In yet another milestone for Mukesh Ambani, the Reliance Industries Chairman has been placed at the top of Forbes list of India's 10 richest billionaires with a net worth of $84.5 billion. The second place is secured by Adani Group chief Gautam Adani with a fortune of $50.5 billion.
Notably, even as COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreck the economy last year, Ambani and Adani had an unprecedented surge in wealth amid rapid rise in the stock market. The benchmark Sensex has surged 75% in the past year alone.
According to Forbes, the number of billionaires increased to 140 from 102 last year and their collective wealth double to $596 billion during the last year. The top three richest Indians collectively added $100 billion in the pandemic year, it added.
Ambani garnered investments worth $ 35 billion for Jio and also achieved the target of reducing the net debt levels of the company to zero by 2021.
"He also sold a third of telecom unit Jio to marquee investors such as Facebook and Google and offloaded 10 per cent of Reliance Retail to private equity firms such as KKR and General Atlantic, plus concluded a $7.3 billion rights issue of Reliance shares," Forbes said.
Meanwhile, second richest man Adani has taken a significant share in India's airport management and operations business. He acquired a 74 % stake in the country's second busiest airport, Mumbai International Airport, last year and also sold 20 % in his listed renewables firm, Adani Green Energy, to French energy giant Total for $2.5 billion.
Rest of India's top 10 billionaires include DMart founder Radhakishan Damani, Kotak Mahindra Bank CEO Uday Kotak, Executive Chairman of ArcelorMittal Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group Kumar Mangalam Birla, founder of Sun Pharmaceuticals Dilip Shanghvi and Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises Sunil Mittal.