Meet India's Warren Buffett, the low-profile investor-turned-overnight-billionaire
Although stockbroker Radhakishan Damani was an unknown name until a few hours ago, he laid the foundation for his newfound fame all the way back in 2000 when he founded D-Mart, the supermarket retail chain which is now valued at above $6 billion (approximately Rs 40,000 crore), making him richer than Anil Ambani and Rahul Bajaj. This is his story.
Damani had no intentions whatsoever to enter the stock market. Having started off as a simple trader in small ball bearings, he was forced to shut down his business and join his brother's stockbroking firm after the demise of his father. He was 32 by then and had no idea of how the field worked. He really started taking it seriously after he gathered inspiration from Chandrakant Sampat, the ace investor in the business.
Despite his share of initial struggles, Damani refused to give up and went on to formulate a strategy of his own. He always believed in long-term results. That worked well for him and within a few years, he went on to the big league of Dalal Street in Mumbai. He was always keen on not letting any egos come in the middle and meddle with his business. Gradually, he scaled up and created a massive fortune in the early '90s.
Often called Mr White for his all-white attire, Damani came to be known for his rivalry with was Harshad Mehta, also a Dalal Street giant. He eventually won the battle, becoming a legend in the fraternity of stock market investors.
According to a report by The Times of India, the 61-year old now owns 82.36 percent of the parent company Avenue Supermarts because of which his wealth is now Rs 32,934 crore. Apart from that, he has stakes in VST Industries, TV18, Somany Ceramics, Jay Shree Tea, Samtel Ltd., Sundaram Fasteners, GE Capital Transportation Industries, and 3M India.
The D-Mart supermarket chain is completely owned and operated by Avenue Supermarts Limited (ASL), and has a presence in 117 locations across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and NCR.
Damani is now worth $5.4 billion (Rs 35,775 crore) which, going by the latest Forbes list, puts him among the top 15 Indian billionaires globally. An investment banker talks about how only a few stockbrokers are also distinguished entrepreneurs and Damani is one of them. Speaking with Business Today, he said, "Damani is a good example of aping the western private-equity players, who are also good at turning out businesses."
Now hailed as the 'Indian Warren Buffet', Damani's properties include the 156-room Radisson Blu Resort in Alibag, a popular beach-front getaway near Mumbai, according to Forbes.
Being a humble human being who doesn't like to be in the spotlight for his success, Damani always steers clear of the media which is why he is a source of inspiration for many in the country.