Indian business tycoon Gautam Adani has reportedly surpassed France’s Bernard Arnault to become the world’s third richest person.
Adani, 60, is the founder and current chairman of the Adani Group, one of India’s top conglomerates with stakes in port development and operations, aerospace and military defense, thermal power generation and solar manufacturing, among other areas.
As of Aug. 30, Adani is estimated to be worth $137.4 billion, trailing behind Tesla’s Elon Musk ($251 billion) and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos ($153 billion) in Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. This makes him the first Asian to join the tracker’s top three.
Adani was born in Ahmedabad in the Indian state of Gujarat. As a teenager, he dropped out of college, moved to Mumbai and began working as a diamond trader.
He returned home in 1981 and began to import polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for his brother’s plastic business. By 1988, he founded Adani Enterprises, his flagship company, to trade commodities.
Adani, like other billionaires, saw his wealth grow exponentially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He first overtook fellow Indian mogul Mukesh Ambani as Asia’s richest person in February, then Bill Gates in the Bloomberg Index last month before passing Arnault this week.
However, his ascent in the ranking also comes after Gates announced a $20 billion donation to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Microsoft founder is currently the world’s fifth richest person with an estimated net worth of $117 billion.
Adani Group’s growth has also raised concerns for being predominantly funded by debt, having “opaque shareholder structures” and a lack of analyst coverage, Bloomberg noted. Despite these issues, shares have surged, with Adani Enterprises seeing a record 1.7% spike on Tuesday.
Adani also made headlines last week after announcing a hostile bid to take over NDTV, one of India’s largest broadcasters, through his media arm AMG Media Networks. Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Pugalia said AMG “seeks to empower Indian citizens, consumers and those interested in India, with information and knowledge.”
Featured Image via Adani Group