view original post

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.”

— John Davison Rockefeller.

These pearls of wisdom by American oil magnate and modern history’s first billionaire, in a sense, define the fulcrum of entrepreneurship, one on which great fortunes are built. In a similar vein, Rockefeller, who started sweating it out at the age of 16, had also remarked: “He who works all day has no time to make money.” In essence, fortune favours the brave who pursue something out of the ordinary.

Rockefeller founded Standard Oil Company in 1870 as a 31-year-old and, going by public records, it took him 46 years to attain the status of a billionaire by virtue of controlling about 90% of the US’ oil production. He was 77, when he became the world’s first billionaire in 1916. Since then, the league of extraordinaires — the elite 1% club — has only multiplied at a faster pace. The $23-trillion economy — the factory of capitalism — is home to over 700 billionaires, who command close to $5 trillion in wealth. Tesla’s 51-year-old maverick founder, Elon Musk, is the world’s richest billionaire at $251 billion, after first making it to the elite club as a 41-year-old in 2012.

They are the toast of capitalists, envy of the socialists, and loathed by the Marxists. But the reality of wealth is best surmised by Mark Twain’s quote — “I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.” But what makes this gilded community unique is that they are a bunch of go-getters whose dope is not money but pursuing an idea whose time has come.

Back home, the story is no different.

Here’s a pulse on India’s bustling wealth factory in our maiden ranking of the country’s dollar billionaires (with wealth of ₹7,974 crore and above).

The findings are, indeed, rich.

While free India turned 75 this August, her journey to a $3.12 trillion economy has at least 142 dollar billionaires whose businesses are largely based at home. They are collectively worth $832 billion (₹66.36 lakh crore), aided substantially by a buoyant equity market. While the US equity market is worth $44 trillion, making up for 40.7% of the $108 trillion global equity market cap, India is at a nascent 3.2% — but bustling at $3.48 trillion. While the Rich List largely chronicles India-domiciled billionaires, there are enough and more dollar billionaires under the radar whose details are not available in public domain.

The optimism is all-pervasive.

Soumya Rajan, founder and CEO, Waterfield Advisors, believes India’s wealth potential has not yet been fully exploited. “When I started my entrepreneurial journey as a wealth advisor a decade ago, there were precisely 69 billionaires in the country. A doubling of this number in 10 years is a testament to Asia’s rise as the new economic superpower, with India emerging as a major contributor,” says Rajan.

This coveted dollar billionaire club is equivalent to 26.67% of India’s GDP. What is noteworthy about the listing is that the wealth creation comes against the backdrop of massive outflow. Foreign portfolio investors, who own 20% of the market, dumped shares worth $21.6 billion (₹1.63 lakh crore) in 8 months — 3 times the outflow seen in 2008.

But what should not come as a surprise are the names that adorn the list.

Gautam Shantilal Adani, whose voracious appetite for new businesses has created a conglomerate that today spawns ports-to-media, tops the charts with a value of ₹10.30 lakh crore ($129.16 billion). The ferocity of the rise and rise of the Ahmedabad-based 60-year-old has resulted in the country’s longest-standing billionaire being overtaken decisively. Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani, the 65-year-old owner of the telecom-to-retail conglomerate, Reliance Industries (RIL), is at the second spot with ₹7.54 lakh crore ($94.57 billion), 27% lower than Adani. What’s notable about Adani’s rise is that he has pipped the likes of Bill Gates, Larry Page and Warren Buffett in global ranking of billionaires. However, the Adani empire is highly over-leveraged. In fact, CreditSights, a unit of Fitch Group, recently said that in the absence of any equity capital infusion, in a worst-case scenario, the Adani Group might spiral into a debt trap and, possibly, a default.

The third spot is occupied by Shapoor and Cyrus, sons of the late Pallonji Mistry. The biggest component of their wealth is the value of the family’s stake in Tata Sons, the holding company of the salt-to-digital conglomerate. The owner of the country’s biggest hypermarket chain, DMart, grabs the fourth spot with a value of ₹2.20 lakh crore ($27.53 billion). The late Big Bull Rakesh Jhunjhunwala held Radhakishan Damani in high regards and considered him as his guru. The fifth spot goes to Azim Premji, the founder of IT major Wipro. The 77-year-old is worth ₹1.75 lakh crore ($21.94 billion).

The biggest revelation in the list is the wealth of the Tata clan, estimated for the first time by Fortune India-Waterfield Advisors by valuing Tata Sons, the group holding company, at ₹14.04 lakh crore ($176 billion). While the wealth of 84-year-old Ratan Tata and his little-known younger brother, 81-year-old Jimmy Tata, is collectively valued at ₹23,874 crore ($2.99 billion), that of the chairman emeritus’ half-brother, Noel Tata, is pegged at ₹14,014 crore ($1.76 billion). While Ratan Tata and Jimmy Tata hold 0.83% and 0.81%, respectively, in Tata Sons, Noel Tata owns 1%. The 0.80% stake held by the family of late Minocher Tata, who comes from the Saklatvala family lineage and grandnephew of Tata Group founder Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, is estimated at ₹11,127 crore ($1.40 billion). But what differentiates the Tatas from the rest is the unique ownership structure of the group — a majority stake (65.30%) is held by seven trusts whose stated intent is to deploy the dividend income accrued towards a gamut of philanthropic initiatives. Of the seven trusts, Sir Dorabji Trust and Sir Ratan Tata Trust collectively hold 51.54%.

Related Posts