MUMBAI: Indian industrialist Gautam Adani briefly became the world’s second-richest person on the Forbes real-time billionaire tracker on Friday, weeks after becoming the first Asian to break into the top three.

The self-made billionaire’s net worth surged $4 billion overnight to $154bn, according to Forbes, ranking him ahead of LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Tesla founder Elon Musk remained well out in front with a fortune of more than $270bn.

Arnault — who at times held the top spot in May 2021 — and Adani traded the number two position during the day as the share prices of their companies fluctuated.

Adani, 60, made his fortune in ports and commodities trading and now operates India’s second-largest conglomerate with interests ranging from coal mining and edible oils to airports and news media.

His ballooning net worth reflects a stratospheric rise in the market capitalisation of his publicly listed companies, as investors back the Adani Group’s aggressive expansion of old and new businesses.

Shares in the flagship Adani Enterprises — of which the billionaire owns 75 per cent — have soared more than 2,700pc since March 2020, and doubled in value over the past six months.

Stock price surges in other group companies, including Adani Trans­mission, Adani Power, Adani Ports and Adani Green Energy, catapulted Adani past fellow Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani this year.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

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