Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani joined Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in the world’s most exclusive wealth club with a net worth of at least $100 billion.
The chairman of India’s Reliance Industries Ltd entered the rare group of 11 men as his group’s stock climbed to a record Friday. After increasing his wealth by $23.8 billion this year, he is now worth $100.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Since inheriting the oil-refining and petrochemical businesses of his late father’s empire in 2005, Ambani, 64, has been trying to transform the energy giant into a retail, technology and e-commerce titan. Their telecom arm, which started services in 2016, is now the dominant carrier in the Indian market. His retail and technology ventures raised nearly $27 billion last year, selling stakes to investors ranging from Facebook Inc. and Google to KKR & Co and Silver Lake.
Ambani unveiled an ambitious push into green energy in June, with a planned investment of about $10 billion over three years. And last month, Mogul said his company would “aggressively” pursue production of cheap green hydrogen. The plan aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitions to transform India into a global manufacturing hub for clean fuels to tackle climate change and reduce energy imports by the world’s third largest oil consumer.
While Ambani’s announcement has led some to acknowledge that his group needs to look beyond oil to strengthen its future, fossil fuels still play a central role in Reliance, which accounts for $73 billion in annual revenue. is about 60%. The oil-to-chemicals business is now a separate entity, and talks are underway to acquire the Saudi Arabian Oil Company as an investor.
“Mukesh Ambani is at the forefront of creating new businesses with new emerging technologies,” said Chakri Lokpriya, Chief Investment Officer, TCG Asset Management Company in Mumbai. “Building large-scale businesses at speed brings execution challenges, but they have demonstrated their capabilities.”
The story of Reliance dates back to the late 1960s when Dhirubhai Ambani, who started out as a gas-station attendant in Yemen, began building his polyester business into a sprawling empire. When he died of a stroke in 2002 without leaving a will, a succession feud broke out between his two sons, Mukesh and 62-year-old Anil, which were eventually settled in 2005 by the siblings’ mother Kokilaben.
Under the agreement, Mukesh got control of major oil refining and petrochemical businesses, while his younger brother got new sectors such as power generation, financial services and telecommunications services. Anil, once a billionaire, told a London court last year that his net worth was “nil”.
India’s billionaires are some of the top gainers on the world’s rich list, as Asia’s best-performing major stock exchange this year has been boosted by a surge in initial public offerings.
Gautam Adani, founder of coal-power and renewable energy conglomerate Adani Group, has added $39.5 billion to his fortune this year, while technology tycoon Azim Premji, the country’s third-richest man, has seen his wealth increase by $12.8 billion.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NB staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)