Cover Chairman and founder of the Adani Group Gautam Adani seen during the News18 Rising India Summit. (Photo: Getty Images)

With a US$137.4 billion net worth, Gautam Adani comes just behind Elon Musk, Tesla's chief executive, and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. He has also surpassed Mukesh Ambani to become Asia’s richest person

The list of the world's richest is shifting once again and we have a new name in the big leagues. Indian tycoon Gautam Adani has broken into the top three of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a first for an Asian.

With a US$137.4 billion net worth, Gautam has overtaken LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault and comes just behind Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.

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This is certainly a momentous occasion for the businessman, who was also a college dropout. Despite setbacks, he slowly but surely built his wealth and influence over the years by expanding his coal-to-ports conglomerate to become the success he is today.

While Gautam’s influence in India, in particular, has been extremely significant, not much is known about the billionaire who maintains a low profile. Here, we’ve highlighted everything you need to know about the tycoon.

1. He Was Born Into a Family of Seven

Gautam was born in 1962 to a Muslim family in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He was one of seven other siblings and his father was a small textile merchant.

2. He Was a University Dropout

Gautam enrolled in Gujarat University as a college student intending to pursue a degree in commerce to follow in his father’s footsteps.

However, he decided to drop out in his second year after realising that while he was passionate about business, he was not interested in his father’s field.

3. His Older Brother Got Him Into Global Trading

When he was a teenager, Gautam moved to Mumbai to work as a diamond sorter for Mahendra Brothers. However, after a few years, his older brother bought a plastics unit in Ahmedabad and asked if he would like to help manage operations. 

This turned out to be Gautam’s introduction to global trading through polyvinyl chloride (PVC) imports and this was the start of what would eventually propel him to millionaire status. 

4. Founded Adani Enterprises In 1988

In 1988, Gautam decided to set up his first company, Adani Exports, which is today known as Adani Enterprises. The company dealt with agricultural and power commodities and later moved into the trading of metals and textiles.

It was during this time that Gautam’s company won the contract for the managerial outsourcing of the Mundra Port in Gujarat which is today being operated by Adani Ports & Sez (and originally operated by Mundra Port & Special Economic Zone).

This led to him setting up the first jetty. This project put his focus on this port industry and today, Gautam’s company, Mundra Port, is the largest private sector port in India.

5. Founded Adani Power In 1996

In 1996, Gautam once again decided to expand and he founded Adani Power which is the largest private thermal power producer in the country today. The company holds thermal power plants with a capacity of 4620MW.

In 2006, Gautam entered the power generation business and acquired Abbot Point Port in Australia and Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

6. He Became Asia’s Richest Person in 2022

In September 2020, Gautam acquired a 74 per cent stake in Mumbai International Airport, India’s second busiest airport next to Delhi. This eventually caused a surge in his wealth and in February this year, he surpassed Mukesh Ambani to become Asia’s richest person.

7. He Is a Philanthropist

Despite his wealth, Gautam never forgot his roots and started the Adani Foundation, funded through the Adani Group in 1996. The foundation operates in multiple states in India to bring sustainable development and inclusive growth to India through education, healthcare and community projects.

Gautam also donated US$13 million to the PM Cares Fund (a government fund to help citizens through the pandemic) through his foundation. Gautam was also behind the movement to supply liquid medical oxygen to hospitals in need around Gujarat.

In June this year, Gautam also pledged to donate US$7.7 billion to social causes in India. 

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