India's Richest 2019: Adani moves up eight spots

Gautam Adani has made significant gains as he enters the airport management business and expands his gas distribution franchise

Samar Srivastava
Published: Nov 15, 2019 09:20:01 AM IST
Updated: Nov 15, 2019 01:54:59 PM IST

After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.

g_123593_gautam_adani_280x210.jpgImage: Amit Dave / Reuters

In the last year, Gautam Adani has taken over airports, expanded his gas distribution business in cities and finally secured permissions to mine coal in Australia. All this while his mainstay business of ports continued to chug along. The net result: A $3.8 billion increase in wealth that takes him up eight spots to No 2 on the 2019 Forbes India Rich List.

Over the next year, Adani has positioned his businesses to take advantage of opportunities to serve the Indian consumer. In August 2019, he incorporated Adani Airports to take over the operations of Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru airports. There are also indications that he is interested in GVK’s stake in Mumbai airport. Action could be expected on that front soon.

The city gas business has been another bright spot. Adani Gas recently secured rights to set up operations in various geographical areas in the country, to lay pipelines for cooking gas in homes as well as CNG pumps for vehicles. Adani Gas’s joint venture with Indian Oil secured rights for another nine geographical areas. He aims to expand while keeping his balance sheet light. The heavy capital expenditure requirements that will come up over the next decade for Adani Gas will be shared with French energy major Total, which bought a 37 percent stake in Adani Gas in October.

(This story appears in the 27 December, 2019 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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