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Friday, May 8, 2009

Mukesh & Anil Ambani

Mukesh & Anil Ambani
$6.4 billion
Associated Companies: Reliance Industries

Two years after the death of their father, Reliance group's founder Dhirubhai Ambani, the brothers finally broke away. The older brother controls the petrochemical businesses and is setting sights to become the czar of India's Retailing revolution. He is also busy setting up Special Economic Zones in almost all corners of the country. Whether he succeeds or not is another issue but the older Ambani sibling is truly making a tryst with destiny. On the other hand he has roped in Chevron for his petrochemical complex at Jamnagar and is getting into oil and gas exploration in a big way – Gas he says is finite and needs to be found as quickly as possible.

The younger brother Anil on the other hand is setting up a conglomerate of businesses from Telecom (it used to be Mukesh's pet project), to financial services, power and infrastructure. Anil is known as much for his out of the office activities as much as he is known for his business acumen. These range to dating and marrying the film actress Tina Munim, being friends with the Big B of Bollywood "Amitabh Bachchan", the influential business man turned politician “Amar Singh" or jogging to the polling booth at 7.00 in the morning - to exercise his voting rights. A Wharton graduate Anil was considered a financial wiz kid and he introduced the 50 year Yankee bond to the US investors -the first by an Indian company.

The Reliance group is one of the best anecdotes of the rags to riches variety. Their father Dhirubhai Ambani started his career working at a petrol pump in Aden. Over the past few years Reliance has also had its share of controversy whether it was the defense deal papers in the homes of one of its employees, or the private placement of shares to UTI or the share swapping controversy where some one’s share was inadvertently swapped with some body else’s, to the L&T stake sale controversy but inspite of that the group has chugged at blistering pace.

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