Mukesh Ambani has been making Rs 90 crore an hour since the lockdown began

Mukesh Ambani has been making Rs 90 crore an hour since the lockdown began

Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, has been adding Rs 90 crore per hour to his wealth since the March lockdown, according to the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2020 released today.

The fortunes of Ambani, who retained the title of the richest Indian for the 9th year on run, rose by Rs 2,77,000 crore to Rs 6,58,000 crore, the latest list showed.

The new rankings come a couple of days after US private equity firm Silver Lake’s Rs 7,500 crore investment in Reliance Retail, an investment that valued the venture at a pre-money equity value of Rs 4.21 lakh crore.

Ambani’s recent $20 billion fund-raising spree has already fulfilled his target of making Reliance Industries net-debt-free. This gives the tycoon unrivalled financial clout at a time when most other companies’ balance sheets have been decimated by the pandemic.

As of now, the 63-year-old tycoon has his sights firmly set on tech and retail as future growth drivers. Ambani’s ambitions include creating a home-grown e-commerce giant like China‚Äôs Alibaba.

His consistent ability to dominate the Indian market in whichever area he picks has turned him into the first port of call for big global companies seeking to invest.

And Ambani’s clout is only set to rise further. India is a market of over a billion potential customers that is still largely out of most global companies’ sphere of influence. While China is a comparable option, it remains primarily shut for non-Chinese businesses.

In all, the latest Hurun list features 828 individuals with a net worth of Rs 1,000 crore. This is a three-fold jump in numbers compared to five years earlier.

The number of dollar billionaires stood at 179, a three-fold rise since 2013 when the list was first published.

Of the 828 persons who made it to the list, 627 witnessed a rise in their fortunes, while 229 persons saw their wealth decrease during the period. There were 75 people who lost their place in the list. Six of the rank-holders in the previous list died.

As many as 162 were debutants in the list, and 76 per cent of these new entries were self-made.

90 per cent entities to which these individuals belong are family-run.

Smita V Crishna, with a fortune of Rs 32,400 cr, is the richest Indian woman in the rankings. She is followed by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw with Rs 31,600 crore. Mazumdar-Shaw, the head of Biocon, is also the richest self-made woman in the country, the list showed.

A total of 21 persons in the list are under the age of 40. Of them, 17 are self-made.

These 828 individuals collectively account for a fortune of $821 billion (Rs 60,59,500 crore). This is a jump of $140 billion (Rs 10,29,400 cr) from the previous list. The sharp rise in the share price of RIL had a significant contribution to this rise, apart from the rise in Ambani’s personal wealth.

In the list, Mukesh Ambani is the only Indian to feature among the global top 5. The meteoric rise in his fortunes after diversifying from oil to telecom and retail has had its fair share of detractors too, with some analysts saying that business in India is increasingly going the monopoly way. But given big private equity’s unabated enthusiasm to tango with Ambani, any pivot away from his current strategy appears highly unlikely.

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