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Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022

Who was Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, ‘India’s Warren Buffett’?

A chartered accountant by training, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala started his stock market investments with just Rs 5,000 in the mid-eighties, which grew to $5.8 billion (around Rs 46,000 crore), according to Forbes magazine.

rakesh jhunjhunwalaBillionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala passed away on Sunday morning. (Photo: Bloomberg file)

Stockbroker and billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, 62, passed away in Mumbai early Sunday morning.

Breach Candy hospital CEO N Santhanam told The Indian Express that Jhunjhunwala was brought dead to the hospital at 6:45 am. According to a doctor, Jhunjhunwala was suffering from diabetes and a kidney ailment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his death. “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,” he wrote in a tweet.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam also expressed her condolences at Jhunjhunwala’s passing. “Investor, bold risk taker, masterly understanding of the stock market, clear in communication- a leader in his own right,” she wrote on Twitter.

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal called Jhunjhunwala “an inspiration for wealth creation” while expressing his condolences.

Jhunjhunwala, who was popularly known as India’s Warren Buffett, had an estimated net worth of $5.8 billion, according to Forbes. He was also included on the Forbes 2022 list.

Even though he 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 feel that Jhunjhunwala inspired millions of retail investors through his positivity as he was always positive about the Indian economy and markets in the long term. A long-term investor holding several of his investments for more than a decade now, Jhunjhunwala was a true investor, say market participants.

Last week, Akasa Air, a low-cost airline backed by him, had commenced operations in India with its first flight taking off from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.

“For the culture of a company to be frugal you’ve to start off fresh,” Jhunjhunwala had said, amid concerns that the aviation market wasn’t as alluring as before. “I’m very, very bullish on India’s aviation sector in terms of demand.”

Jhunjhunwala had a 40 per cent stake in the airline and had onboarded aviation industry veterans such as former Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube and ex-IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh to run the company.

He began investing in the stock market in the early 1980s and managed his portfolio through his asset management firm RARE Enterprises. Jhunjhunwala was a director at three firms — RARE Equity Private ltd, RARE Family Foundation and HOPE Film Makers, besides at five limited liability partnership firms.

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A chartered accountant by training, he started his stock market investments with just Rs 5,000 in the mid-eighties, which grew to $5.8 billion (around Rs 46,000 crore), according to Forbes magazine. When he started dabbling in the stock market, his father, who was an official in the income tax department, told him not to ask him for money.

Jhunjhunwala was also the promoter of Star Health and Allied Insurance and he and his wife Rekha hold a 17.49 per cent stake in the company. The company was listed in the stock exchanges last year.

Some of the big investment holdings of Jhunjhunwala include Titan Company, where he along with his wife held 5.05 per cent. He also owns 1.09 per cent in Tata Motors and, along with his wife, holds 5.48 per cent in Crisil and 3.64 per cent in Federal Bank.

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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 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. He was a very dear friend and we will miss him always.”

First published on: 14-08-2022 at 10:05:45 am
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