New York: Petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries’ chief Mukesh Ambani has clinched the title of the world’s richest Indian from NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, even as both of them saw their fortunes dwindle to less than half in a year, US magazine Forbes has said.
With a net worth of $19.5 billion, Mukesh Ambani has been ranked seventh in the global list, topped by software czar and Microsoft founder Bill Gates ($40 billion). Mukesh, who has lost more than $23 billion, was ranked at fifth position last year.
Mukesh is followed by Lakshmi Mittal at the eighth place with a fortune of $19.3 billion. Mittal, who has lost over $25 billion in a year, was ranked ahead of Mukesh at the fourth position in Forbes’ 2008 list.
After Mukesh Ambani and Lakshmi Mittal, the next Indian on the list -- Anil Ambani -- comes far below at the 34th position with a net worth of $10.1 billion.
Ambani’s rank has nosedived from the sixth place last year with a loss of close to $32 billion in this period.
Forbes said that Anil Ambani, last year’s biggest gainer in terms of wealth, has emerged as the biggest loser.
KP Singh, who also figured among top 10 last year, slipped to 98th position with his net worth taking a big hit of $25 billion to just $5 billion.
The cumulative wealth of Indian billionaires has been eroded by $180 billion and now stands at about $109 billion.
The Indian presence has more than halved (from 53 a year ago) in the shrinking club of world’s billionaires and the league of 10 richest persons in the world now includes just two Indians, down from four a year ago.
Interestingly, this year there are four Indians among the 10 biggest losers -- Anil Ambani, Lakshmi Mittal, KP Singh and Mukesh Ambani -- the same persons who were among the world’s 10 richest last year.
There are, in fact, only two resident Indians among the 50 richest persons in the world, as Mittal is an Indian citizen, but resides in the UK.
As many as 29 Indians have moved out of the world’s billionaires club. “Among the notable drop-offs are flamboyant liquor tycoon (Vijay Mallya), India’s wind man (Tulsi Tanti) and a good friend of the country’s richest man Mukesh Ambani (Anand Jain),” Forbes said.
Other high-profile Indian exits include Jet’s Naresh Goyal, Unitech’s Ramesh Chandra, Indiabulls’ Sameer Gehlaut, commodity bourse MCX’s Jignesh Shah, investment banker Nimesh Kampani, Gautam Thapar and Gracias Saldanha.