Published on August 8, 2008
Two high-growth industries, technology and pharmaceuticals, have created half of India's top 40 fortunes. Nineteen of the 40 richest started entirely from scratch. While Mumbai is home to 40% of list members, others hail from emerging hot spots like Bangalore and Delhi. A minimum net worth of $305 million was needed to make the cut for the list. Eleven list members made their money in technology, including six who were cofounders of software firm Infosys Technologies. Another nine owe their fortunes to pharmaceuticals. Several produce and sell generics overseas--like Yusuf Hamied, who heads leading generics producer Cipla. Biotech pioneer Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the sole female on the list.
Two high-growth industries, technology and pharmaceuticals, have created half of India's top 40 fortunes. Nineteen of the 40 richest started entirely from scratch. While Mumbai is home to 40% of list members, others hail from emerging hot spots like Bangalore and Delhi. A minimum net worth of $305 million was needed to make the cut for the list.
Eleven list members made their money in technology, including six who were cofounders of software firm Infosys Technologies. Another nine owe their fortunes to pharmaceuticals. Several produce and sell generics overseas--like Yusuf Hamied, who heads leading generics producer Cipla. Biotech pioneer Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the sole female on the list.
#1 Lakshmi Mittal $11.2 billion / London 54 . Married . 2 Children . This steel titan is set to control the world's largest steel company when his Ispat International and LNM Holdings acquire International Steel. Combined entity will be $30 billion (sales) Mittal Steel, 88%-owned by Mittal himself. Associated Companies: spat International
#2 Azim Premji $10.0 billion / Bangalore 59 . Married . 2 Children . Owns 84% of $1.3 billion (sales) Wipro, India's second-biggest InfoTech company. Riding outsourcing wave. Recently traded his eight-year-old Ford Escort for a new Toyota Corolla. Associated Companies :Wipro
#3 Mukesh & Anil Ambani $6.4 billion / Mumbai Two years after the death of their father, Reliance group's founder Dhirubhai Ambani, brothers are feuding: Older son Mukesh reportedly wants control of the $22 billion (sales) diversified group. News of rift, which became public in November, sent stock tumbling. Associated Companies: Reliance Industries
#4 Kumar Mangalam Birla $3.5 billion / Mumbai 37 . Married . 3 Children . Fourth-generation head of $6 billion (sales) commodities conglomerate, with operations in nine countries, including palm oil in Malaysia. India's largest cement producer. Associated Companies :Hindalco Industries
#5 Pallonji Mistry $2.9 billion / Mumbai 75 . Married . 4 Children . Construction tycoon benefiting from 18.4% stake in Tata Sons, holding company of Tata conglomerate. Newly listed Tata Consultancy Services recently worth $13 billion. Rarely seen in public
#6 Sunil Mittal $2.6 billion / Delhi 47 . Married . 3 Children . His Bharti group, the country's largest GSM-based cellular service provider, is benefiting from India's booming middle class. New venture to export fruits and vegetables with the Rothschild family. Associated Companies :Bharti Tele-Ventures
#7 Shiv Nadar $2.3 billion / Delhi 59 . Married . 1 Child . From modest beginnings in his garage, built and still chairs $1.2 billion (revenues) HCL Group, a leading InfoTech provider. Commutes between California and Delhi. Associated Companies : HCL Group
#8 Adi Godrej $1.9 billion / Mumbai 62 . Married . 3 Children Third generation to head $1 billion (sales) Godrej Group, whose businesses include soaps, hair dyes, office furniture and mosquito repellent. One of Mumbai's biggest landowners, has benefited from rising real estate prices. Associated Companies: Godrej
#9 Malvinder & Shivinder Mohan Singh $1.5 billion / Delhi Two brothers inherited family's 33.5% stake in leading pharmaceuticals firm Ranbaxy Laboratories five years ago because of the premature death of their dynamic father, Parvinder Singh. Older brother Malvinder was recently named to its board, while Shivinder looks after a subsidiary. Associated Companies : Ranbaxy
#9 Dilip Shanghvi $1.5 billion / Mumbai 49 . Married . 2 Children . With loan from his father started manufacturing psychiatric drugs in 1983. His Sun Pharmaceuticals has a stake in Caraco Pharmaceutical Labs, a U.S. generic drug company. Associated Companies : Sun Pharmaceuticals
#11 Anil Agarwal $1.2 billion / London/Mumbai 51 . Married . 2 Children . Turned small scrap metal business into metals and mining company with copper, zinc and aluminum assets. Listed his Vedanta Resources on the London Stock Exchange last year, raising $825 million.
#12 Shashi & Ravi Ruia $1.1 billion / Mumbai Brothers turned modest inheritance into $4.4 billion (assets) Essar Group with interests in steel, shipping, power, construction and telecom. Dragged down by debt but now rebounding. Associated Companies : Essar Group
#13 Om Prakash Jindal $1.0 billion / Delhi 74 . Married . 9 Children . Founder of $3 billion (sales) Jindal Group, started out trading steel pipes. Carved up steel and-power conglomerate among four sons who run their groups independently. Associated Companies : Jindal Group
#14 Rahul Bajaj $850 million / Pune 66 . Married . 3 Children . Since 1965 has run $1.1 billion (sales) Bajaj Auto, flagship of Bajaj Group founded by his grandfather, a confidante of Mahatma Gandhi. Tensions with estranged brother Shishir threaten to divide this fortune. Associated Companies : Bajaj Group
#15 N R Narayana Murthy $825 million / Bangalore 58 . Married . 2 Children . Son of a small-town schoolteacher, he and six partners founded $1 billion (sales) Infosys Technologies, now a leading software firm benefiting from outsourcing boom. Remains chairman. Associated Companies : Infosys Technologies
#16 Subhash Chandra $760 million / Mumbai 54 . Married . 3 Children . Former rice trader, launched Zee TV in 1992.Now reaches 250 million viewers. At peak, worth $3 billion. Stock never recovered. After a parade of professionals, entrusted operations to relatives. Other interests: packaging, theme parks. Associated Companies : Zee Network
#16 Yusuf Hamied $760 million / Mumbai 68 . Married . Heads leading generics producer Cipla, founded by his father in 1935.With brother, owns 41% of company. Nicknamed "drug pirate" for knocking off AIDS drugs and selling them at steep discount. Runs free cancer hospital. Associated Companies : Cipla Pharma.
#16 Brijmohan Lall Munjal $760 million / Delhi 81 . Married . 4 Children . Started out making bicycle parts. Now his $2 billion (sales) Hero Group is world's biggest bicycle producer; Honda's Indian partner for motorcycles. Associated Companies : Hero Group
#19 Habil Khorakiwala $630 million / Mumbai 62 . Married . 3 Children . Has run Wockhardt, pharmaceutical offshoot of family's retail group, since 1966. Over half of its revenues come from selling cheap generics overseas. Established U.S. subsidiary this year and plans to seek U.S. listing. Owns a chain of specialty hospitals .
#20 Vivek Burman $600 million / Delhi 64 . Married . 2 Children . Chairman of 120-year-old Dabur, household name in ayurvedic products ranging from hair oils and fruit juices to cancer drugs. Founded by his great-grandfather, a doctor who concocted herbal cures for poor villagers. Associated Companies : Dabur
#21 Nandan Nilekani $570 million / Bangalore 49 . Married . 2 Children Infosys cofounder and chief executive. Pushing for better governance in Bangalore. Associated Companies : Infosys Technologies
#22 S Gopalakrishnan $555 million / Bangalore 50 . Married . 1 Child . Infosys cofounder and chief operating officer. Chairs Infosys Consulting, U.S.-based arm launched this year. Associated Companies : Infosys Technologies
#23 N S Raghavan $550 million / Bangalore 59 . Married . 2 Children . Infosys cofounder, retired to pursue charity work. Chairs entrepreneurial studies center and founded nonprofit for the mentally challenged. Associated Companies : Infosys Technologies
#24 Narendra Patni $530 million / Boston/Mumbai 62 . Married . 2 Children . MIT graduate, cofounded Patni Computer Systems with his two brothers in 1978. Still runs the group, which went public last year and acquired California-based outfit Cymbal Corp. in October. Fancies red wine and BMWs. Associated Companies : Patni Computer Systems
#24 Ajay Piramal $530 million / Mumbai 49 . Married . 2 Children . Inherited fading textile empire at age 28. Expanded into pharmaceuticals by acquiring local operations of international drug companies pulling out of India, creating flagship company Nicholas Piramal. Opened Mumbai's first shopping mall.
#26 Vijay Mallya $510 million / Bangalore 49 . Married . 3 Children . Liquor tycoon, controls and runs the UB Group, India's largest spirits marketer. Launching Kingfisher Airline, named after UB's bestselling beer. Owns racehorses, vintage cars, private jets and yachts. Associated Companies : UB Group
#26 Pankaj Patel $510 million / Ahmedabad 53 . Married . 2 Children . Runs generic drug company Zydus Cadila. His father and partner cofounded Cadila 52 years ago. Two families split in 1995. Has since been growing through acquisitions. Associated Companies : Zydus Cadila.
#28 Baba Kalyani $500 million / Pune 55 . Married . 1 Child . Second generation to head $900 million (sales) Kalyani group, whose Bharat Forge is Asia's largest forging company. Makes auto parts and specialty steels with, among others, Germany's Bosch. Associated Companies : Kalyani Group.
#29 B Ramalinga Raju $495 million / Hyderabad 49 . Married . 2 Children . Branched out from family construction business in 1987 to start a software shop. His NYSE listed Satyam Computer is now one of India's top InfoTech companies. Associated Companies : Satyam Computers.
#30 Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw $455 million / Bangalore 51 . Married . India's biotech pioneer, co-founded Biocon in 1978. Now India's richest woman, thanks to group's March public offering. Husband John Shaw has his own stake, worth $275 million. Associated Companies : Bio Con.
#31 Karsanbhai Patel $435 million / Ahmedabad 60 . Married . 3 Children . Onetime struggling chemist, started mixing detergent in his backyard in 1969. Now his Nirma brand is India's biggest, outselling Unilever and Procter & Gamble. His two sons run the business. Associated Companies : Nirma.
#32 K Dinesh $410 million / Bangalore 50 . Married . 2 Children . Infosys cofounder previously managed projects in the U.S. Now heads several departments, including human resources and information systems. Associated Companies : Infosys Technologies
#33 Uday Kotak $380 million / Mumbai 45 . Married . 2 Children . Founded finance firm in 1985. A leading investment banking firm, it recently renamed itself Kotak Mahindra Bank and moved into commercial banking. Has joint ventures with Goldman Sachs and Ford Credit. He plays the sitar. Associated Companies : Kotak.
#34 S D Shibulal $370 million / Boston 49 . Married . 2 Children . Infosys cofounder. Heads global customer delivery. Started charity with wife to help poor children. Associated Companies : Infosys Technologies
#35 K Anji Reddy $350 million / Hyderabad 63 . Married . A farmer's son, founded Dr. Reddy's Laboratories in 1984. Now India's second-largest maker of generic drugs. Runs company with son and son-in-law. Associated Companies : Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories
#35 Narotam Sekhsaria $350 million / Mumbai 55 . Married . 2 Children . Former cotton trader Sekhsaria and brother-in-law Suresh Neotia co-founded Gujarat Ambuja Cements in 1986, one of India's biggest cement producers. Associated Companies : Gujarat Ambuja Cements
#37 Jaiprakash Gaur $340 million / Delhi 73 . Married . 5 Children . Resigned from government job to start a construction company in 1972. Now his $650 million (sales) Jaypee Group builds bridges, expressways, dams, even golf course. Also has interests in hotels, cement, education and technology. Associated Companies : Gaypee Group
#38 Shyam & Hari Bhartia $315 million / Delhi Brothers converted family's commodities business into diversified group with interests in speciality chemicals, pharmaceuticals, bioinformatics, oil and gas and Domino's Pizza franchise. Shyam is married to publishing heiress.
#38 Keshub Mahindra $315 million / Mumbai 81 . Married . 3 Children . Chairman of Mahindra Group, founded by his father and uncle. Its Mahindra & Mahindr is India's largest tractormaker. Also has interests in hotels, telecom, real estate, software and financial services. Nephew Anand now in charge. Associated Companies : Mahindra & Mahindra
#40 Desh Bandhu Gupta $305 million / Mumbai 67 . Married . 5 Children . Former chemistry teacher, borrowed $120 from his wife and bought tiny vitamin company, Lupin, in 1968. Now one of India's leading pharmaceuticals and world leader in anti-tuberculosis drugs. Wife Manju and daughter Vinita sit on board. Associated Companies : Lupin pharmaceuticals
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