scorecardGautam Adani: Man of the year
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Gautam Adani: Man of the year

Gautam Adani: Man of the year
Business4 min read
  • Gautam Adani, India’s richest and the world’s third richest person, has been crowned ‘Asia’s busiest dealmaker’ by Bloomberg.
  • Adani stands out for being the only person on the Bloomberg billionaires list to have gained wealth this year – he added $44.6 billion to his wealth while the other nine combined lost $259.3 billion.
  • Key among Adani’s deals this year were the $10.5 billion ACC and Ambuja Cements acquisition from Swiss construction giant Holcim, and Israel’s Haifa port purchase.
Gautam Adani’s rise to the top echelons of the world’s richest people has been meteoric. Adani is also the only person in the top ten in the Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index to have actually added to his wealth this year

His group companies – spanning ports and energy – have been firing on all cylinders and making both Adani as well as other investors richer – Adani added $44.6 billion to his wealth in 2022 till date. In contrast, the other nine billionaires on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index cumulatively lost $259.3 billion in the period.

Overall, the seven listed Adani Group companies have added ₹8.55 lakh crore in market capitalisation this year.

This stellar growth in his wealth saw him briefly rank as the second-richest person in the world, only behind Elon Musk.

Currently ranked third on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Adani’s wealth is estimated at $121 billion, down from a peak of $150 billion, scaled in September this year.

French business magnate and LVMH founder Bernard Arnault – with $165 billion and Elon Musk – with $138 billion are the only two people richer than Adani. Often pitted against India’s other richest man Mukesh Ambani, Adani has left Reliance Industries’ chief – whose wealth is estimated at $86.9 billion – far behind in the race of the richest.

‘Asia’s busiest dealmaker’

Success of the Ahmedabad-born Adani’s business empire has helped him top the list of the sixth edition of the ‘Bloomberg 50’ –a list of the most influential people in global business this year. His aggressive acquisitions during the year have also earned him the tag of ‘Asia’s busiest dealmaker,’ with the crown jewel being the acquisition of cement giants ACC and Ambuja Cements from Swiss construction major Holcim for $10.5 billion.

So far in 2022, Gautam Adani has struck deals across the ports, construction, media and energy businesses.

Adani started the year with the listing of Adani Wilmar, an FMCG company, on the bourses in February. This was just in time to leverage the benefits of the Russia-Ukraine war, which sent edible oil prices boiling and boosted the company’s revenue and stock price.

Later in July, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone announced it had won a tender to privatise Israel’s Haifa port in a deal valued at $1.18 billion. “In the long run, this is a tremendous port as we anticipate Israel becoming a connection both for Europe and the Middle East, and therefore we stand to benefit from the new possible trade lanes that will be created,” said Karan Adani, CEO, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, announcing the purchase.

The biggest deal of the year for the Adani Group, was the $10.5 billion acquisition of ACC and Ambuja Cements from Holcim in September. Together, these two companies propelled the Adani Group to become the second-largest cement maker in the country in terms of market capitalization, only behind UltraTech Cement.

$70-billion green energy ambitions and the ‘over-leveraged’ concerns

In September this year, Adani also announced an ambitious $70 billion new energy plan that would see the conglomerate setting up three giga factories – one each to manufacture solar modules, wind turbines and hydrogen electrolysers – by 2030.

However, the billionaire faced a bazooka from CreditSights, a Fitch Ratings company, which came out with a report stating that the Adani Group’s ambitious growth plans could spiral into a debt trap. This spooked investors, resulting in the Adani Group companies shedding ₹94,000 crore market capitalisation in a single day.

A couple of weeks later, though, the research firm toned down its comments, revising estimates about the cash flow position of two group companies.

More recently, the group’s flagship Adani Enterprises received board approval to raise ₹20,000 crore via a follow-on public offer (FPO), pending shareholder approval, according to its stock exchange filing. These funds will be used for the Adani group’s green energy and digital business ambitions.

All in all, it has been a busy year for Gautam Adani – from starting the year with a wealth of $77 billion to becoming the third-richest person in the world. It remains to be seen if 2023 will be the year Adani becomes the world’s richest person.


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