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Billionaire Mukesh Ambani richest Indian for ninth year: Forbes

Mumbai, Sep 22 (IANS) With $22.7 billion (Rs 151,477 crore) net worth, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani is the richest Indian for the ninth consecutive year, American business magazine Forbes India said on Thursday.

Ambani, 59, who retains the top spot in the annual list of 100 richest Indian tycoons, saw his wealth increase to $22.7 billion from $18.9 billion last year as shares of Reliance Industries rose 21 percent over 12 months, the magazine said in a report.

The oil-to-retail conglomerate launched its 4G phone service Jio early this month, offering free calls and internet data link till December 31.

Dilip Shangavi of drug major Sun Pharmaceutical Industries is the second-richest Indian with $16.9 billion net worth though his personal wealth declined $1.1 billion due to its share price dropping, while London-based Hinduja brothers, with a combined network of $15 billion in 2016 as against $14.8 billion in 2015, are third.

The four siblings – Srichand, Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok – head the multinational group, whose businesses spans trucks and lubricants to banking and cable television.

IT czar Azmi Premji of Wipro slipped to fourth from third with $15-billion, while his flagship IT services company reported six percent decline in net earnings to $304 million in second quarter of this fiscal due to sluggish sakes.

The government’s infrastructure push and housing-for-all policy have turned the fortunes of cement and paint tycoons such as Benu Gopal Bangur, who features at 14 in the top 20 for the first time with $5.9 billion net worth, as shares of his Shree Cement soared.

Like Bangur, Asian Paints non-executive Vice-Chairman Ashwin Dani added $1.1 billion to his wealth to figure at 34 with $3.3-billion net worth.

Though the composition at the top of the list remains unchanged, the combined net worth of the country’s 100 wealthiest increased 10 per cent to $381 billion from $345 billion in 2015.

“In a post-Brexit world, India appears a steady ship with an economy growing at 7 percent-plus. The majority of India’s 100 richest have notched up handsome gains as their companies outperformed the stock market in the past year,” said Forbes Asia’s India Editor Naazneen Karmali.

“This year’s list has seen a rise in the overall wealth of the country’s top 100 billionaires, in line with the movement of the markets,” said Forbes India Editor Sourav Majumdar.

Meanwhile, eight tycoons rejoined the ranks after their companies outperformed the stock market’s 12 percent rise in the past year.

Among them is the country’s richest self-made woman and Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw at 65 with $1.83 billion net worth, as her firm’s shares doubled in 12 months.

Six newcomers to the list include serial entrepreneurs and brothers Bhavin and Divyank Turakhia (95, $1.3 billion), who make the ranks after selling their ad tech firm for $900 million to a consortium of Chinese investors in August.

Acharya Balkrishna (48, $2.5 billion) also makes his debut on the list, thanks to his 97 percent holding in the fast-growing consumer goods outfit Patanjali Ayurved, which he co-founded with yoga guru Baba Ramdev.

Pawan Munjal (29, $3.65 billion), son of Brijmohan Lall Munjal, founder of Hero Group, took over his father’s spot on the list.

The minimum net worth to enter the annual list of the richest Indians was $1.25 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2015.

Flipkart co-founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, however, dropped out from the list as their net worth fell below the minimum amount, along with 11 others, including textile tycoon Balkrishan Goenka.

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