Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 340 Kumar Birla $5.61B

Random fact: Abstains from drinking alcohol.

Overview

Birla is chairman of Aditya Birla Group, the conglomerate that owns about one-quarter of India's biggest cement maker, Grasim Industries. The Mumbai-based company also has stakes in Hindalco Industries, an aluminum company, and Aditya Birla Capital, a financial services provider. Other investments include iron ore miner Essel.

As of :
Last change +$173M ( +3.2%)
YTD change -$953M ( -14.5%)
Industry Industrial
Biggest asset GRASIM IN Equity
Citizenship India
Age 52
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Kumar Birla's net worth of $5.61B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Birla's fortune is derived from his ownership of Aditya Birla Group, a conglomerate that controls his main holdings. These include 30% of Hindalco Industries, the world's largest aluminum rolling company, a 32% stake in Grasim Industries, which controls India's biggest producer of the building material, and an 11 percent stake in Vodafone Idea, which was created in an August 2018 merger.

He also owns a 13% stake in Aditya Birla Capital, a financial services provider. The shares are held by a promoter group, which includes family members and Mumbai-based holding companies, including IGH Holdings and Turquoise Investments, according to a March 2019 exchange filing. Shares held by his relatives are credited to Birla to reflect his status as chairman.

The group's commodity trading arm, Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises, is valued using reported financial results and the average enterprise value-to-Ebit and price-to-earnings multiples of four publicly traded peers: Glencore PLC, Archer-Daniels-Midland Co, Bunge Ltd and Ingredion Inc.

Its cellulose business, Domsjo Fabriker, reported financial results and the average enterprise value-to-Ebitda and enterprise value-to-sales multiples of four publicly traded peers: Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Ltd, Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing Ltd, Stora Enso OYJ and UPM-Kymmene OYJ.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, insider transactions, taxes and market performance.

Pragnya Ram, a spokeswoman for the billionaire, confirmed Birla's holdings and the net worth calculation.

Biography

Birthdate: 6/14/1967
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: London Business School, University of Mumbai, Institute of Chartered Accountants/India

The Birla Group, which started as a cotton trading company in 1857, is one of India's oldest family-owned businesses. The outfit has interests in metals, cement, financial services, telecommunications and retail.

Kumar's great-grandfather Ghanshyam Das Birla, created Hindalco Industries in 1958. It is now India's second-largest aluminum maker. Ghanshyam Das, who financed Mohandas Gandhi's fight for independence from British rule, expanded the group's interests to include cement, chemicals and rayon. Gandhi was assassinated on the grounds of Ghanshyam Das's New Delhi house in 1948. The estate has been converted into a memorial to the freedom fighter.

Born in 1967, Kumar was raised in Kolkata and Mumbai, and earned his MBA from London Business School. He married his wife, Neerja Kasliwal, at age 22. Today, Neerja is the vice chairwoman for the family's education projects and oversees the Aditya Birla World Academy, an international school in Mumbai.

Kumar took over as chairman of the family business at age 28 when his father, Aditya Vikram Birla, died of cancer in 1995. His father had expanded abroad, setting up companies in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Kumar spent a year looking at the group's companies, traveling from factory to factory. He revised old financial practices, hired managers from multinational companies and broke with the tradition of employing aging staff, setting a retirement age of 60.

The billionaire bought up cement companies amid a slump in stock prices in 1998. UltraTech Cement is India's largest producer of the building material. He also moved into new markets, including mobile phones and supermarkets. Hindalco Industries, India's second-largest aluminum producer, bought Atlanta-based Novelis for $6 billion in 2007, the largest acquisition by the Aditya Birla Group. Novelis is the world's biggest producer of rolled aluminum which is used in beverage cans and other products.

Aditya Birla Group became the world's largest maker of carbon black, used in tire manufacturing, when it acquired Georgia-based Columbian Chemicals for $875 million in 2011. Birla is seeking to expand in commodities to take advantage of long-term growth in Asian demand. Aditya Birla Group owns Essel Mining & Industries, a closely held iron ore miner, which accounts for about half of his personal net worth.

Milestones
  • 1958 Ghanshyam Das establishes Hindalco Industries.
  • 1990 Starts participating in the family business.
  • 1995 Takes over as chairman Aditya Birla Group after father's death.
  • 2003 Buys cement business of Larsen & Toubro and names it UltraTech.
  • 2007 Hindalco buys Atlanta-based Novelis for $6 billion.
  • 2007 Opens first supermarket.
  • 2009 Idea Cellular buys 41 percent of Spice Communications.
  • 2014 India's highest court rules allocation of coal mines since 1993 was illegal.