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Lakshmi Mittal reigns atop India's richest

As per annual Forbes Asia list, Lakshmi Mittal is still the country's richest with an estimated wealth of $20 billion.

business Updated: Dec 17, 2005 18:50 IST

Lakshmi Narayan Mittal does it again.

According to the annual Forbes Asia list of India's 40 richest people, Lakshmi Mittal is the country's richest person with an estimated wealth of $20 billion.

The Chief Executive of Mittal Steel Co retained his position as India's richest, Forbes Asia said, as demand for commodities boosted the tycoon's fortune.

Wipro Ltd chairman Azim Premji, with an estimated wealth of $11 billion, is second on the list.

Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, Anurag Dikshit, Vikrant Bhargava and Sunil Mittal also made it to list among others.

The magazine said that the combined wealth of the list jumped 74 per cent to 106 billion. Twenty-seven members on the list are billionaires, more than double the last year's count.

India-born Mittal, 55, has bought steel mills from Poland to South Africa since 2003, as soaring demand from shipyards and building sites in China boosted global prices. The purchases have made Mittal Steel the world's biggest steel producer.

Mittal, born into a family of steelmakers in Rajasthan, now lives in London, started out with a steel mill in Indonesia in 1976. Since January 2003, he has bought controlling stakes in mills in the United States, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Macedonia and South Africa.

In March, Mittal overtook Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing as Asia's richest person, according to Forbes magazine.

Premji, 60, built his first minicomputer in 1982 and produced Wipro's first personal computer in 1986.

Mukesh Ambani, 48, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd was ranked third on the list with an estimated wealth of $7 billion, Forbes said.

Anil Ambani, 46, who heads Anil Dhirbhai Ambani Enterprises, which includes Reliance Infocomm Ltd, Reliance Energy Ltd and Reliance Capital Ltd, is the country's fourth richest with an estimated wealth of $5.5 billion.

The Forbes list has seven newcomers including Naresh Goyal, 56, who runs Jet Airways (India) Ltd, the nation's biggest domestic airline, with an estimated wealth of $1.9 billion.

India-born Anurag Dikshit and Vikrant Bhargava, who set up the world's largest online poker operator PartyGaming Plc, have also made it to the list. Dikshit's wealth is estimated at $3.1 billion, and Bhargava's wealth is estimated at $870 million.

Sunil Mittal, chairman of Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd, has been ranked the sixth richest Indian with an estimated wealth of $4.9 billion.

First Published: Dec 16, 2005 10:43 IST