India’s billionaire promoters hit record high in 2023, net worth soars to $858 billion

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on Jan 9, 2024
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  • The number of billionaire promoters in listed companies reaching an unprecedented 152.
  • The two most affluent promoters were Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries and Gautam Adani of the Adani Group.
  • A major driver of the rise in billionaire promoters in 2023 was the rally in midcap and smallcap stocks.

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The year 2023 marked a milestone in India’s corporate landscape, with the number of billionaire promoters in listed companies reaching an unprecedented 152, according to a report by Business Standard.

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This surge signifies a 21% increase from 2022’s figure of 126. The combined net worth of these business magnates also witnessed a significant leap, escalating to a staggering $858.3 billion by year-end, up from around $739 billion in the previous year, representing a robust 16% growth.

Wealth concentration shifts

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The data for 2023 illustrates a noticeable shift in wealth concentration among India’s ultra-rich. The two most affluent promoters, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries and Gautam Adani of the Adani Group, who have long dominated the billionaire’s list, saw their combined share in total net worth drop to 25.5% from 34.8% in 2022.

This change suggests a ‘democratisation’ of the billionaire’s club, with new entrants diluting the erstwhile concentrated wealth.

Ambani reclaims the top spot

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In a significant turn of events, Mukesh Ambani reclaimed his position as India’s wealthiest promoter, with his net worth increasing by 4.7% to $112.4 billion.

Gautam Adani, who had briefly dethroned Ambani in 2022, witnessed a decline in net worth following a critical report by Hindenburg Research, resulting in a drop in his group companies’ share prices.

Rise and shuffle amongst the top ten

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Shiv Nadar of HCL Technologies rose to the third position with a net worth of $29.3 billion, marking a 34.9% increase.

This growth saw him surpass Radhakishan Damani of Avenue Supermarts, who experienced a 4.3% decrease in net worth. Wipro’s Azim Premji rounded out the top five, his fortune climbing 9.1% to $21.8 billion.

Other prominent names in the top ten include Malav Dani, Amrita Vakil, and Manish Choksi of Asian Paints; Dilip S Shanghvi of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries; Sunil Mittal of Bharti Airtel; Sajjan Jindal of JSW Group; and Rajiv and Sanjiv Bajaj of the Rahul Bajaj Group.

IPO boom ushers new billionaires

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The surge in IPO activity in 2023 played a pivotal role in expanding the billionaires’ roster. Ramesh Chand Juneja of Mankind Pharma emerged as India’s 25th richest businessman with a net worth of $7.4 billion.

Other notable IPO beneficiaries include Pradeep G Rathod of Cello World, Tribhuvanprasad Kabra of R R Kabel, and Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal of Signature Global.

Midcap and smallcap stocks fuel wealth surge

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A significant driver of the increase in billionaire promoters in 2023 was the rally in midcap and smallcap stocks. This rally led to 29 new promoters joining the elite club, underscoring the dynamic and opportunistic nature of India’s stock market.

This trend of increasing billionaire promoters and their expanding net worth has broad implications for India’s economy and the global business landscape. It reflects the growing financial strength and global influence of Indian businesses, highlighting the country’s increasing role in shaping international commerce and trade dynamics.

As India continues on its trajectory of economic growth, the evolution of its billionaire’s club will be a key indicator to watch.

The shifts in wealth distribution and the emergence of new players in the billionaire rankings will offer valuable insights into the changing contours of India’s corporate and economic prowess.

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