Mittal retains richest Indian title

At $50 billion, Microsoft's Bill Gates tops the Forbes billionaires' list for the twelfth consecutive year.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 12:02 IST

Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal is the richest Indian with a net worth of $23.5 billion.

Microsoft Corporation Chairman Bill Gates with an estimated net worth of $50 billion retains his title as the richest man in the world for the twelfth consecutive year.

According to the Forbes magazine annual survey, Gates fortune increased 7.5 per cent from $46.6 billion last year.

The magazine said strong markets around the world contributed to the increase in wealth and the total net worth of the list jumped to $2.6 trillion.

Gates is followed by 75-year old investor Warren Buffett of the United States with net worth of $42 billion and Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim Helu with $30 billion.

Ingvar Kamprad of Sweden, founder of Ikea, the world's biggest home furnishing retailer, takes the fourth spot with $28 billion.

Non-resident Indian steel tycoon Mittal finds fifth place among the world's richest with a net worth of more than $20 billion. The 55-year-old dropped two places to fifth with $23.5 billion dollars, down $1.5 billion.

Azim Premji, who owns 82 per cent of the New York listed Information Technology giant Wipro is second richest Indian with an estimated net worth of $11 billion.

Mukesh Ambani with net worth of $7 billion, Army officer turned property baron Kushal Pal Singh ($5 billion), Sunil Mittal, who built his Bharti Group into India's largest mobile phone operator with 14 million customers ($4.9 billion) and Kumar Birla ($4.4 billion) are among those who find place among the top ten richest persons in India.

Others include Tulsi Tanti, who has built Asia's largest wind energy farm, Pallonji Mistry ($3.3 billion), biggest shareholder in Tata Sons, and Anurag Dishkit ($3.1 billion) who owns 30.4 per cent of Internet Casino company which went public in London in June last.

Forbes list of 40 richest Indians shows that a person had to have a net worth of $590 million, up from $305 million in the previous year, to make the grade. It has twenty-seven billionaires, more than the double of the count of the previous year.

Notable newcomers include Tulsi Tanti, Vijay Mallya, the liquor tycoon behind Kingfisher beer, Kushal Pal Singh, India's biggest real estate developer, and Anurag Dikshit, another online gaming mogul, who made his fortune when he and two Americans took their PartyGaming poker company public in London last June.

Seven newcomers join the ranks, including four who took their companies public in 2005.

They include former airline agent Naresh Goyal, who runs Jet Airways, the country's leading domestic airline and Vikrant Bhargava, executives at Internet casino outfit PartyGaming.

Forbes Asia also added two "low-profile," privately held fortunes: Kushal Pal Singh, whose DLF group is India's biggest real estate developer; and Indu Jain, the matriarch Bennett and Coleman.

All returning Indian rich listers saw their fortunes rise. Tycoons with telecom interests did particularly well, including Sunil Mittal, the Ruia brothers and Uday Kotak.

First Published: Mar 10, 2006 11:12 IST