The third richest person in the world behind Musk and Bezos is a college dropout whose fortune has grown by $60 billion this year

While another 499 billionaires tried to add to their wealth this year, the world’s third-richest man has made $60 billion.

With a total net worth of $137 billion, India-born Gautam Adani’s extraordinary wealth gain in 2022 has far outstripped that of any other billionaire, many of whom have seen their fortunes decline this year, according to Bloomberg’s current tally.

And this is as billions have evaporated for his wealthy colleagues this year. The richest in the world, Tesla TSLA,
CEO Elon Musk posted an $18.9 billion loss this year to bring his fortune to $251 billion, while’s AMZN,
CEO Jeff Bezos, and No. 2 on the rich list, has seen his fortune drop $39 billion this year, to $153 billion.

Bloomberg reported that Adani, a college dropout, made it into the top three on Monday, the first time an Asian person has reached that high in the rankings. This puts billionaire status above that of CEO of luxury goods giant LVMH MC,
Bernald Arnault, Microsoft MSFT,
co-founder Bill Gates and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, BRK.A;
Warren Buffett.

Adani is the founder of the Indian multinational conglomerate Adani Group, the country’s largest port operator. The company’s other businesses include electricity generation and transmission, renewable energy, natural gas, infrastructure, airport operations and mining. Adani Solar, for example, aims to generate 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

TotalEnergies TTE,
inked a deal earlier this month to acquire a 25% stake in Adani New Industries, to produce and commercialize green hydrogen in the country. Its flagship company, Adani Enterprises 512599,
posted a 73% jump in consolidated net profit for the first quarter ended in June and a 225% jump in consolidated revenue. Shares are up 86% so far this year, while India’s S&P BSE Sensex 1,
is about 2.2%.

But the tycoon’s expansion spree has also raised debt concerns in some corners. According to media reports, debt research group CreditSights last week described Adani’s empire as “deeply overleveraged” and at risk of sinking into a “huge debt trap”, due to its debt-financed development plans.

Bloomberg recently pointed out that Adani Green Energy 541450,
has seen its debt-to-equity ratio rise to 2,021%, the second highest in Asia behind China’s Datang Huayin Electric Power Co. 600744,

When asked for comment, the Adani Group responded with a note in the CreditSights report that said its companies have successfully executed an expansion plan over the past decade, while consistently chipping away at
Net portfolio debt to EBITDA ratio is down from 7.6x to 3.2x.

EBITDA has grown at a CAGR of 22% over the past 9 years and debt has only increased by 11% on the same basis. Leverage ratios of Adani portfolio companies remain healthy and in line with industry benchmarks of respective sectors, the note said.

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