MUMBAI – Mukesh Ambani, who heads the oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries Group, has retained his position as the world’s richest Indian with a networth of USD 22.6 billion, as per the Forbes India annual rich list.
Despite a fall of USD 4.4 billion in his networth over the past one year, Ambani managed to hold the top slot.
He is followed by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and technology czar Azim Premji, as per the list published on Thursday by the Indian edition of global business magazine Forbes.
Mittal was ranked second with a networth of USD 19.2 billion, while Premji was at the third position with USD 13 billion of networth, Forbes said.
The 100 richest persons in the country together saw their networth falling by 20 per cent in one year, to USD 241 billion, as inflation, corruption scandals and falling stock and currency prices diminished their wealth.
The list comprises of 57 billionaires, a dozen less than the last year.
Forbes said that Mukesh’s younger brother Anil Ambani saw the biggest erosion in his wealth in absolute terms, while power producer Lanco Infratech’s Madhusudan Raw was the biggest loser in percentage terms as his networth fell by 78 per cent during the past one year.
Anil Ambani’s net worth declined by USD 7.4 billion to USD 5.9 billion and he “slipped out of the top 10 for the first time since his 2004 debut”. He was ranked 13th in this year’s list.
In the top-five, Mukesh Ambani, Lakshmi Mittal and Azim Premji were followed by Essar group’s Shashi and Ravi Ruia (USD 10.2 billion at 4th position) and Savitri Jindal (USD 9.5 billion at 5th).
Others in the top 10 include Sunil Mittal (USD 8.8 billion at 6th position), Gautam Adani (USD 8.2 billion, 7th), Kumar Mangalam Birla (USD 7.7 billion, 8th), Pallonji Mistry (USD 7.6 billion, 9th) and Adi Godrej (USD 6.8 billion, 10th).
This year’s list included 14 new faces and the richest debutante was the founder and CEO of the London-listed oil and gas firm Indus Gas — Ajay Kalsi, at the 38th position with a networth of USD 1.39 billion.
Father-son duo Kapil and Rahul Bhatia of travel group, InterGlobe Enterprises, made their debut at position 51, with a networth of USD 1.09 billion after their budget carrier IndiGo became India’s third-largest and most profitable airline.
Also debuting on the list was V G Siddhartha, ranked 84th with a net worth of USD 595 million, and founder of coffee shop retail chain Cafe Coffee Day.
Naazneen Karmali, India Editor of Forbes Asia, said: “This has been a turbulent year for India’s richest. Despite the economy growing at close to 8 per cent, a spate of corruption scandals and rising inflation have taken a toll.”
Indrajit Gupta, Editor of Forbes India, said: “Even though it’s been another tough year for the wealthiest Indian entrepreneurs on the 2011 India Rich List, the fact that there are as many as 14 new entrants is a clear pointer to the exciting and diverse business opportunities in this part of the world.”
The magazine said that the networth of persons on the list are based on share prices and exchange rates as on October 12 and privately held companies were valued on the basis of their comparison with similar publicly traded firms.
The networth figures of individuals also include family fortunes, it added.