Kingfisher Airlines’ woes have led to UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya losing his billionaire tag in the Forbes India billionaires list. Mallya’s rank slipped to 73rd from 49th last year.
The biggest gainer in the list was Sun Pharmaceuticals Chairman Dilip Shanghvi, who moved into the list of the top five billionaires, as his company’s share prices soared 48 per cent in the last one year. A prominent re-entry into the ranks of billionaires was that of Wockhardt Chairman Habil Khorakiwala, whose net worth stood at $1.8 billion.
“The king of good times (as Mallya is known) is having nothing but bad times lately. His (Mallya’s) Kingfisher Airlines, weighed down by what is believed to be $2 billion of debt, had its licence suspended in mid-October, after it apparently failed to address the Indian regulator’s concern on its ability to operate,” Forbes said. With Mallya set to sell his stake in United Spirits to Diaggio, his personal wealth is expected to fall further. Compared with his wealth of $1.1 billion according to the Forbes list of billionaires in 2011, Mallya’s wealth now stands at $800 million.
With combined wealth of $21 billion, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, continued to be at the top of the list, despite his fortune sliding for three consecutive years. ArcelorMittal Chairman Lakshmi N Mittal held on to the second slot, while Wipro Chairman Azim Premji was ranked third.
Pallonji Mistry, who has divided his wealth between his sons, Tata Sons Deputy Chairman Cyrus Mistry, and Shapoor Mistry, is ranked fourth, with combined wealth of $9.8 billion.
Bharti group Chairman Sunil Mittal and Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani moved out of the top-10 list.
This year’s list is a reflection of the country’s economy, as scandals and corruption cases corroded the wealth of telecom and mining companies.
The slowdown in the economy in the last one year also reduced the wealth of many billionaires, with Mukesh Ambani and Lakshmi Mittal losing $1.6 billion and $ 3 billion, respectively.
The net worth of Indian entrepreneurs rose 3.7 per cent to $250 billion, compared with $241 billion last year. Among the young stars of corporate India in the list was 40-year-old Ramesh Pai, promoter of Manipal group, with wealth of $975 million. This year’s list includes 61 billionaires, four more than in 2011.