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India's richest lost 20 percent of wealth: Forbes

Thursday, 27 October 2011, 01:04 Hrs
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New York: Despite the Indian economy growing at over 7.5 percent the top 100 rich in the country lost 20 percent of their wealth, which was down to $241 billion in the latest ranking of Forbes magazine from $300 billion.

"For the fourth year in a row, Mukesh Ambani, whose Reliance Industries struck a $7.2-billion deal with BP, holds the top spot with a net worth of $22.6 billion, despite losing $4.4 billion," the magazine said.

"At No 2, though $6.9 billion less well off than last year, is again steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal with $19.2 billion. Tech tycoon Azim Premji of Wipro remains at No 3 even after donating shares worth $2 billion to his charitable trust, which made him one of Asia's top philanthropists."

The magazine said the top 10 richest were collectively worth $113.6 billion, down from $150 billion last year. The biggest loser was Anil Ambani, worth $7.4 billion less than last year, as he also slipped out of the top 10 for the first time since his 2004 debut.

"Only 19 of the 85 who returned to the ranks are better off. The biggest gainer in percentage terms is motorcycle king Brijmohan Lall Munjal, who broke off a 26-year pairing with Honda Motors, buying out its stake at nearly half the market price," said the magazine.

"Dilip Shanghvi whose Sun Pharmaceuticals is India's most valuable pharma firm, added $1.5 billion to his wealth, the biggest gain in dollar terms."

Among the 14 newcomers is M.G. George Muthoot who built a business around the craze for gold among middle-class Indians. Another entrant is V.G. Siddhartha, who founded and runs Cafe Coffee Day, a 1,200-store chain that's India's answer to Starbucks.

The father-son duo of Kapil and Rahul Bhatia of InterGlobe Enterprises also made their debut after their budget carrier IndiGo gained altitude to become India's third-largest and most profitable airline.

This year, a fortune of $370 million was needed to make the cut, down from $500 million a year ago. The net-worth estimates are a snapshot of wealth based on share prices and exchange rates Oct. 12. Private companies were valued by comparing them with their listed peers.

This India ranking, unlike the world's billionaires list, has been broadened to include family fortunes such as those of Anand Burman and Murali Divi, who are here listed on the India list but won't qualify for the worldwide rankings to be published in March.

Here are the top 10 on the list (with net worth in $ million):

* Mukesh Ambani ($22,600)

* Lakshmi Mittal ($19,200)

* Azim Premji ($13,000)

* Shashi and Ravi Ruia ($10,200)

* Savitri Jindal ($9,500)

* Sunil Mittal ($8,800)

* Gautam Adani ($8,200)

* Kumar Mangalam Birla ($7,700)

* Pallonji Mistry ($7,600)

* Adi Godrej ($6,800)
Source: IANS
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