Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 342 Rahul Bajaj $5.55B

Random fact: Eldest son Rajiv took charge of Bajaj Auto in 2005.

Overview

Bajaj is the chairman of Bajaj Auto, the world's largest maker of three-wheeler motorcycles. The Pune, India based manufacturer had revenue of $3.8 billion for the year ended March 2018. He also owns stakes in Bajaj Holdings and Investments, an investment company, and Bajaj Finserv, an insurance and consumer finance group.

As of :
Last change -$22.6M ( -0.4%)
YTD change +$820M ( +17.3%)
Industry Diversified
Biggest asset BJFIN IN Equity
Citizenship India
Age 81
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Rahul Bajaj's net worth of $5.55B can buy ...

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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of U.S. existing home sales
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Latest News

Net Worth Summary

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Confidence rating:

The majority of Bajaj's wealth is derived from companies associated with Bajaj Group, which was founded in 1926 by his grandfather, Jamnalal.

His investments include Bajaj Auto, the world's largest maker of three-wheelers, according to its 2018 annual report. Bajaj Auto had revenue of 247 billion rupees ($3.8 billion) for the year ended March 2018. He owns a 10 percent stake in the Pune, India-based company, according to an April 2019 document providing a breakdown of the fortune, sent by Samir Shrimankar, a spokesman for the Bajaj Group.

The billionaire also owns a 10% stake in insurance and consumer finance provider Bajaj Finserv, and 24% of Bajaj Holdings & Investment, the holding company of other units that are part of the wider Bajaj Group.

Other holdings include 2% of Bajaj Finance, 14% of home appliance maker Bajaj Electrical and 19% of Mukand, a maker of wire rods, steel bars and alloy castings. He's also accumulated about $200 million in cash and personal real estate assets through April 2019, according Bajaj Group representatives.

Samir Shrimankar, a spokesman for Bajaj Group, confirmed Rahul's holdings and net worth in April 2019.

Biography

Birthdate: 6/10/1938
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: Harvard Business School, University of Mumbai, Tilak Maharashtra University, St. Stephen's College

Rahul Bajaj was born on June 30, 1938 in Kolkata, the capital of India's West Bengal state. His grandfather Jamnalal Bajaj, the adopted "fifth son" of peace advocate Mahatma Gandhi, founded the Bajaj Group in 1926, at the height of India’s movement for independence from the U.K. 

Rahul’s father, Kamalnayan Bajaj, who was also close to Gandhi, succeeded Jamnalal in 1942. Kamalnayan started the precursor to Bajaj Auto, three years later. Kamalnayan also expanded into new businesses, including cement, electrical appliances and scooters.

Rahul graduated from St. Stephen's College in Delhi in 1958 with an honors degree in economics. He underwent on-the-job training for four years at two of the group companies, while earning a law degree from Bombay University.

``Given my family background, I knew I wanted to be a businessman by the time I was about 12,'' said Rahul in an interview with Harvard Business School in 2005.

Four years after earning an MBA at Harvard, Rahul became CEO of Bajaj Auto in 1968 at age 30. When Italy's Piaggio didn’t renew Bajaj's license in the 1970s, Rahul began manufacturing his own brand of scooters with names like Chetak and Super. 

Rahul built up Bajaj during the 1970s and ’80s in spite of government regulations that limited production under a system dubbed the License Raj. The restrictions led to buyers having to book a scooter and wait for years, sometimes up to a decade, to receive it. Rahul later recounted in the same Harvard interview: "If I had to go to jail for the excess production of a commodity that most Indians needed, I didn't mind."

Bajaj sales hit a low point around 2001 after market liberalization saw Japanese competitors like Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki introduce new motorcycles and change the dynamics of India's market. Rahul began to delegate many of his responsibilities to a team of younger managers including his family. 

He later split Bajaj Auto in 2008 into three units to boost shareholder returns and give more management control to his sons, Rajiv and Sanjiv. The predecessor company was split into motorcycle unit Bajaj Auto, finance company Bajaj Finserv and a holding company. Rajiv is the managing director of Bajaj Auto and Sanjiv holds the same position at Bajaj Finserv.

The billionaire lives in Pune with his family.

Milestones
  • 1926 Bajaj Group is founded by Jamnalal Bajaj.
  • 1938 Rahul Bajaj is born in Kolkata, the capital of India's West Bengal state.
  • 1959 Obtains license to produce two and three-wheelers.
  • 1964 Earns MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • 1968 Becomes CEO of Bajaj Auto at age 30.
  • 1986 Appointed chairman of Indian Airlines.
  • 2006 Elected to the Upper House of Parliament.
  • 2008 Splits Bajaj Auto into three units.