Mukesh Ambani remains India's richest person to top the Forbes 2021 list. He has been topping the list since 2008 with a net worth of $92.7 billion.
Ambani recently outlined plans to pivot into renewable energy with a $10 billion investment by his Reliance Industries.
A soaring stock market propelled the combined wealth of members of the 2021 Forbes list of India's 100 Richest to a record $775 billion, after adding $257 billion -- a 50 per cent rise -- in the past 12 months.
In this bumper year, more than 80 per cent of the listees saw their fortunes increase, with 61 adding $1 billion or more.
Close to a fifth of the increase in the collective wealth of India's 100 richest came from infrastructure tycoon Gautam Adani, who ranks Number 2 for the third year in a row. Adani, who is the biggest gainer in both percentage and dollar terms, nearly tripled his fortune to $74.8 billion from $25.2 billion previously, as shares of all his listed companies soared.
At No. 3 with $31 billion is Shiv Nadar, founder of software giant HCL Technologies, who saw a $10.6 billion boost in his net worth from the country's buoyant tech sector.
Retailing magnate Radhakishan Damani retained the fourth spot with his net worth nearly doubling to $29.4 billion from $15.4 billion, as his supermarket chain Avenue Supermarts opened 22 new stores in the fiscal year ending March.
Pharma, chemicals sectors
India has administered over 870 million COVID-19 vaccine shots to date, thanks partly to Serum Institute of India, founded by vaccine billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla, who moves into the top five with a net worth of $19 billion. His privately held company makes Covishield under license from AstraZeneca and has other COVID-19 vaccines under development.
India's recovery from a deadly second wave of Covid-19, which broke out earlier this year, restored investor confidence in the world's sixth-largest economy.
There are six newcomers on this year's list, with half of them from the booming chemicals sector. They include Ashok Boob (No. 93, $2.3 billion) whose Clean Science and Technology listed in July; Deepak Mehta (No. 97, $2.05 billion) of Deepak Nitrite, and Yogesh Kothari (No. 100, $1.94 billion) of Alkyl Amines Chemicals.
Arvind Lal (No. 87, $2.55 billion), the executive chairman of diagnostics chain Dr Lal PathLabs, also debuted on the list after a pandemic-induced surge in testing caused shares of his company to double in the past year.
Returnees on list
The country's IPO rush returned property magnate and politician Mangal Prabhat Lodha (No. 42, $4.5 billion) to the ranks, following the April listing of his Macrotech Developers.
Among the four other returnees is Prathap Reddy (No. 88, $2.53 billion), whose listed hospital chain Apollo Hospitals Enterprise has been testing and treating COVID-19 patients.
11 drop off list
Eleven listees from last year dropped off, given the increased cut-off for gaining entry to this year's list. The minimum amount required to make this year's list was $1.94 billion, up from $1.33 billion last year.
Naazneen Karmali, Asia Wealth Editor and India Editor of Forbes Asia, said: "This year's list reflects India's resilience and can-do spirit even as Covid-19 extracted a heavy toll on both lives and livelihoods. Hopes of a V-shaped recovery fueled a stock market rally that propelled the fortunes of India's wealthiest to new heights. With the minimum net worth to make the ranks approaching $2 billion, the top 100 club is getting more exclusive."
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