India's richest man retains top spot with $31 billion fortune

India's richest man retains top spot with $31 billion fortune

Oil and gas tycoon Mukesh Ambani is once again India's richest person with a net worth of US$22.7 billion (S$30.9 billion), up from US$18.9 billion last year, according to the Forbes India Rich List 2016 published on Sept 22.

In the past 12 months, shares of Ambani's Reliance Industries rose 21 per cent, and the company launched a new 4G phone service, sparking a price war in India's hypercompetitive telecommunications market.

Oil and gas tycoon Mukesh Ambani's fortune up by US$3.8 billion

At second spot is India's richest pharmaceutical magnate, Dilip Shanghvi, with a net worth of US$16.9 billion. This is despite his fortune taking a US$1.1 billion dip. Shares of his Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, the world's fifth-largest generics maker, also fell.

The four Hinduja brothers took third spot, with their wealth of US$15.2 billion, an increase from US$14.8 billion last year. Their multinational empire Hinduja Group has businesses ranging from trucks and lubricants to banking and cable television.

Falling one spot on the list to fourth place is tech magnate Azim Premji (pictured below). The chairman of Wizpro has an estimated net worth of US$15 billion, Forbes India said.


This year, fortunes of cement and paint tycoons have benefited from the Indian government's infrastructure push and housing-for-all policy. Benu Gopal Bangur, who is chairman of Shree Cement, entered the top 20 for the first time, and was placed 14th on the list with a net worth of US$5.9 billion.

Ashwin Dani, who is non-executive vice chairman of Asian Paints, also saw his wealth increase by US$1.1 billion to US$3.3 billion, ranking at 34th place on the list.

Sourav Majumdar, editor of Forbes India, said: "This year's list sees a rise in the overall wealth of the country's top 100 billionaires, in line with the movement of the markets. While the composition at the top of the list remains largely unchanged, the distribution of wealth within the list continues, with the top 20 now contributing 52 per cent of the total, down from 55 per cent last year."

Eight people rejoin the ranks after their companies outperformed the stock market's 12 per cent rise in the past year. One notable returnee is biotech pioneer and India's richest self-made woman Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (pictured below), who ranked at number 65 with her fortune of US$1.83 billion. Shares of her listed Biocon, Asia's largest insulin producer, more than doubled in the past year.

The list also included six newcomers, including serial entrepreneurs and brothers Bhavin and Divyank Turakhia , who ranked 95 with a US$1.3 billion net worth; Acharya Balkrishna, who ranks 48 with a US$2.5 billion wealth; and Pawan Munjal, who took 29th spot with a US$3.65 billion fortune.

The minimum amount required to make the Forbes India Rich List also rose to US$1.25 billion, from US$1.1 billion in 2015.

There were 13 drop-offs from the list this year, including textile figure Balkrishan Goenka and cofounders of Flipkart, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal.

The full list, which is available on www.forbes.com/india and www.forbesindia.com, will also be published in the Forbes India magazine on October 21.

ljessica@sph.com.sg

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