Forbes rankings: India has 55 billionaires

The number of Indian billionaires swelled 15 per cent to 55 and the total number including billionaires of Indian origin residing in other countries rose to 66 as per the latest global ranking of the super-rich by Forbes. Last year there were 48 Indian billionaires besides nine others of Indian origin residing in other countries.

The Indian super rich list, however, paled in comparison with the billionaires from China (not counting Hong Kong) and Russia where there were 122 and 110 billionaires, respectively. Only Brazil with 46 billionaires had lower number than India among the BRIC nations, representing the set of four top emerging markets.

Reliance Industries’ chief Mukesh Ambani continued to lead the list followed by Lakshmi Mittal (ArcelorMittal), Azim Premji (Wipro), Dilip Shangvi (Sun Pharma) and Shashi and Ravi Ruia (Essar) among the top five. The Indian fat cats, who once occupied four slots in the top ten list of global billionaires (2008), has fallen down the years with Ambani the leader of the pack at #22 slot.

Some of the new names which figured in the billionaires list as against the India’s rich list published separately last October, include MA Yusuff Ali (LuLu Group), Ravi Jaipuria (RJ Corp), Joy Alukkas (Joyalukkas), Nirav Modi (jeweller), T.S. Kalyanaraman (Kalyan Jewellers), Jitendra Virwani (Embassy Property) and Baba Kalyani (Kalyani Forge).

Most of these are industrialists owning privately held businesses spread across sectors such as jewellery, retail, soft drinks and realty. This could partly be due to the rise in price of gold and other precious metals.

Billionaires of Indian origin who are residing in other countries include names like Pallonji Mistry (the largest shareholder of Tata Sons), Ananda Krishnan, Hindujas, K Ram Shriram, Vinod Khosla, Ashok Hiranandani, SP Lohia, Ashok Lohia, Manoj Bhargava, Bharat Desai and Romesh Wadhwani

The global list of billionaires rose over 16 per cent from 1,226 in 2012 to 1,426 in the latest Forbes rankings of super-rich.

While Carlos Slim maintained his position as the richest man with wealth of $73 billion (matching this age!), Microsoft founder Bill Gates retained the number two spot. Both of them saw a bump up in their individual wealth over 2012.

Fashion retailer Zara’s Amacio Ortega was among the top gainers moving from 5th to 3rd spot with wealth rising from $37 billion to $57 billion over the past year. Warren Buffet slipped a notch even as his wealth rose and Oracle’s Larry Ellison moved up to the fifth spot pushing out Bernard Arnault & family out of the top five list to the tenth spot with their wealth declining over a quarter.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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