Gautam Adani’s incredible rise continues. The Indian infrastructure mogul became the richest Asian billionaire in history (in sheer dollar terms) earlier this month–and he’s kept on climbing. Adani has now passed Warren Buffett to become the 5th richest person in the world.
Forbes estimates that the 59-year-old Adani has a net worth of $123.7 billion, as of Friday’s market close, edging out the $121.7 billion fortune of Buffett, who is 91.
Adani is the founder and chairman of Adani Group, a port and energy conglomerate with six publicly traded companies in India. Shares of each of those businesses are up by between 19% and 195% this year, as Adani has led aggressive expansion into renewable energy, media, airports and more. Earlier this month, Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Co., run by the brother of the United Arab Emirates’ crown prince, invested $2 billion in three of Adani’s green energy-focused firms. He has said he wants to become the world’s largest producer of green energy, with a goal of investing up to $70 billion into renewable energy projects.
The son of a textile merchant, Adani dropped out of college and, in 1988, started a commodities export firm. By 2008, he had become a billionaire, joining the Forbes ranks for the first time, worth an estimated $9.3 billion. His fortune really began to take off at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, after expanding his empire with major acquisitions like the 2020 purchase of a 74% stake in Mumbai International Airport, India’s second busiest, and the $3.5 billion buyout of Softbank’s renewable energy unit In India. On Friday, Adani agreed to buy Ocean Sparkle, India’s largest marine services company, in a $220 million deal.
Worth $8.9 billion just two years ago, Adani’s fortune then spiked to an estimated $50.5 billion in March 2021 thanks to his skyrocketing share prices–then nearly doubled by March 2022, to an estimated $90 billion, as Adani Group stocks rose even further.
Adani’s estimated $123.7 billion net worth makes him the richest person in India, $19 billion wealthier than the country’s number 2, Mukesh Ambani (who’s worth an estimated $104.7 billion). He surpasses Buffett as shares of the famed investor’s Berkshire Hathaway dropped by 2% on Friday amid a broad drop in the U.S. stock market.
There are now only four people on the planet richer than Adani, according to Forbes’ real-time billionaire tracker: Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates (worth an estimated $130.2 billion), French luxury goods king Bernard Arnault ($167.9 billion), Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($170.2 billion) and Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk ($269.7 billion).