Gautam Shantilal Adani was born on 24 June 1962 to Shantilal and Shanti Adani in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. His family owned a textile business, but fabrics never riveted the young Adani. What did drive the young man, however, was the zeal for greatness.
When he was studying at the Sheath Chimanlal Nagindas Vidyalaya school in Ahmedabad, Adani found himself at Gujarat’s Kandla Port one day. Fascinated by the sheer size of the port operations, the young lad made it his lifelong dream to build something just as big.
After graduating from school, Adani got himself enrolled at the commerce department of CN Vidyalaya in Ahmedabad for a bachelor’s degree but dropped out during his sophomore year to pursue his ambitions in the lucrative diamond industry.
Making His First Million
In 1978, the young entrepreneur moved to Mumbai with only a few hundred rupees to work as a diamond sorter for the Mahendra Brothers. Within the next three years, Adani had established his diamond brokerage firm at Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai, and had already made his first million!
In 1981, the 19-year-old genius moved back to Ahmedabad to help his elder brother, Mansukhbhai Adani, with the operations of his new plastics unit. The venture turned out to be Adani’s entrance into the intricate global trading scene through the import of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a key raw material for the manufacturing of plastics.
The 1980s was the decade of software and telecom. Every new venture that sprang up during this time focused on this particular sector. Adani, on the other hand, kept to his retail roots.
Adani Exports Limited
In 1988, he established the Adani Exports Limited as a commodity trading firm to deal with the import and export of agricultural and power goods with a capital of 5 lakh INR. The company would go onto become the present-day Adani Enterprises Limited, the holding company of the Adani Group.
1991 saw the Indian government relaxing the economic liberalization policies. This turned out to be advantageous for Adani’s company and enabled him to diversify his venture into the trading of textiles and metals.
The Indian billionaire’s childhood dream of building something as grand as the Kandla Port was realized in 1995 when Adani Group secured the contract for the managerial outsourcing of the Mundra Port in Gujarat.
The first jetty was constructed soon after and it led to a program of expansions and improvements that continues to date. As of today, the Mundra Port is the largest and most efficient private sector port in India with the capacity of handling close to 210 million tons of cargo per annum. It has made billions in revenue for the Adani Group and made it the world’s largest private multi-port operator.
In 1996, the Indian billionaire penetrated the power sector with the formation of Adani Power Limited. The powerhouse would go onto becoming India’s largest private thermal power producer with a staggering production capacity of 4620 MW.
The turn of the century saw the Adani Group adding countless new SBUs to its business portfolio. The company began coal trading in 1999, becoming India’s largest private coal mining company in the process. Its joint venture in edible oil refining in 2000, the Adani Willmar, led to it establishing edible oil refining plants with capacities of more than 2.2 Mt per annum.
Furthermore, the company also started laying down railway lines to ensure seamless cargo movement between the country’s industrial hubs and ended up owning the longest private railway line in India that spans more than 300 km.
Solar Energy Bid
2020 saw the industrialist winning the world’s largest solar bid by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). The $6 billion worth bid would help the company increase its solar production capacity by up to 10000 MW.
Today, Gautam Adani’s venture reaps annual revenues of more than $13 billion from its operations spanning 50 countries. Under his leadership, Adani Group has also received countless awards and honors for its stellar corporate performance.
The group’s profitability has helped Adani build a fortune worth $124.2 billion which makes him the richest man in India and the 3rd richest in the world. While a large chunk of his wealth is spent on investments and luxuries, the Indian billionaire has never shied away from philanthropy either.
In 1996, he founded the Adani Foundation for the promotion of healthcare, education, and infrastructure development. Primarily led by his wife, Priti Adani, the foundation is funded through the Adani Group and has provided cost-free education to more than 100,000 children through 600 schools and balwadis. Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the foundation also contributed INR 100 crore to the PM CARES Fund.
Ties With Narendra Modi
Talking about the Prime Minister, the Indian billionaire’s close ties with Narendra Modi led to accusations of him supporting the latter during the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. Modi was seen using Adani Groups’ chartered planes when traveling to rallies across India. Adani, however, refuted all the claims.
Moreover, Adani Group has been embroiled in countless other controversies. In the late 1990s, claims were made that the group was laundering money and supporting irregularities in its invoicing. 2010 saw the Managing Director of Adani Enterprises Ltd, Rajesh Adani, being arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on charges of custom duty evasion of funds worth more than INR 80 lakh.
In 2017, Indian customs claimed the group was diverting millions of dollars of funds from the company’s books to Adani family tax havens overseas. A $235 million diversion was mapped out on a trail from India through South Korea and Dubai, to a foreign company in Mauritius that was allegedly owned by Vinod Shantilal Adani, the older brother of Gautam Adani.
Lady Luck On His Side
Regardless of the controversies, the Indian billionaire managed to get out of most of them. He has a knack for surviving crises such as when he was ransomed out of a kidnapping hosted by the underworld don, Anees Ibrahim, in 1999. Adani was also present in the Taj Hotel during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Luckily, he survived the terrorist attack by hiding in the toilet.
Nowadays, the self-made billionaire is seen making investments in airports. He has recently acquired the Mumbai airport and would soon be on his way to becoming India’s biggest airport operator!
If you really want something in your life, you need to go after it with full conviction. Sometimes you may need to work odd jobs to meet your living expenses or to raise the capital to fund your chosen venture.
Once you start working on your dream, you will experience things lining up for you. There will be many occasion where you will attract the right people and circumstance to enable you to make progress towards achieving your dream.
Live becomes meaningless unless you work towards achieving a worthy goals. Once you have achieved one goal, you need to start working on another.
Life is a journey and working on things that you are passionate about will make this journey exciting and enjoyable.
When we distance yourselves from the things that we are passionate about, we start to experience stress and struggles in our life. The best way to remove stress and eliminate the struggles is by working on things that you are passionate about.