Despite the slowing economy and the dip in the Indian rupee against most global currencies, the number of super-rich Indians grew by a modest 3% according to the latest compilation by Forbes.
The “India’s 100 Richest” list released last week by the magazine showed some stunning gains made by people in the pharmaceutical and the information technology sectors, as the weakening rupee lifted the value of exports by the businesses they controlled.
The 100 richest Indians had net worth totalling $259 billion, with Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani retaining his top spot at $21 billion, relatively unchanged from the previous year. Mr Ambani has said that his businesses would continue to invest more than $25 billion to expand over the next three years.
The second spot on the list was held by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal with a net worth of $16 billion. Mr Mittal’s key asset, ArcelorMittal, continues to face a global supply glut that has kept his net worth relatively low compared to the heyday of surging steel prices just a few years ago.
Among the surprise movers into the top tier with a sharp increase in wealth was Dilip Shanghvi, the pharmaceutical magnate who owns Sun Pharmaceutical Industries. Mr Shanghvi added $4.7 billion to his net worth over the past year to bring it to $13.9 billion, moving him ahead of the philanthropist-owner of Wipro Technologies, Azim Premji, whose wealth increased by $1.6 billion to $13.8 billion.
There are 65 billionaires on the list, four more than last year. Some of those new billion-dollar fortunes were made not in India but in the Middle East: Bahrain resident Ravi Pillai, the richest newcomer on the list, made his $1.7 billion in Saudi Arabia with his construction business, Nasser S Al-Hajri Corp. Retail mogul MA Yusuff Ali derives much of his $1.6 billion in wealth from his Lulu Group in Abu Dhabi.
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