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Gautam Adani Beats Mukesh Ambani As Asia’s Richest Person

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Gautam Adani Beats Mukesh Ambani As Asia's Richest Person
Gautam Adani Beats Mukesh Ambani As Asia's Richest Person

An Indian billionaire, Gautam Adani who converted a small trading business into a conglomerate spanning ports, mines and green energy, is now Asia’s richest person.

Adani is the world’s biggest wealth-gainer this year. The 59-year-old mogul’s net worth reached $88.5 billion on Monday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, eclipsing fellow countryman Mukesh Ambani’s $87.9 billion. With an almost $12 billion increase in his personal fortune.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also considers it crucial to nation-building and meeting the country’s long-term economic goals. 

“The Adani Group has spotted and entered all the happening sectors at the right time, which has appealed to a select band of foreign portfolio investors,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at Mumbai-based brokerage HDFC Securities Ltd. “The sectors are capital-intensive and the company has faced little difficulty in raising funds to expand.”

Some of Adani Group’s listed stocks have soared more than 600% in the past two years on bets his push into green energy and infrastructure will pay off as Modi looks to revive the $2.9 trillion economy and meet India’s carbon net-zero target by 2070. MSCI Inc.’s decision to include more Adani companies in its Indian benchmark index has also meant any fund tracking the gauge will have to buy the shares.

2020 was Ambani’s year because his oil-to-petrochemicals mix Reliance Industries made billions of dollars which brought in Facebook and Google Inc. as investors, now the pendulum has swung toward Gautam Adani. 

Both Indian billionaires are now pushing ahead with green energy projects. Ambani has committed $10 billion over the next three years as part of a larger $76 billion spending plan whereas Adani has pledged to invest a total of $70 billion by 2030 to help his group become the world’s largest renewable-energy producer, Firms including Total SE and Warburg Pincus LLC have invested in Adani’s companies in 2021. The French oil giant agreed in January 2021 to buy 20% of Adani Green Energy Ltd. and a 50% stake in the Indian partner’s portfolio of operating solar assets, though at a steep discount. The deal value was just $2.5 billion, compared with Adani Green’s market capitalization of $20 billion at the time.

In March 2021, Warburg said “It would invest $110 million in exchange for about half-a-percent of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd.”

As part of his green push, Adani has unveiled plans to boost his renewable-energy capacity almost eightfold by 2025. In May, Adani Green agreed to buy SoftBank Group Corp.’s local renewable-power business in a deal that gave SB Energy India an enterprise value of $3.5 billion.

Within 3 years Adani has gained control of seven airports and almost a quarter of India’s air traffic. His group now owns the country’s biggest airport operator, power generator and city gas retailer in the non-state sector.

Shares of Adani Green and Adani Total Gas Ltd., a Mumbai-listed joint venture with the French firm, have rallied more than 1,000% since the beginning of 2020. Leadership of Adani Enterprises Ltd. has advanced more than 730%, Adani Transmission Ltd. more than 500% and Adani Ports 95% over this period. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex Index has gained 40% by comparison.

“Scant analyst coverage hasn’t deterred MSCI from adding some of the Adani stocks to its India gauge. Three of the tycoon’s listed companies were included in May, taking the group’s total footprint to five. The addition has led to a more mandated buying by investors who track the gauge, HDFC’s,”Jasani said.

Gautam Adani was a college dropout, he first tried his luck in Mumbai’s diamond industry in the early 1980s before returning to Gujarat to help in running his brother’s plastics business, then In 1988, he set up Adani Enterprises.

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