Gautam Adani overtakes Mukesh Ambani as Asia’s richest person

The billionaire's net worth rose $7.7 billion in a day to $97.6 billion after court reprieve

The court reprieve stoked a $13.3 billion wealth gain for Gautam Adani. AFP
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After a roller-coaster ride on the wealth rankings last year, Gautam Adani is back to being Asia’s wealthiest person days after India’s top court said no new probes were needed into Hindenburg Research’s bombshell allegations against the tycoon’s conglomerate.

Mr Adani’s net worth rose by $7.7 billion in a day to $97.6 billion, reclaiming the top spot in the region from Indian compatriot Mukesh Ambani, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Mr Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, was trailing by a narrow margin with a net worth of $97 billion, the index shows.

The comeback of the first-generation entrepreneur, who started off as a diamond trader in the 1980s, caps an eventful year for Mr Adani’s ports-to-power conglomerate.

Despite denying Hindenburg’s allegations of corporate fraud, the Adani Group lost more than $150 billion in market value at one point last year and spent months wooing back investors, lenders, repaying debt and assuaging regulatory concerns.

Adani Group’s stocks rallied after the Supreme Court of India this week ordered the local markets regulator to conclude its investigation into the conglomerate within three months and said no more probes were needed, effectively drawing a line under the year-long saga on short-selling.

The court reprieve stoked a $13.3 billion wealth gain for Mr Adani – the world’s largest this year – after he registered one of the biggest wealth losses in 2023.

Mr Adani, whose conglomerate has committed an investment of $100 billion over the next decade for green transition across its businesses, is also back to rapidly diversifying his empire beyond its coal-trading origins into data centres, artificial intelligence, urban development, airports and media.

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Updated: January 05, 2024, 8:57 AM