Gautam Adani Surpasses Mukesh Ambani as Asia’s Richest Person

Gautam Adani, with an impressive net worth of $111 billion, has once again reclaimed the title of Asia’s richest person, edging out Mukesh Ambani, whose wealth stands at $109 billion. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, this shift in rankings places Gautam Adani as the 11th richest person globally, ahead of Ambani, who now ranks 12th.

A Resilient Comeback for Gautam Adani

The surge in Adani’s wealth is largely due to the remarkable rise in stock prices of the companies under his diverse conglomerate, which spans from apples to airports. On a particularly fruitful Friday, shares of all Adani Group companies soared by up to 14%, driven by a bullish outlook from U.S. brokerage Jefferies. The group’s renewed expansion plans, with a massive $90 billion capital expenditure over the next decade, have clearly caught investors’ attention.

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An increase in market value by ₹84,064 crore lifted the market capitalization of Adani’s 10 listed firms to ₹17.51 lakh crore by the end of trading on Friday. This significant boost in value helped Adani, a first-generation entrepreneur and the chairman of the Adani Group, surpass Mukesh Ambani, who is currently enjoying a luxurious cruise in Europe for his youngest son Anant’s pre-wedding celebration.

The Rollercoaster Journey

Adani’s financial journey has been a rollercoaster. In 2022, he became Asia’s richest man for the first time, as his personal wealth soared even amidst global economic slowdowns. However, his empire, valued at $21 billion and encompassing India’s major airports, the largest private-sector port, a leading media outlet (New Delhi Television), and the largest renewable energy firm among other holdings, faced a severe setback in January 2023.

Hindenburg Research, a prominent short-seller, published a damning report alleging that Adani’s business empire was built on fraudulent practices. This caused the group’s stock prices to plummet, wiping off $150 billion at its lowest point and pushing Adani out of the world’s top 20 billionaires.

In response, Adani Group denied all allegations and embarked on a strategic comeback. The plan focused on reducing debt, minimizing founder share pledges, and consolidating their core businesses. These efforts paid off, with the group achieving record earnings in the fiscal year ending March 31.

2024: A Year of Growth

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So far in 2024, Adani’s net worth has surged by $26.8 billion, while Ambani’s wealth has grown by $12.7 billion, highlighting the dynamic nature of wealth accumulation among the world’s top billionaires. This rapid increase in Adani’s fortunes has once again put him ahead of Ambani after nearly five months. Previously, in January, Adani had briefly overtaken Ambani, only to lose the top spot soon after. Now, he has reclaimed his position as the wealthiest person in Asia.

From Humble Beginnings to Global Prominence

Gautam Adani’s rise to immense wealth is a classic rags-to-riches story. A college dropout, he began his career in the diamond industry before joining his brother’s plastics factory. In 1988, he founded his own company, starting with import-export operations in the commodities sector. Over the years, his business interests expanded significantly, leading to the formation of a vast conglomerate.

In the past decade, Adani’s wealth has skyrocketed from approximately $5 billion in 2014 to a staggering $121 billion by the end of 2022. He even briefly held the title of the world’s second-richest person in September 2022.

Gautam Adani’s journey is a testament to resilience, strategic foresight, and the ability to bounce back from adversities, firmly establishing him as a key player on the global stage.

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