Mukesh Ambani richer by $17 billion in 2019, net worth crosses $60 billion

NEW DELHI: It may not have been a good year for the Indian economy but Asia's richest man and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chief Mukesh Ambani has a lot to cheer about.

Ambani has enjoyed an amazing run in 2019 as he added almost $17 billion to his wealth as of December 23. His total net worth now stands at a mammoth $60.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Indian tycoon's energy-to-telecom business has performed exceptionally well in 2019, which helped him significantly increase his net worth in comparison to his Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, who managed to add $11.3 billion.

Ambani's fortunes grew this year on account of a 40 per cent jump in shares of RIL, reported Bloomberg. It is worth mentioning that the rally in stock is more than double of what India's benchmark S&P BSE Sensex gained during the period.

Several new investors are rallying behind Reliance as it ventures into new businesses and strengthens existing ones including the latest telecommunications business.

Chakri Lokapriya, chief investment officer at TCG Asset Management, told Bloomberg that Ambani has "changed the narrative" for Reliance Industries by venturing into telecom and retail apart from the existing oil and gas business.

Lokapriya said RIL investors could see their shareholding value in the company double over the next four years.

Meanwhile, RIL's new ventures are expected to contribute 50 per cent of Reliance's earnings over the next few years, as compared to 32 per cent now, said Ambani back in August.

Another factor that has helped Reliance's rapid climb on the stock market is Ambani's plan to bring the company's net debt to zero.

The 62-year-old had announced plans to pare the group's net debt to zero by early 2021. There are several plans that are already in the pipeline for achieving zero net debt.

A stake-sale in Reliance's oil-to-chemicals business to Saudi Arabian Oil Company, listings of the telecom and retail units in the next five years and sale of tower and strategic partners for a digital platform linked to Reliance Jio Infocomm are some of the plans, said the report.

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