India’s super-rich club gets richer by 10 billionaires

India’s super-rich club gets richer by 10 billionaires, wealth up 33% in 2020

The top billionaires of India now hoard a combined wealth of $483 billion, which is a fifth of India's GDP

Reliance Industries MD Chairman Mukesh Ambani. Credit: Bloomberg

Despite the year of a debilitating pandemic, the super-rich club in India surprised many by growing to an all-time high of 90 billionaires this year, from 80 at the end of 2019.

Led by Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, the ultra-rich of India now hoard a combined wealth of $483 billion, registering a 33 per cent increase over last year. This is also equal to a fifth of India’s annual estimated gross domestic product (GDP).

India’s GDP itself is expected to fall by 9.6 per cent in FY21, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

These numbers are based on an analysis by Business Standard of the promoters’ stakes and market cap of 807 companies that are part of BSE500, BSE Mid-cap or BSE Small-cap index.

Ambani, on top of the list, has a net worth of $87.5 billion. The business magnate has added significantly to his wealth in 2020 which is up nearly 37 per cent in the past year, as he added $410 million per week. To draw a comparison, Ambani's wealth had shot up by 47 per cent in 2019.

On the second place comes the Gautam Adani family of the Adani Group, which saw its wealth more than double in 2020, registering the sharpest rise in percentage terms.

The Adani Group stocks including Adani Green, Adani Ports & SEZ and Adani Enterprises saw a big rally, which led the group’s market cap to more than double its value last year. 

Technology bigwigs like Azim Premji of Wipro, Shiv Nadar of HCL and founders of Infosys saw their wealth go up by at least 55 per cent in 2020 as investors remained optimistic about the companies due to their work-from-home policies. Baba Ramdev and business partner Acharya Balkrishna saw the biggest increase in their wealth, in terms of percentage, and their wealth skyrocketed from around Rs 100 crore at the end of 2019 to nearly Rs 20,000 crore

Others to see an increase in wealth include Asian Paints (48 per cent), Radhakishan Damani of Avenue Supermart (41 per cent), Dilip Shanghvi of Sun Pharma (36 per cent), and Sunil Mittal (21 per cent).

India’s 10 richest promoters added $76 billion to their wealth this year, and they now account for 44 per cent of the total promoter wealth in India.