Who is Gautam Adani?
Gautam Adani is an Indian business tycoon who founded the Adani Group, a multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Ahmedabad, India. Founded in 1988, the company is today a major player in coal trading, coal mining, oil & gas exploration, ports, multi-modal logistics, and power generation among others. Born into a business family, he undoubtedly inherited his forefathers’ business acumen but did not develop any interest in the family’s textile business. Ambitious as a young man, he dropped out of school and moved to Mumbai from Ahmedabad to seek his fortunes. He ventured into diamond brokering where he found great success within years and was soon a millionaire. He returned home on the behest of his brother to help him run a small plastics factory. An entrepreneur at heart, he eventually set up his own business, Adani Enterprises, which became the Adani Group’s flagship company. Initially dealing in export and import of commodities, the business soon expanded to encompass coal mining, ports, power generation, Agri Infrastructure, edible oil & transmission and gas distribution, among other ventures. He is known for being a risk taker whose business strategy revolves heavily around excessive leverage and political patronage. His phenomenal success as a first generation entrepreneur often leads to comparisons with another Gujarati entrepreneur, Dhirubhai Ambani, the founder of Reliance Industries.
Childhood & Early Life
Gautam Adani was born on 24 June 1962, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, into a Bania family, to Shantilal and Shanta Adani. He has seven siblings. His family was involved in the textile business.
He was ambitious and determined from a young age. He had little interest in academics and dropped out of school as a teenager. He later attended the Gujarat University but did not stay to complete his degree. While he was interested in business, he had no intention of joining his father’s textile unit.
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His entrepreneurial spirit made him leave Ahmedabad and move to Mumbai when he was 18. Possessing just a few hundred rupees, the young man was determined to make it big. He began working as a diamond sorter at Mahindra Brothers and set up his own diamond brokerage business after a couple of years.
His business did well and he became a millionaire by the time he was 20. By this time his elder brother had newly purchased a plastic factory in Ahmedabad and asked Gautam Adani to help him in running it.
Adani returned to Ahmedabad and started working with his brother. He soon began commodity trading by importing Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), a key raw material for manufacturing plastic and visited South Korea where he made a deal for importing PVC.
In 1988, he established Adani Exports Limited (now known as the Adani Enterprises Ltd). The company initially dealt in agricultural commodities and power and eventually expanded over the years.
The liberalization and economic reforms of 1991 boosted Adani’s business and increased revenues and profits for his company. The favorable business environment allowed Adani to expand his company rapidly.
In 1993, the Government of Gujarat invited private companies to run the Mundra Port and in 1995 Adani won the contract. It was initially operated by Mundra Port & Special Economic Zone Ltd which was later expanded into the Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ). It is today India’s largest private multi-port operator.
Gautam Adani founded the Adani Power Limited, the power business subsidiary of Adani Group, in 1996. The company is India's largest private power producer and also the largest solar power producer of India.
Adani has also been the subject of considerable controversy. He has been accused of receiving special favors from the then-Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi in return for supporting Modi in his political campaign in 2014. Adani has denied the accusations.
Gautam Adani is the founder of the Adani Group, an Indian multinational conglomerate company that deals in businesses in diverse fields, such as, logistics, agribusiness and energy. The group was ranked India's most trusted infrastructure brand by The Brand Trust Report 2015.
The Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) today operates across eight ports in India and is currently constructing a transshipment hub in Kerala. It is India’s first multi-product port-based special economic zone.
The Adani Group is involved in a lot of philanthropic work through the Adani Foundation. The foundation operates in several states in addition to Gujarat and focuses on activities related to education, sustainable livelihood opportunities, broadening rural infrastructure, etc.
His wife runs the Adani Vidya Mandir, a school in Ahmedabad which admits only those children whose parents have an annual income less than Rs.1 lakh.
The foundation has a special scheme for helping fisher folks and provides financial assistance to 500 fishermen of the coastal taluka for purchasing fishing equipment. Educational facilities are provided for the fishermen’s children.
In 2012, Adani Foundation partnered with IndiaSkills, a joint venture in vocational training, and City & Guilds, one of the leading providers of work-related assessment and qualifications, to set up a skills training centre in Gujarat for offering skill-related courses in retail, hospitality, security, construction and engineering.
Awards & Achievements
The Adani Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Adani Group, was awarded the 3rd Annual Greentech CSR Award in 2014.
Personal Life & Legacy
Gautam Adani is married to Priti Adani and has two sons, namely, Karan Adani and Jeet Adani. His wife is a dentist and heads Adani Foundation as a Managing Trustee.
Gautam Adani has an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion.