In the midst of an economically slow year, total assets of the tycoons on the 2019 Forbes India Rich List shrank from a year earlier by 8 percent to US$ 452 billion. More than half of the 100 richest in India reported a fall in net worth.
Amid a slow economy, their fortunes were achieved by some tycoons. For the 12th straight year, Mukesh Ambani remains India’s wealthiest, with $51.4 billion in assets. He gained a net worth of $4.1 billion as Jio, his Reliance Industries ‘ three-year-old telecom company, became one of India’s largest mobile carriers with 340 million subscribers.
Another big gainer was construction tycoon Gautam Adani, who this year leaps eight spots to No. 2 with a $15.7 billion net worth. Adani received permission in June to start work on an Australian coal mine after a nine-year wait. He also went from airports to data centers to a slew of new businesses.
The Hinduja brothers are ranked at No. 3 this year with a net worth of $15.6 billion, while Pallonji Mistry ranks No. 4 with $15 billion. For the first time with a net worth of $14.8 billion, a $4 billion raise pushed banker Uday Kotak into the top five. His Kotak Mahindra Bank’s shares have risen 39 percent over the past year.
On this year’s list, six newcomers made their debut. They are the Singh family (No. 41, $3.18 billion), who inherited the assets of pharmacist magnate Samprada Singh, founder of Alkem Laboratories, who died in July this year; Byju Raveendran (No. 72, $1.91 billion), the 38-year-old founder of fast-rising ed-tech unicorn BYJU; Mahendra Prasad (No. 81, $1.77 billion) of Aristo Pharmaceuticals; Manohar Lal and Madhusudan Agarwal (No. 86, $1.7 billion) of Delhi-headquartered Haldiram Snacks; Rajesh Mehra (No. 95, $1.5 billion), whose family owns the popular sanitary ware brand Jaquar, and Sandeep Engineer (No. 98, $1.45 billion) of Astral Poly Technik.
Brian Carvalho, Editor of Forbes India, said: “It’s been a challenging economic year with notable changes in the list, but the good news is that we are still seeing the emergence of new billionaires with contemporary business models.”
More than a third of India’s 100 richest total wealth decline was credited to generous tech tycoon Azim Premji, who gave away a chunk of his fortune in March and slipped from No. 2 to No. 17 with a net worth of $7.2 billion in ranks.
Several fortunes associated with cars and consumer goods have been impacted by poor market feelings. Approximately one-tenth of this year’s lists are automotive tycoons bearing the brunt of an industry slump. Autoparts maker Vivek Chaand Sehgal’s net worth more than half dropped to $2.45 billion as its Motherson Sumi Systems shares fell 61 percent on declining demand in Indian and global automotive markets. He appears on the list of this year at No. 52.
The top 10 richest in India are:
- Mukesh Ambani- $51.4 billion
- Gautam Adani- $15.7 billion
- Hinduja brothers- $15.6 billion
- Pallonji Mistry- $15 billion
- Uday Kotak- $14.8 billion
- Shiv Nadar- $14.4 billion
- Radhakishan Damani- $14.3 billion
- Godrej family- $12 billion
- Lakshmi Mittal- $10.5 billion
- Kumar Birla- $9.6 billion