Mukesh Ambani joins world’s elite $100bn club

The chairman of India’s Reliance Industries Ltd, Mukesh Ambani has joined Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in the world’s most exclusive wealth club with assets of around $100 billion.

He became a member of the select group of 11 men as his conglomerate’s stock escalated to a record on Friday.

He’s now worth $100.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, after his assets and wealth increased by $23.8 billion this year.

After inheriting the oil-refining and petrochemical firms of his late father’s empire in 2005, Ambani has been looking to transform the energy giant into a retail, technology and e-commerce titan. The 64-year-old’s telecommunications unit, which began services in 2016, is now the dominant carrier in the Indian market. His technology and retail ventures raised up to $27 billion last year, selling stakes to investors varying from Facebook Inc. and Google to KKR & Co. and Silver Lake.

Mukesh Ambani revealed a determined push into green energy with a planned investment of about $10 billion over three years, in June. Last month, the business tycoon mentioned that his company would “aggressively” pursue production of cheaper green hydrogen. The plan aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aspirations of turning India into a global manufacturing hub for the cleaner fuel to combat climate change and slash energy imports by the world’s third-biggest oil consumer.

“Mukesh Ambani is at the forefront of creating new businesses with new emerging technologies,” said Chakri Lokapriya, chief investment officer at TCG Asset Management Co. in Mumbai. “Creating businesses of scale at speed brings execution challenges, but he has demonstrated his capabilities.”

The story of Reliance is dated back to the late 1960s when Dhirubhai Ambani, who began his career as a gas-station attendant in Yemen, started to build his polyester business into a massive empire. As he died of a stroke in 2002 without leaving a will, a succession dispute had raised between his two sons, Mukesh and Anil, 62, which was later settled by the siblings’ mother, Kokilaben, in 2005. Under the truce agreement, Mukesh Ambani got hold of the flagship oil refining and petrochemicals businesses, while his younger brother got newer areas such as power generation, financial services and telecommunications services. Anil; once a billionaire, told a London court last year that his net worth was “zero.”

India’s billionaires are one of the largest gainers on the world’s rich list, as Asia’s best-performing major stock market this year gets a strong boost from a surge in initial public offerings.

Gautam Adani, founder of coal-power and renewable energy conglomerate Adani Group, has added $39.5 billion to his wealth this year, while the country’s third-richest person, technology tycoon Azim Premji, watched his wealth grow by $12.8 billion.

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