Indian industrialist Gautam Adani has become the world’s third-richest person, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, marking the first time an Asian has made the top three. The self-made billionaire more than doubled his fortune to $137.4 billion last year, ranking him just behind Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in the Bloomberg Index, after jumping 20 places.
Mr Adani, 60, made his fortune in ports and commodity trading and now runs India’s third-largest conglomerate with interests ranging from coal mining and edible oils to airports and to the media. The price of the Adani Enterprises group, of which the billionaire owns 75%, has increased by more than 2,400% since March 2020 and has doubled in value in the past six months.
Soaring share prices of other companies in the group, such as Adani Transmission, Adani Power, Adani Ports and Adani Green Energy, helped Mr. Adani’s fortune surpass that of fellow billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Born in the city of Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat to a middle-class family, Mr Adani dropped out of school to work briefly in the diamond industry before starting his export business in 1988.
In 1995, Mr. Adani, who was diversifying, won the contract to build and operate the commercial port of Mundra in Gujarat, which has since become the largest in India. At the same time, Mr. Adani ventured into thermal power generation and coal mining in India and abroad. In recent years, the conglomerate has forayed into petrochemicals, cement, data centers and copper refining, in addition to building a renewable energy company with ambitious goals.