India is home to world’s fourth highest number of billionaires, which is 101 billionaires and the leader of the pack is Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani. The Forbes list of the ‘World’s Billionaires’ 2017 consists of 2,043 of the richest people in the world who have a combined net worth of USD 7.67 trillion, a record 18-per cent increase over the past year. The list has been topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for the fourth year in a row. He has been the richest person in the world for 18 out of the past 23 years. There are nearly 20 people of Indian-origin who have made fortunes in various nations across the world. Here are top 10 picks from the list.
Mukesh Ambani at the 33rd spot with a net worth of $23.2 billion.
Oil and gas tycoon Mukesh Ambani sparked a price war in India’s hyper-competitive telecom market with the launch of 4G phone service Jio at the annual shareholder meeting of his Reliance Industries last September. It has notched up 100 million subscribers to date by offering free broadband and voice services. The $44.7 billion (revenue) Reliance Industries is locked in a legal battle with the government related to the recovery of costs associated with developing a gas field. Wife Nita, who sits on Reliance’s board, is a member of the International Olympic Committee. (Reliance owns Network18, a licensee of Forbes Media.)
Lakshmi Mittal on the 56th spot with a net worth of $16.4 billion
Indian steel baron Lakshmi Mittal regains his status as the world’s second richest Indian on an uptick in steel prices and demand. His ArcelorMittal, which had lost $7.9 billion in 2015, swung to a net profit of $1.8 billion in 2016, its first net profit since 2011. The world’s biggest steelmaker also got a reprieve from import tariffs on steel imposed by the U. S. and Europe and a one-time $832 million saving from a new labour contract signed last year with its U.S. workers. The company, along with Italian steel firm Marcegaglia, has put in a bid to acquire Italy’s loss making steel group Ilva, for an undisclosed price. Arcelor plans to build its new global headquarters in Luxembourg.
Hinduja brothers ranked 64th with $15.4 billion net worth
Four close-knit siblings, Srichand, Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok, control the Hinduja Group, a far-flung multinational empire with businesses ranging from trucks and lubricants to banking and cable television. The group was started by their father, Parmanand Deepchand Hinduja, who initially traded goods in the Sindh region of India (now Pakistan) then, moved to Iran in 1919, where the group was headquartered until his sons moved the base to London in 1979. The brothers own valuable real estate in London, including their home Carlton House Terrace and the historic Old War Office building in Whitehall. Srichand and Gopichand live in London and Prakash resides in Geneva. Youngest sibling Ashok oversees their Indian interests from Mumbai.
Pallonji Mistry ranked 77th with $14.3 billion net worth
Reclusive Indian-born tycoon Pallonji Mistry controls Mumbai-headquartered engineering and construction giant, 152-year-old Shapoorji Pallonji Group, which is run by his older son Shapoor. The family’s biggest asset is an 18.4% stake in Tata Sons, the holding outfit of the $103 billion (revenue) Tata Group, a conglomerate of more than 100 companies. Mistry’s younger son Cyrus is embroiled in a legal battle with the Tata group after he was suddenly ousted as chairman of Tata Sons, a position he had held since 2012.
Sri Prakash Lohia at the 288th spot with $ 5.4 billion net worth.
Sri Prakash Lohia and his father co-founded Indorama as a maker of spun yarn in 1976. It is now a petrochemicals powerhouse making a range of industrial products, including polyethylene, polypropylene and medical gloves. Lohia remains chairman but lives in London and has handed control largely to his son Amit, who runs the business. The company is expanding in Africa, where it has a new factory in Nigeria that produces fertilizer. Indorama is looking to increase its investment on the African continent to $4.2 billion, from $2 billion, by 2020. Lohia’s younger brother Aloke, also a billionaire, runs his own operations from Thailand. Lohia’s brother-in-law Lakshmi Mittal is a steel tycoon based in London.
Savitri Jindal and her family at the 303rd position with a net worth of $5.2 billion.
After declining last year, the fortune of steel and power clan, whose matriarch Savitri Jindal chairs the O.P Jindal Group, rose as steel prices recovered. Mumbai-based son Sajjan saw shares of his JSW Steel almost double in the past year. The company has joined a consortium that is bidding against fellow billionaire Lakshmi Mittal’s ArcelorMittal, to acquire Italian steelmaker Ilva. Last year, he agreed to buy a 1,000-megawatt thermal power unit for $750 million from his younger sibling Naveen’s Jindal Power & Steel, which is weighed down by $6.8 billion in debt.
Anil Ambani is ranked 745th with a net worth of $2.7 billion.
Younger Ambani sibling Anil Ambani orchestrated the merger of his Reliance Communication’s telecom business with that of rival Aircel, controlled by Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan. The combine, who awaits regulatory approvals, will be the country’s fourth-largest mobile phone operator. He’s also betting heavily on the defence sector; his Reliance Defence has inked several joint ventures of late including with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and France’s Dassault Aviation. Son Anmol, who works at Reliance Capital, was appointed to that company’s board last August.
Smita Crishna-Godrej from the Godrej clan is ranked 814th with a net worth of $2.6 billion
Smita Crishna-Godrej hails from the storied Godrej clan and has a one-fifth stake in the family assets. Her brother Jamshyd runs consumer goods firm Godrej & Boyce. Her husband Vijay,a well-known theatre actor, and daughter Nyrika work in the group. In 2014, she bought a heritage bungalow in south Mumbai that once belonged to Homi Bhabha, India’s atomic energy pioneer.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is ranked at 973rd position with net worth of $2.3 billion.
India’s richest self-made woman, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, returns to the Forbes billionaires ranks on rising shares of her listed Biocon, which have more than doubled in the past year. The company, Asia’s largest insulin producer, is aiming for a 10% share of the global market. Last year it launched a disposable insulin pen in Japan with partner FUJIFILM Pharma. In other good news, biosimilar drugs to treat certain cancers, codeveloped with U.S.-based Mylan, were accepted by both European and American regulators for review; Biocon also opened a $250 million insulin factory in Malaysia’s Johor region. News of these milestones lifted the stock. Mazumdar Shaw was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest civilian honor, for her outstanding contribution to bioscience.
Leena Tiwari is ranked at 1030th position with net worth of 2.1 billion.
Media-shy heir of pharma fortune, Leena Tewari, chairs privately held USV India, which is run by her husband, Prashant, an Indian Institute of Technology grad who studied mechanical engineering at Cornell University in the U. S. The $385 million (revenue) company was started by her late father as a joint venture with Revlon in 1961. USV specializes in diabetic and cardiovascular drugs, with a portfolio that spans biosimilar drugs, injectables and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Son Vilas, who founded a gaming outfit in Los Angeles, has a board seat.