Gautam Adani Now World’s 3rd Richest, First Asian In Top 3
Just a few years ago, Gautam Adani was mostly unknown outside of India. The Indian billionaire, who dropped out of college and tried his luck as a diamond trader before switching to coal, is now the third-richest person in the world.
It’s the first time an Asian has entered the top three of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index; Jack Ma of China and fellow citizen Mukesh Ambani have never done so. With a fortune of $137.4 billion, Mr. Adani has surpassed Bernard Arnault of France and is now just behind US billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in terms of wealth.
The 60-year-old Mr. Adani has invested the last several years in growing his coal-to-ports conglomerate by foraying into a variety of industries, including data centres, cement, media, and alumina. The group today controls the largest private-sector coal miner, city-gas distributor, and operator of ports and airports in India. Environmentalists have criticised the company’s Carmichael mine in Australia, but it promised in November to invest $70 billion in renewable energy to become the largest producer in the world.
Concerns about the rapid expansion have grown as his empire grew into one of the largest conglomerates in the world, fueling the incredible wealth gains. According to a report released this month by CreditSights, Mr. Adani’s deal-making frenzy has been largely supported by debt and that his enterprise is “seriously over-leveraged.”The reason why Mr. Adani was able to surpass some of the wealthiest US billionaires is in part due to their recent increase in philanthropy. While Warren Buffett has previously given the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation more than $35 billion, Bill Gates said in July that he would transfer $20 billion to the organisation.
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