The Journey of Mukesh Ambani

  • lauren DeAlmeida
  • June 9, 2021
  • 0
Mukesh Ambani

Image Courtesy of SIMON DAWSON/BLOOMBERG

Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani was born on the 19th of April 1957. He was born in Aden, Yemen. Back then, the British Crown colony of Aden. He is a giant business mogul in India – chairman, the largest shareholder, and managing director of the India conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). In fact, he is the richest person in Asia with a net worth of US$ 77.5 billion.

His father Dhirubhai Ambani worked as a gas station attendant. His mother was called Kokilaben Ambani. He has a younger brother – Anil Ambani. Moreover, he has two sisters:  Nina Bhadrashyam Kothari and Dipti Dattaraj Salgaonkar. In 1958, the Ambani family moved to the Bhuleshwar neighborhood of Bombay (now Mumbai). This was due to the increasingly unstable political climate in Aden. They lived in a chawl (a communal building that commonly features low-rent two-room apartments). His father decided to begin a trading business that focused on spices and textiles. When they moved to Indian Mukesh Ambani lived in a communal society, used public transportation, and never received an allowance. It is fair to say that by then, the family’s financial status slightly improved.

Mukesh Ambani’s educational background

Mukesh Ambani attended the Hill Grange High School. It is located at Peddar Road, Mumbai. He schooled with Anand Jain. who later became his close associate. He studied at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai after secondary school. Later on, he received a BE degree in Chemical Engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology. Furthermore, Mukesh Ambani praised his two teachers William F. Sharpe and Man Mohan Sharma. He says they taught him to think out of the box.

Later on, Mukesh enrolled for an MBA at Stanford University. However, he withdrew in 1980. He decided to help his father build Reliance. At the time was still a small but fast-growing enterprise. Actually, his father believed that real-life skills were harnessed through experiences and not by sitting in a classroom. Therefore, he called his son back to India from Stanford to take command of a yarn manufacturing project in his company.

Early career

Dhirubhai Ambani began a PFY (polyester filament yarn) manufacturing plant in 1980. In fact, during that year, Indira Gandhi’s leadership opened the doors of PFY. Mukesh Ambani’s father decided to apply for the license to set up a PFY plant and faced stiff competition with Tatas, Birlas, and more.  Despite the competition, Dhirubhai received the ‘License Raj’. In 1980, he called back Mukesh Ambani to help him build his business. At that time, Rasikbhai Meswani was the then director of the company. Mukesh Ambani reported to him daily. Furthermore, the company was laid on the principle that everyone must contribute to the business and not the selected individuals.

Mukesh Ambani began helping his father to run their family business, Reliance Industries Limited in 1981. By that year the company expanded and began dealing in refining, and petrochemicals. Furthermore, RIL included products and services in the retail and telecommunications industries. Aside from this, they founded Reliance Retail Limited (a subsidiary of RIL).

Unfortunately, In 1985, Rasikbhai died. The following year Mukesh Ambani’s father suffered a stroke. Dhirubhai was too weak to handle the business. It was at this time that all the responsibility was shifted to Mukesh Ambani as he is the eldest son of the family. At the age of 24 years, Ambani was given charge of the construction of the Patalganga petrochemical plant.

Death of Dhirubhai Ambani

Later, on the 6th of July 2002, Dhirubhai Ambani died after suffering a second stroke. As a result, his death elevated tensions between the brothers. Dhirubhai did not leave any will for the distribution of the empire. Therefore, their mother, Kokilaben Ambani, solved the dispute by splitting the company into two. Mukesh Ambani received Reliance Industries Limited and Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited.

In October 2007, Mukesh topped the global rich list surpassing Bill Gates and the Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu. In fact, he also surpassed the billionaire investor Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway. Mukesh valued at $63.2 billion in 2007. Mukesh Ambani’s wealth surged more than $25 billion in 13 years. At the time both Gates and Slim were worth $ 62.29 billion occupying the second and third spot respectively on the rich list.

Mukesh Ambani led the two companies. He built the world’s largest grassroots petroleum refinery at Jamnagar, India, and can produce  660,000 barrels per day in the year 2010.

In December 2013, Mukesh Ambani announced a collaborative venture with Bharti Airtel to set up a digital infrastructure for the 4G network in India. On June 18, 2014, he announced an investment of Rs 1.8 trillion across businesses in the next three years and launched 4G broadband services on December 27, 2015, internally.

In 2016, Jio launched its own 4G smartphone under the brand named ‘LYF’. The smartphone was India’s third-largest selling smartphone that year. In September that year, Jio 4G was launched commercially.

The Forbes Magazine listed Mukesh Ambani on India’s 100 richest tycoons in 2017. By that time, Mukesh Ambani has a net worth of $38 billion (Rs 2,46,991 crore).  Later, in 2018, Ambani’s wealth surged a whopping 72.84 percent to $40.1 billion (Rs 2,60,622 crore). This ranked him 19th globally, up from 33rd position in 2017. Mukesh did not stop there. Through issues of shares, he increased his wealth by $17 billion in 2019. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, this raised his net worth to $60.8 billion. Furthermore, the increase in Ambani’s wealth was stoked by a 40% jump in RIL’s shares

Mukesh ranks top 10

In May, Reliance Retail rolled out its JioMart e-commerce venture selling food and grocery items in 200 cities. Reliance acquired the retail business of Future Group in August 2020, consolidating its leadership position in India’s retail sector.

In August 2020 during the lockdown, Ambani sold a 33% stake in Jio for just over $20 billion. He declared making big plans for his e-retail business.

JioMart is part of Reliance’s ambitious “new commerce” strategy that not only seeks to marry RIL’s vast network of physical stores with JioMart but also enroll millions of Kirana shops as their last-mile delivery partners. In September 2020, Mukesh Ambani sold a 15% stake in Reliance Retail Ventures for Rs 60,000-63,000 cr. He issued fresh shares to investors. The company completed the fundraising by October 2020. However, by December 2020, 16% from their all-time high of Rs 2,369.35.

Ambani in 2021

In 2021, Reliance Industries was dealt a fine of $3.3 million. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) fined Mukesh. Moreover, several other Ambani family members, including his wife Nita, his brother Anil, Anil’s wife Tina, and other firms linked to the family were fined. The whopping US$3.3 million fine relates to an alleged violation of takeover code regulations back in 2000. Furthermore, they become recent targets of student protests. By 2021, Ambani’s net worth was 77.2 million.

Read more on: The Journey of the English Business Magnate – Sir Richard Branson

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