MUMBAI: Indian industrialist Gautam Adani is Asia’s richest man, with a enterprise empire spanning coal, airports, cement and media.
He’s now rocked by corporate fraud allegations and a stock market crash.
The billionaire started his week the world’s third-richest individual however has tumbled down the rankings to seventh on Forbes’ billionaires tracker after a US$22.6 billion hit to his fortune in Friday’s commerce, extending the week’s losses to US$45 billion.
Dealing with probably the largest problem of his profession, Adani is without doubt one of the enterprise world’s best survivors.
On New 12 months’s Day in 1998, Adani and an affiliate have been reportedly kidnapped by gunmen demanding US$1.5 million in ransom, earlier than being later launched at an unknown location.
A decade later, he was eating at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace lodge when it was besieged by militants, who killed 160 individuals in certainly one of India’s worst terror assaults.
Trapped with tons of of others, Adani reportedly hid within the basement all night time earlier than he was rescued by safety personnel early the subsequent morning.
“I noticed loss of life at a distance of simply 15 toes,” he mentioned of the expertise after his non-public plane landed in his hometown Ahmedabad later that day.
Adani, now 60, differs from his friends amongst India’s mega-rich, a lot of whom are identified for throwing lavish birthday and wedding ceremony celebrations which can be later splashed throughout newspaper gossip pages.
A self-described introvert, he retains a low profile and infrequently speaks to the media, typically sending lieutenants to entrance company occasions.
“I am not a social individual that wishes to go to events,” he instructed the Monetary Occasions in a 2013 interview.
Adani was born in Ahmedabad to a middle-class household however dropped out of faculty at 16 and moved to the monetary capital Mumbai to search out work within the profitable gems commerce.
After a brief stint in his brother’s plastics enterprise, he launched the flagship household conglomerate that bears his identify in 1988 by branching out into the export commerce.
His massive break got here seven years later with a contract to construct and function a industrial transport port in his house state of Gujarat.
It grew to change into India’s largest at a time when most ports have been government-owned – the legacy of a sclerotic financial planning system that impeded progress for many years and was within the strategy of being dismantled.
Adani in 2009 expanded into coal, a profitable sector for a rustic nonetheless nearly completely depending on fossil fuels to fulfill its power wants. Nonetheless, the choice introduced worldwide consideration as he rose quickly up India’s wealthy listing.
His buy the next 12 months of an untapped coal basin sparked years of “Cease Adani” protests in Australia after dismay on the venture’s monumental environmental influence.
Related controversies plagued his coal tasks in central India, the place forests house to tribal communities have been minimize down for mining operations.
Adani’s US$900 million coastal port venture in southern Kerala state was the location of violent clashes between police and a neighborhood fishing group demanding a halt to development.
Adani is seen as an acolyte of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a fellow Gujarat native, and has aligned his own business interests with these of “nation constructing”.
He has invested within the authorities’s strategic priorities, in recent times inaugurating a inexperienced power enterprise with bold targets.
Final 12 months he launched and accomplished a hostile takeover of broadcaster NDTV, a tv information service thought of one of many few media shops keen to outwardly criticise India’s chief.
Adani batted away press freedom fears, however instructed the Monetary Occasions that journalists ought to have the “braveness” to say “when the federal government is doing the appropriate factor on daily basis”.
The billionaire has additionally channelled Modi’s strident rhetoric when speaking concerning the historic injustices suffered by India throughout the period of British rule.
“A rustic, crushed and drained by its colonial rulers, at the moment stands on the cusp of extraordinary progress,” he instructed a enterprise discussion board in November.