Gautam Adani is founder of Adani Group, one of India’s major infrastructure conglomerates. The Ahmedabad, India-based group owns the country’s biggest private port and is among the world’s largest coal traders. Adani Enterprises, the group’s flagship company, reported revenue of $17 billion in the year to March 31, 2023.
The bulk of Adani’s fortune is derived from stakes in six publicly traded companies that are part of the Adani Group, the Indian conglomerate he founded.
The companies and the stakes include Adani Enterprises (68%); Adani Power (67%); Adani Total Gas (37%); Adani Transmission (68%); Adani Ports (63%); and Adani Green Energy (56%). Each of the companies are publicly traded and based in Ahmedabad, India. The shares are held by a group of individuals and entities — so-called promoter group — that ultimately flow up to the Adani family’s trust. They are credited to Gautam Adani to reflect his status as founder.
The Adani family also has businesses encompassing billions of dollars of assets and liabilities in a network of closely held companies that in many cases ultimately are controlled by the family trust or by Gautam’s older brother, Vinod Adani. They include the family’s stakes in Ambuja Cements Ltd. and ACC Ltd., and debt taken on to finance those acquisitions.
The ownership of these assets and liabilities typically flows through series of entities in jurisdictions including Mauritius and the British Virgin Islands. They are excluded from Adani’s valuation given the lack of public disclosures and difficulty to pinpoint their size and scope.
Devendra Amin, a spokeswoman for Adani Group, declined to comment on emailed questions about the billionaire’s net worth.
Gautam Adani was born in the western Indian state of Gujarat. After dropping out of college as a teenager, worked in Mumbai’s diamond trade before returning to his home state.
He made his foray into global trading when he imported polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, for his brother’s plastic business. In 1988, he set up Adani Enterprises, the group’s flagship company, to import and export commodities.
Adani Enterprises gained approval from the Gujarat government in 1994 to set up a harbor facility to handle its own cargo at Mundra Port. Sensing the potential in the project, Adani decided to turn it into a commercial port. He built rail and road links to it by individually negotiating with more than 500 landowners across India to create the largest port in India. Adani got into power generation in 2009.
The billionaire was held for ransom by bandits in 1997, according to his Mundra Port website. When terrorists attacked Mumbai 11 years later, Adani was among the hostages held at the seafront Taj hotel, according to the website.
In January 2023, New York-based short seller Hindenburg Research accused Adani Group of long-running stock manipulation and accounting fraud. Adani Group rejected the allegations. Subsequent declines in shares of his companies led Adani’s personal fortune to fall by as much as $69 billion, or almost 60%.
- 1962 Gautam Adani is born in Ahmedabad, India, in the western state of Gujarat.
- 1980 Works as a diamond trader in Mumbai.
- 1981 Returns to Ahmedabad to help brother with his plastics factory.
- 1988 Establishes his flagship company, Adani Enterprises.
- 1994 Wins approval to set up a port to handle his company’s cargo in Mundra.
- 1997 Adani is kidnapped and held hostage for ransom.
- 2007 Mundra Ports & Special Economic Zone begins trading in India.
- 2008 Escapes danger at Mumbai’s Taj hotel when it’s attacked by terrorists.
- 2009 Adani Power begins trading in India.
- 2015 Spins off Adani Power, Adani Ports and Adani Transmission.