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India's 5 richest lose over $10 bn in market fall

business Updated: Aug 12, 2007 14:00 IST

The rout on stock market has left no one untouched -- not even the country's richest billionaires -- with the top five led by Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani losing more than $ten billion in just about a fortnight.

Besides Ambani, those who were accumulating wealth from a surge in bourses till a few days back and subsequently saw billions of dollars being wiped off include younger brother Anil, realty giant DLF's Kushal Pal Singh, telecom major Bharti Airtel's Sunil Mittal and Wipro chairman Azim Premji. <b1>

India's five richest persons, based on value of their stock holdings, have seen their cumulative wealth plummeting by 10.05 billion dollars since July 27, the day bourses began their slide on concerns emanating in the US subprime lending market that has since spread across the world.

The market's benchmark index, Sensex, has lost over 900 points since July 27, while the total investor wealth, measured in terms of the collective market capitalisation of all the listed entities, has also gone down by close to $52 billion (over Rs 2,10,000 crore) during this period.

This means that the richest five, who account for more than one-tenth of the total wealth invested in stock market, have shared nearly one-fifth of the total loss.

Their combined wealth has gone down to $116.75 billion (about Rs 4,72,256 crore), from a high of 126.8 billion dollars on July 26.

Mukesh Ambani, the richest of all, saw the biggest fall with his net worth plummeting by $2.6 billion from $40.5 billion (Rs 1,63,000 crore) on July 26 to $37.9 billion (Rs 1,53,200 crore) as on August 10.

Anil Ambani, the second richest, is close behind with the second biggest fall of 2.4 billion dollars. His net worth, based on his promoter holding in companies like Reliance Communications and Reliance Capital, has dropped to $23.7 billion (Rs 95,800 crore) on August 10, from $26.1 billion (Rs 1,04,900 crore) on July 26.

Singh, who became the country's third rupee trillionaire soon after the listing of the country's biggest real estate firm DLF Ltd early last month, has seen the fourth-biggest fall of $1.9 billion.This has taken his net wealth down to $21.7 billion (Rs 88,000 crore).

The third-biggest plunge has come for telecom czar Sunil Mittal, the fourth-richest in the country. His wealth has dropped by $ 2.1 billion to $ 19.7 billion (Rs 79,600 crore). Wipro chief Premji has seen close to $one billion going away from his kitty, taking his net worth to $ 13.8 billion (Rs 55,800 crore).

While fall in share prices of companies where these people hold promoter stake has been the primary driver for the $10-billion plunge in their collective wealth, the appreciation in rupee against has also partly contributed to the fall in their US dollar-measured wealth.

In rupee terms, the total fall is about Rs 38,000 crore, which is slightly below the $10 billion mark at the current foreign currency exchange rate. However, it is over 10 billion dollars when we take into account the dollar-measured figures for July 26 and the current shareholdings.

Still, the wealth accumulated by these members of the richie-rich club is much higher than a few months ago

Earlier in March this year, US-based business magazine Forbes had ranked Mukesh Ambani as richest in India with a net worth of $20.1 billion. Anil Ambani was at second slot with $18.2 billion, Premji at third with $17.1 billion , Singh at fourth with $10 billion and Mittal at fifth with $9.5 billion of wealth.

Based on the current market value of the group companies of the five billionaires, their collective net worth of about $116.8 billion is still nearly 55 per cent higher than about $75 billion mentioned in the Forbes list.

While Mukesh Ambani's wealth comes mainly from about 51 per cent stake in RIL (market cap of Rs 2,52,300 crore), that of Anil Ambani has been largely driven by over 66 per cent stake in Reliance Communications (market cap of Rs 1,06,600 crore). Besides, Mukesh Ambani group firms include Reliance Petroleum, IPCL and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd.
Anil Ambani also has stakes in Reliance Capital, Reliance Energy, Reliance Natural Resources Ltd and Adlabs Films.

Wipro's current market value stands at about Rs 70,000 crore, while that of DLF and Bharti Airtel are at Rs 99,640 crore and Rs 1,59,132 crore respectively.