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Radhakishan Damani becomes India’s 2nd richest person

A recluse to the core, Radhakishan Damani does not give media interviews or attend market-related events.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 18, 2020, 09.13 AM IST
Radhakishan Damani
Mumbai: Radhakishan Damani, founder of retailer Avenue Supermarts, has become India’s second-richest person with a networth of $17.8 billion, next only to his Altamount Road neighbour Mukesh Ambani, who heads the leader-board for the uber-rich not just in the country but in the Asian continent.

Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires Index showed that after a rally of more than 5 per cent in the Avenue Supermarts shares last week, the reclusive ace investor Damani moved ahead of HCL’s Shiv Nadar ($16.5 billion), Uday Kotak ($14.9 billion), Gautam Adani ($14.1 billion) and Lakshmi Mittal ($12.1 billion) on the gauge for the ultrarich.

The total net worth of Mukesh Ambani, as on Saturday, is $57.4 billion.

Always attired in a trademark white shirt and a pair of white trousers (the famous Mr W&W), Damani is one of India’s most well-known stock investors. He seed-funded the DMart chain at the turn of the new millennium, when organised retailing had taken only a few steps in a vast domestic consumer market served by innumerable mom-and-pop outlets.

Shares of Avenue Supermarts — the firm that controls supermarket chain DMart — have rallied 31 per cent so far this year and added about Rs 36,000 crore in market capitalisation. Currently, the stock is trading at a market capitalisation more than that of Wipro, ONGC, UltraTech Cement, and HDFC Life Insurance.

A recluse to the core, Radhakishan Damani, or RD as he is known on D-Street, does not give media interviews or attend market-related events. He is rarely seen at social gatherings and is even more restrained when it comes to funding charity projects or taking up social causes, ET had written earlier on the reclusive billionaire.

When RD funded the construction of two guest houses of 'Maheshwari Pragati Mandal' in Mumbai, he requested mandal office-bearers to not disclose his name, ET had reported in 2017.

The Avenue Supermarts shares rallied sharply after the company announced a share sale for institutional investors on February 5. The company raised about Rs 4,000 crore at Rs 2,049 apiece.

On Thursday, the promoters announced the offer for sale of 2.28 per cent at a base price of Rs 2,049, a discount of 20 per cent to the prevailing market price.

To be sure, some analysts have said that Avenue may be expensive, but that has not hurt the stock's performance so far Out of the 25 brokerages that cover Avenue, 11 have a buy rating, while 9 have a sell. The average target price on the stock by analysts is Rs 1,897, 24 per cent lower than the current market price of Rs 2,483. Brokers said low floating stock and relatively stronger profitability have ensured that the stock has been a D-Street favourite.

D-Mart delivered strong growth in net profit in December, although revenue growth reflected the broader consumption slowdown. In the quarter, Avenue Supermarts reported a 53.3 per cent year-onyear rise in standalone profit at Rs 394 crore, compared with Rs 257 crore last year.

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