Gautam Shantilal Adani (born 24 June 1962) is an Indian billionaire industrialist who is the chairman and founder of the Adani Group — an Ahmedabad-based multinational conglomerate involved in port development and operations in India. Adani is the president of the Adani Foundation, which is primarily led by his wife, Priti Adani.
He founded the Adani Group in 1988 and diversified his business into resources, logistics, energy, agriculture, defence and aerospace, amongst others.
According to Forbes, his family’s net worth is estimated to be around US$25.2 billion as of October. 2020. He is the second richest man in India, a spot attained in 2019. In 2019, he was ranked as the third most powerful person in India by India Today. As of 2018 he had a 66% stake in Adani Ports & SEZ Limited, 75% stake in Adani Enterprises, 73% stake in Adani Power, and a 75% stake in Adani Transmission Limited.
Gautam Adani was born on 24 June 1962 in a Jain family to Shantilal and Shanti Adani in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He has 7 siblings and his parents had migrated from the town of Tharad in the northern part of Gujarat. His father was a textile merchant. He was educated at Sheth Chimanlal Nagindas Vidyalaya school in Ahmedabad. He enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in commerce at Gujarat University, but dropped out after the second year. Adani was keen on business, but not his father’s textile business.
In 1978, as a teenager, Adani moved to Mumbai to work as a diamond sorter for Mahendra Brothers. He worked there for 2-3 years before establishing his own diamond brokerage firm at Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai.
In 1981, his elder brother Mansukhbhai Adani bought a plastics unit in Ahmedabad and invited him to manage the operations. This venture turned out to be Adani’s gateway to global trading through polyvinyl chloride (PVC) imports.
In 1985, he started importing primary polymers for small-scale industries. In 1988, Adani established Adani Exports Limited, now known as Adani Enterprises Limited – the holding company of the Adani Group. Originally, the company dealt in agricultural and power commodities.
In 1991, the economic liberalization policies turned out to be favorable for his company and he started expanding the businesses into trading of metals, textiles, and agro products.
In 1995, he set up the first jetty. Originally operated by Mundra Port & Special Economic Zone, the operations were transferred to Adani Ports & SEZ Limited (APSEZ). Today, the company is the largest private multi-port operator. Mundra Port is the largest private sector port in India, with the capacity of handling close to 210 million tons of cargo per annum.
In 1996, the power business arm of the Adani Group – Adani Power Limited was founded by Adani. Adani Power holds thermal power plants with a capacity of 4620 MW, the largest private thermal power producer of the country.
In 2006, Adani entered the Power generation business. From 2009 to 2012, he acquired Abbot Point Port in Australia and Carmichael Coal in Queensland.
In May 2020, Adani won the world’s largest solar bid by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) worth $6 billion. The 8000 MW photovoltaic power plant project will be taken up by Adani Green; and Adani Solar will establish 2000MW of additional solar cell and module manufacturing capacity.
Gautam Adani is married to Priti Adani. He was abducted and held hostage for ransom in 1998, but was released without collecting the money. He was in the Taj Hotel during the 2008 Mumbai attacks, but survived by hiding in the toilet.