Aug 23, 2013

    Big loss for India's richest man

    MR MUKESH Ambani, India's richest man, is the biggest loser among India's billionaires as the rupee's slump to record lows erased 24 per cent of his fortune.

    The chairman of Reliance Industries, operator of the world's biggest oil refinery complex, has lost US$5.6 billion (S$7 billion) of his wealth since May 1, as the rupee's plunge accelerated. The 56-year-old is left with a net worth of US$17.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

    The value of holdings by India's billionaires are worth less also because foreign investors sold shares in large-cap companies, said Mr Munesh Khanna, of Grant Thornton LLP.

    "There is irrationality; the rupee is weak and will go down further," he said. "Foreign institutional investors are invested in the large-cap companies and are pulling out money from India. That is putting a lot of pressure on those companies."

    Mr Anil Ambani, the younger brother of Mr Mukesh, has lost 17 per cent, or US$1.3 billion, of his net worth since May.

    The 54-year-old has a fortune of US$6.3 billion and is India's eighth-richest man.

    Mr Khanna said: "Companies with large foreign-currency debt will feel the pressure and their valuations will come down."