with an estimated net worth of $50 billion retains his title as the richest man in the world for the twelfth consecutive year.
According to the Forbes magazine annual survey, Gates fortune increased 7.5 per cent from $46.6 billion last year.
India, whose BSE Sensex market was up 54 per cent in the past 12 months, is home to 10 new billionaires, more than any other country besides the US. Notable newcomers include Kushal Pal Singh, India's biggest real estate developer; Tulsi Tanti, a former textile trader whose alternative energy company owns Asia's largest wind farm and Vijay Mallya, the liquor tycoon behind Kingfisher beer.
The magazine said strong markets around the world contributed to the increase in wealth and the total net worth of the list jumped to $2.6 trillion.
Gates is followed by 75-year old investor Warren Buffett of the United States with net worth of $42 billion and Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim Helu with $30 billion and Ingvar Kamprad of Sweden, founder of Ikea, the world's biggest home furnishing retailer, with $28 billion.
Non-resident Indian steel tycoon Mittal finds fifth place among the world's richest with a net worth of more than $20 billion. The 55-year-old dropped two places to fifth with $23.5 billion, down $1.5 billion.
Azim Premji, who owns 82 per cent of the New York listed Information Technology giant Wipro is second richest Indian with an estimated net worth of $11 billion.
Mukesh Ambani with net worth of $7 billion, army officer turned property baron Kushal Pal Singh ($5 billion dollars), Sunil Mittal, who built his Bharti Group into India's largest mobile phone operator with 14 million customers ($4.9 billion) and Kumar Birla ($4.4 billion) are among those who find place among the top ten richest persons in India.
Others include Tulsi Tanti, who has built Asia's largest wind energy farm, Pallonji Mistry ($3.3 billion), biggest shareholder in Tata Sons, and Anurag Dishkit ($3.1 billion) who owns 30.4 per cent of Internet Casino company which went public in London in June last.
Forbes list of 40 richest Indians shows that a person had to have a net worth of $590 million, up from $305 million in the previous year, to make the grade. It has twenty-seven billionaires, more than the double of the count of the previous year.
Notable newcomers include Tulsi Tanti, Vijay Mallya, the liquor tycoon behind Kingfisher beer, Kushal Pal Singh, India's biggest real estate developer, and Anurag Dikshit, another online gaming mogul, who made his fortune when he and two Americans took their PartyGaming poker company public in London last June.
Seven newcomers join the ranks, including four who took their companies public in 2005. They include former airline agent Naresh Goyal, who runs Jet Airways, the country's leading domestic airline and Vikrant Bhargava, executives at Internet casino outfit PartyGaming.
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 and 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, the magazine said. 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, Forbes said, 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.
Twelve people return to the Forbes magazine's list. 39 people depart from it. Seven fortunes were broken up among family members, usually siblings, adding 15 individuals to the ranks.
Martha Stewart, who joined the billionaire ranks last year with a net worth of $1 billion is no longer on the list.
Seventy eight women make it to the list, ten more than last year, though only six are self-made. Hind Hariri, daughter of slain leader Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who is eight months younger than Germany's Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis, is, at 22, the list's youngest member.
In the magazine's inaugural ranking of the world's richest people 20 years ago, there were some 140 billionaires.
Just three years ago their number had risen to 476.
This year the list is a record 793. They're worth a combined $2.6 trillion, up 18 per cent since last March. Their average net worth is $3.3 billion.
With inputs from PTI
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