If there’s one thing common among the swelling number of billionaires of Indian-origin who call the UAE their home, it is that they’ve made their fortunes by the sweat of their brow and the might of their intellect.
For, there are now nine UAE-based Indian billionaires among Forbes magazine's India's 100 Richest ranking, and all of them are self-made.
While some may have had a headstart in terms of a small, existing business that they then took global, others literally started from scratch, and almost each one of these richest Indians in the UAE has a rags-to-riches tale to tell.
Nevertheless, not one of them was handed over their vast furtunes on a silver platter, with the UAE being the land that offered them a perfect platform for success.
There are 12 new faces in Forbes' ‘India’s 100 Richest’ ranking that appears in the October 2015 issue of Forbes Asia.
“Of the 12 newcomers to the 100, the richest is Dubai-based Sunil Vaswani, with vast interests in Africa,” the magazine says.
Forbes’ ‘India’s 100 Richest’ ranking for 2015 includes two new Dubai faces (Sunil Vaswani and Raghuvinder Kataria), while Omani national P.N.C. Menon is now listed as a Dubai resident.
With an estimated net worth of $2 billion, Vaswani debuts at #48 among the richest Indians 2015, and should feature among the richest 1,000 people on the planet in next year’s rankings.
Vaswani chairs Dubai-headquartered Stallion Group, which has a presence in 18 countries but gets the bulk of its $3.7 billion revenues from Africa, says 'Forbes'.
The conglomerate was founded in 1969, and is one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. The group has an extensive international presence in 18 countries with 72 locations and 10,800 employees.
“Stallion Group’s businesses span commodities trading, frozen foods, auto assembly and dealerships, notably for Nissan, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche,” the magazine notes.
The Jaipur-born Vaswani named the group after his favourite animal, and he made Dubai his group’s headquarters.
Vaswani and his brothers landed in the UAE as a result of a misdirected legal tangle that led to their deportation from Nigeria in 2003 (and again in 2009), and even as the judgement was reversed and Vaswani today holds Nigerian and British citizenship, the group remains headquartered in Dubai, with Vaswani residing in a palatial villa in Dubai’s Emirates Hills.
The other new entrant in this year’s ‘India’s 100 Richest’ ranking is Raghuvinder Kataria, who with his $1.1bn estimated wealth manages to barely scrape in the elite list, at #100.
Such is India’s growing private wealth that 'Forbes' says that despite a weakening rupee, a dozen Indian tycoons who made it last year fell out from the list of the top 100 this year despite still being billionaires.
Chairman of Dubai-based Kataria Holdings, Raghuvinder Kataria bought a minority stake in Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel quite early on, and sold it off at estimated $500 million at the stock’s peak. He then made numerous real estate investments in Dubai, famously buying 2 buildings in Emaar Square for $205m in 2009.
While Kataria makes it as the final entry, the Indian rich list is once again led by Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani, with an estimated net worth of $18.9bn.
In comparison, Micky Jagtiani, the richest UAE-based Indian, has an estimated net worth of $5.3bn, less than a third of Ambani’s, but nothing to be sneezed at!
Jagtiani is ranked at #13 on the richest Indians list. He owns and chairs the retail giant Landmark Group. Forbes says that Jagtiani doesn’t agree with the magazine’s estimate of his net wealth.
Next in the list of billionaires of Indian-origin in the UAE is retailer M.A. Yusuff Ali, with an estimated net worth of $3.7bn, which lands him at #30 on the richest Indians list. Ali owns the Lulu Group of hypermarkets, supermarkets and grocery units, besides having interests in real estate, creameries and restaurants.
Dubai-based construction magnate Ravi Pillai is perched on the Indian rich list at #32 with an estimated wealth of $2.4bn.
Dubai-headquartered Gems Education’s Sunny Varkey is ranked at #47 among richest Indians, just ahead of new entrant Sunil Vaswani (#48). Forbes estimates both Varkey’s and Vaswani’s net wealth at $2bn each.
NMC Healthcare’s B.R. Shetty is ranked at #50 among richest Indians, with an estimated net wealth of $1.7bn.
Another Indian who’s made his fortunes in the UAE in the healthcare sector is Aster DM Healthcare’s Azad Moopen, whose $1.5bn land him at #81 on the richest Indians list.
P.N.C. Menon, Dubai-based property magnate and chairman emeritus of India-listed Sobha Developers, has a net worth of $1.2bn and is ranked by Forbes at #91 among India’s richest. Interestingly, Menon holds Omani citizenship even as his residence is listed as Dubai.
As mentioned earlier, Dubai-based Raghuvinder Kataria’s $1.1bn makes him the last entry on the richest Indians listing.
UAE-based Indians among world’s richest
Micky Jagtiani (net worth: $5.3bn)
M.A. Yusuff Ali ($3.7bn)
Ravi Pillai ($2.4bn)
Sunny Varkey ($2bn)
Sunil Vaswani ($2bn)
B.R. Shetty ($1.7bn)
Azad Moopen ($1.5bn)
P.N.C. Menon ($1.2bn)
Raghuvinder Kataria ($1.1bn)
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