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BW Businessworld

Vagaries Of Fortune

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While everyone wants to be a winner, there will always be some who emerge losers. Interestingly, in India's Super Rich 2011, some of the biggest winners are also leading the list of losers. While they made it to the list of Top 10, five families have seen the sharpest fall in monetary terms among all surveyed. These five families include those headed by Anil Ambani, Anil Agarwal, Savitri Devi Jindal, K.P. Singh and Mukesh Ambani. Between them, they have seen a collective fall in worth of over Rs 40,000 crore (almost $9 billion).

The reasons for each of them losing out are different. But broadly, they can be classified under three heads — been embroiled in scams, controversies, or because their core business hit a speed breaker during the year. In a year of scams, the 2G telecom scandal has been the biggest by far. Among those hit are Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka (DB Realty), who lost 75 per cent of their net worth, and Ramesh Chandra (Unitech), who lost 36 per cent. In fact, Balwa and Goenka have the dubious honour of making it to both the loss lists — biggest fall in value terms and biggest fall in percentage terms (see tables below).

As if that was not enough, high real estate prices and rising interest rates have put a spanner in their prime business. Unitech is also saddled with debts more than Rs 5,500 crore on its books. Other real estate barons in the list include K.P. Singh (DLF) and Jaiprakash Gaur (Jaiprakash Associates). The worst hit has been Rajesh Sharma of Money Matters Financial Services. Sharma has seen his worth tumble by an amazing 81 per cent after being allegedly involved in the LIC Housing scam late last year.

Anil Agarwal
Vedanta Resources
Worth 2011: Rs 83,674.57 crore
Worth 2010: Rs 93,999.26 crore

While infrastructure is considered to be the big growth area in future, getting plans off the ground takes time. That's what G.M. Rao realised when he had to sell out 50 per cent stake in Dutch company Intergen that had power plants in five countries to focus on the Indian market. Rao and his family lost more than Rs 5,800 crore in net worth during FY2010-11. Another Indian player who is facing the heat due to global operations is, Atul Punj. Close to 50 per cent of Punj's order book comes from the Middle East and Africa, the focal points of the Jasmine revolution. Clarity on future business from these areas is unlikely in the immediate future.

Considering 2011 has been a year of scams, next year should be a better one. That should bring more fortunes to India's richest people.


(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 25-07-2011)