Ambani's week of treble triumphs
For Asia's richest man Mukesh Ambani, it has been a week of treble triumphs.
As the net worth of Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries (RIL), has soared to $64.5 billion, making him the only Asian tycoon in the exclusive club of the world's top 10 richest people, his company has entered a new league of wealth. RIL became the first Indian company to enter the exclusive club of $150 billion in market capitalisation among the world's most valuable companies, and is now ranked 58 on the list.
In the process, RIL has also become net-debt free, nearly nine month ahead of schedule. In March 2020, it had reported a net debt of 21 billion. Since then, it has raised $22.15 billion through stake sales in its digital services arm, Jio Platforms Ltd, and $7 billion through rights issue that was oversubscribed 1.6 times.
"I have fulfilled my promise to the shareholders by making Reliance net debt free much before our original schedule of March 31, 2021," Ambani said in a statement. He assured shareholders that in its 'golden decade', RIL will set even more ambitious growth goals and achieve them.
The net worth Ambani has jumped to $64.5 billion, making him the only Asian tycoon in the exclusive club of the world's top 10 richest people. He overtook Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp and France's Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the wealthiest woman, to reach the No. 9 spot.
Ambani, who owns 42 per cent of Reliance, has benefited from a flurry of investment into the company's digital unit, Jio Platforms, that Reliance said has made it net-debt free ahead of a March 2021 target. The shares of the Indian conglomerate have doubled from a low in March, just as other billionaires on the list have been hit by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
While the Indian economy "has been nearly decimated" during the lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19, Ambani's companies (particularly the telecom giant Jio) have prospered, and his personal wealth has increased substantially," said Dr Jayati Ghosh, chair of the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
In the exclusive club of $150 billion market cap companies, RIL is now ahead of global leaders like Vanguard, Unilever, China Mobile, McDonalds, AstraZeneca, T Mobile, Amgen, Costco, Bank of China, Sanofi, Accenture, Royal Dutch Shell, Bristol Myer Squibb, Philip Morris, BHP group, Texas Instruments, Invesco, American Tower, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and IBM, among others.
The list of the world's most valuable companies is topped by Saudi Aramco with a market capitalisation of $1.7 trillion, followed by Apple at $1.5 trillion, Microsoft at $1.4 trillion and Amazon at $1.3 trillion. These four companies are in the trillion dollar club. They are followed in the top 10 by Alphabet, Facebook, Alibaba, Tencent, Berkshire Hathway and Johnson & Johnson.