Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.
THE BIGGEST GAINERS
KUSHAL PAL SINGH, DLF
+ $2.20 bln (84.62%)
Rank 22; 12 places
Kushal Pal Singh, who set up India’s largest real estate developer DLF, is the highest gainer in the 2016 Forbes India Rich List in terms of percentage rise in wealth—it is up to $4.8 billion in 2016 from $2.6 billion in 2015. The jump in fortunes has been fuelled by the rise in the DLF stock—up 26.8 percent since September, 2015—after the board had last year cleared a proposal through which the promoters would sell 40 percent of their stake in commercial property development arm DLF Cyber City Developers to institutional investors. The proceeds of the stake sale—estimated to be Rs 12,000 crore—would be used to help the company lower its debt of Rs 22,487 crore for the quarter ending June 30, 2016. The process has started; Blackstone Group and GIC of Singapore are believed to be among the bidders.
AJAY PIRAMAL, Piramal Group
+$1.47 bln (82.58%)
Rank 35; 27 places
Ajay Piramal, chairman of the diversified $3.2 billion Piramal Group, is the second highest gainer in the 2016 Forbes India Rich List, both in terms of rank (he was No. 62 in 2015) and in terms of percentage rise in wealth ($ 1.78 billion in 2015). His fortunes have soared as the shares of his flagship and holding company Piramal Enterprises Ltd (PEL) have risen (around 116.16 percent since September last year) on the possibility that its financial services business could be spun off and listed separately in coming years. The financial services arm is involved in wholesale lending to real estate projects across major cities, at a time when others have shied away due to a sluggish growth trajectory. (See Eye on the Prize, page 104)
VINOD & ANIL RAI GUPTA, Havells India
+$960 mln (61.54%)
Rank 46; 28 places
Vinod and Anil Rai Gupta are the highest gainers by rank in the 2016 Forbes India Rich List, rising 28 places this year to No. 46. Vinod is the wife of Qimat Rai Gupta, who passed away in November 2014, and first appeared in the list in 2015 after inheriting her husband’s shares in electricals firm Havells India. The company has seen a steady pace of growth across all the main segments of switchgears, cables, consumer durables and lighting. In December last year, Havells agreed to sell 80 percent stake in European light maker Sylvania to China’s Shanghai Feilo Acoustics for $205 million and the balance over the next 3 to 5 years.
ASHWIN DANI, Asian Paints
+$ 1.1 bln (50%)
Rank 34; 9 places
The paints tycoon is the non-executive vice chairman of Asian Paints, which was founded by his father and three others in 1942. He, along with Benu Gopal Bangur of Shree Cements, is among the 15 on the list who have added over $1 billion to their wealth over the previous year. Reason: Asian Paints’ stock has risen smartly this year—up 46.5 percent since September last year—backed by strong earnings growth. Factors like an increase in residential and non-residential construction spending, besides gains in manufacturing output and low raw material costs, have spurred the growth of paint companies in India over the past year.
VIVEK CHAAND SEHGAL, Motherson Group
+$ 1.1 bln (44%)
Rank 31; 5 places
The co-founder of the $7.2-billion Samvardhana Motherson Group got a boost as net profits of the group’s flagship firm Motherson Sumi Systems rose by 36 percent in FY16, to Rs 1,796 crore, which led to a 19.17 percent jump (since September last year) in the company’s stock price. Last month, Motherson Sumi had raised Rs 1,993.44 crore through the issuance of 6.28 crore shares to qualified institutional buyers.
This auto-parts company is now eyeing the North American region and China for further growth for its businesses.
HARSH MARIWALA, Marico
+$1.05 bln (40.54%)
Rank 30; 5 places
This consumer goods veteran is amongst the 15 billionaires who has seen an over $1 billion rise in wealth in the year, backed by a 26 percent jump in consolidated net profit for his listed Marico for FY16, at Rs 724.79 crore on revenues of Rs 6,132 crore. Its best-selling brands include Saffola cooking oil and Parachute hair oil. The company continues to bet on India’s urban consumption growth story and also expects rural demand to revive in FY2017. Mariwala’s son Rishabh operates the family office, Sharrp Ventures, which looks after the family’s investments across asset classes (equity, real estate, debt and also some seed, venture capital and private equity opportunities) and is also the co-founder at Soap Opera N More, started by his mother Archana Mariwala, which sells niche handmade soaps.
THE BIGGEST LOSERS
MALVINDER & SHIVINDER SINGH, Fortis Healthcare
-$390 mln (-22.03%)
Rank 92; 29 places
Fortunes continue to wane for the two brothers in the Forbes India Rich list for the fourth successive year; this time, they have seen their sharpest year-on-year percentage fall in both wealth and rank, dropping to 92 from 63 last year. They were ranked 37 in 2014 and 26 in 2013. This year, a Singapore arbitration court imposed a $390 million fine on them for allegedly suppressing and misrepresenting facts when they sold their pharma firm, Ranbaxy Laboratories, to Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo eight years ago. (Dilip Shanghvi’s Sun Pharma took a controlling stake in Ranbaxy in 2014.) Malvinder and Shivinder have denied any wrongdoing and are contesting the ruling in Singapore and in India. The brothers have instead focussed on building their health care services businesses through Fortis Healthcare, which was set up in 2001. Last year, Shivinder gave up his business responsibilities at Fortis to focus on community spiritual work at Radha Soami Satsang Beas, to which the family is linked.