Ambani Mukesh, the richest person in Asia, joined Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in the world’s most exclusive wealth club, with a fortune of at least $100 billion.
The president of Reliance Industries, India, joined the select group of 11 men when the shares of his conglomerate reached a record on Friday (8). His fortune is now valued at $100.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The 64-year-old Indian’s wealth has increased by $23.8 billion this year alone.
Since inheriting the oil refining and petrochemical business from his late father’s empire in 2005, Ambani has sought to transform the energy giant into a retail, technology and e-commerce titan. Its telecommunications unit, which started operating in 2016, is now the dominant operator in the Indian market. Its retail and technology ventures raised about $27 billion last year, selling shares to investors such as Facebook, Google, KKR and Silver Lake.
Ambani revealed an ambitious bet on green energy in June, with a planned investment of around $10 billion over three years. And last month, the mogul said his company would “aggressively” pursue cheaper green hydrogen production. The plan is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitions to turn India into a global manufacturing hub for cleaner fuel – with intentions to combat climate change as well as reduce India’s third-largest energy imports world’s oil consumer.
While Ambani’s announcement was seen by some as an acknowledgment that his group needs to look beyond oil to secure its future, fossil fuel still plays a central role at Reliance, accounting for nearly 60% of its annual US$ revenue. 73 billion. The petrochemical business is now a separate unit, and negotiations are underway to obtain Saudi Arabian Oil as an investor.
“Mukesh Ambani is at the forefront of creating new businesses with new emerging technologies,” said Chakri Lokapriya, chief investment officer at TCG Asset Management Co. in Mumbai. “Building businesses at scale with speed brings execution challenges, but he has demonstrated his capabilities.”
Reliance’s history dates back to the late 1960s, when Dhirubhai Ambani, who started out as a gas station attendant in Yemen, began transforming his polyester business into a vast empire. When he died of a stroke in 2002 without leaving a will, a succession rivalry erupted between his two sons, Mukesh and Anil, 62, which was eventually resolved by their mother, Kokilaben, in 2005.
Under the deal, Mukesh took control of core oil refining and petrochemical businesses, while his brother took on newer areas such as power generation, financial services and telecommunications. Anil – who was once a billionaire – told a London court last year that his net worth was “zero”.
View the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking of ultra-rich
- Elon Musk (Tesla) – US$222.1 billion
- Jeff Bezos (Amazon) – US$190.8 billion
- Bernard Arnault (LVMH) – US$ 155.6 billion
- bill Gates (Microsoft) – US$ 127.9 billion
- Larry Page (Google) – US$124.5 billion
- Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) – US$ 123.0 billion
- Sergey Brin (Google) – US$ 120.1 billion
- Larry Ellison (Oracle) – US$ 108.3 billion
- Steve Ballmer (Microsoft) – US$ 105.7 billion
- Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) – $103.4 billion
- Ambani Mukesh (Reliance) – US$ 100.6 billion