BILLIONAIRE stock investor and founder of the country’s newest airline Akasa Air, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, passed away Sunday morning. He was 62. Akasa had its inaugural flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad just a week ago on August 7.
Jhunjhunwala died of sudden cardiac arrest. He was brought dead to the hospital at 6.45 am, N Santhanam, CEO, Breach Candy Hospital, told The Indian Express. His last rites were held Sunday late evening in Mumbai.
Born on July 5, 1960, Jhunjhunwala studied and trained to be a chartered accountant; and his investment since the mid-1980s have grown to $5.8 billion or Rs 46,000 crore as of August 2022.
Known as India’s Warren Buffett, he was always bullish on India, and a supporter of the BJP government and its economic policies. He invested in the stock markets in his personal capacity and through RARE Enterprises, an asset management firm. The name ‘RARE’ is made up of the first two letters of his and his wife’s first names (Rakesh and Rekha).
He held directorship in three firms — RARE Equity Private ltd, RARE Family Foundation and HOPE Film Makers, besides at five limited liability partnership firms. He holds substantial stake in about three dozen companies including Titan, Tata Motors, Crisil Ltd, Karur Vysya Bank, Aptech, Canara Bank, and Fortis Healthcare.
Expressing condolences to Jhunjhunwala family and friends, Prime Minister Modi described him as “indomitable”. “Full of life, witty and insightful, he leaves behind an indelible contribution to the financial world. He was also very passionate about India’s progress. His passing away is saddening,” he said in a tweet.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was indomitable. Full of life, witty and insightful, he leaves behind an indelible contribution to the financial world. He was also very passionate about India’s progress. His passing away is saddening. My condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/DR2uIiiUb7
Other than Akasa Air that he founded recently, Jhunjhunwala is also a promoter of Star Health and Allied Insurance, with he and his wife together holding a 17.49 per cent stake in the company. The couple hold 5.05 per cent in Titan, 5.48 per cent in Crisil and 3.64 per cent in Federal Bank. His other big investment holdings include Titan Company, where he along with his wife Rekha held 5.05 per cent stake. He owns 1.09 per cent stake in Tata Motors.
While Jhunjhunwala had been keeping unwell for some time and was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in July for a check-up, the investment fraternity expressed shock at his demise. While he was known as a risk taker, many believe Jhunjhunwala inspired millions of retail investors through his positivity – he was always positive about the Indian economy and markets in the long term. He held several of his investments for more than a decade, they said.
N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, said, “Rakesh Jhunjhunwala believed in India and the sheer potential of the country. This conviction led him to consistently make bold decisions throughout his life and career. He had tremendous regard for the Tata Group. Mr. Jhunjhunwala’s passing is an irreparable loss and we extend our deep condolences to his family and friends.”
— Akasa Air (@AkasaAir) August 14, 2022
Speaking to The Indian Express, Nirmal Jain, founder and Chairman of India Infoline said, “He had a heart of gold and a brain that understood markets better than anyone else. His contribution to the markets is immense as he was very positive, a risk-taker, clear-minded and inspired investors whether retail or HNI (high net-worth individuals). He was a very dear friend and we will miss him always.”
Investors and traders used to follow the investment decisions of Jhunjhunwala as the value of his portfolio hit through the roof over the years. “Hundreds of investors blindly bought shares that Jhunjhunwala invested in. Many profited also. It was an untimely death and a bad loss for the stock markets and investors,” said a Dalal Street dealer who closely followed his investment decisions.