There’s Only Indian Billionaire Getting Richer Despite Coronavirus. And It’s Not Mukesh Ambani

Coronavirus

There’s Only Indian Billionaire Getting Richer Despite Coronavirus. And It’s Not Mukesh Ambani

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

Much like our daily lives, the global economy has also been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown measures in place across continents have seen stock markets take a hit, and financial experts are predicting that the effects of the new coronavirus could include an economic recession in its wake. Even the world’s most wealthy are not immune to the fiscal fallout, as the Bloomberg Billionaires Index reported that 85 per cent of the individuals in its list of 500 wealthiest people saw their net worth decline as the virus wreaks havoc across the globe.

While the underprivileged and the middle-class are obviously much more vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic, the manner in which it has affected the global economy has made this a rare situation where the rich are not getting any richer. Or at least, most of them are not. But there’s one exception.

Billionaire Radhakishan Damani, the man behind the successful retail chain D-Mart, is the only Indian tycoon who has actually seen his net worth climb during the lockdown.

D-Mart is a franchise under Avenue Supermarts Ltd, which is controlled by Damani. Avenue Supermarts has seen its shares advance 18 per cent this year, boosting Damani’s total net worth to 10.2 billion USD. A report in NDTV quotes Arun Kejriwal, the director of a Mumbai-based investment advisory firm, as saying, “People have been buying in panic and hoarding during the lockdown that drove the sales, making the company’s share a perfect hedge amid rout… Their unique no-frills model and also choosing to operate from locations outside malls, will help them to tide over the situation.”

Meanwhile, the men behind Damani’s competition, like Mukesh Ambani and Uday Kotak, have seen their wealth drop in accordance with the global trend. Ambani saw his net worth decline to the tune of 19 billion USD, while Kotak also saw a 4.3 billion USD decrease in his own net worth. Even the world’s richest man, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, saw a decline of 9 billion USD in his total wealth, though he comfortably retains his position as the wealthiest person on Earth. A report compiled by data-gathering firm Hurun Research, stated that the world’s 100 richest people had collectively seen a loss of 400 billion USD.

While the billionaires of the world might not be worrying about the same things as the middle-class or the poor, it would not be correct to say that they have been completely unaffected by the coronavirus. As for Damani, he’s displayed an awareness of how his wealth can be used constructively, and pledged up to ₹ 155 crore to fight coronavirus through the PM-Cares fund as well as state government relief funds.

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