Singapore: As many as 17 Indian families, led by the Ambanis, figure in the maiden Forbes list of 50 richest Asian families, which is the highest for any country in this part of the world.
Ranked 3rd, the Ambanis' net worth, which combines the wealth of both the brothers, Mukesh and Anil, has been estimated at $21.5 billion followed by Premjis, ranked 7th on the list with $17 billion. Not far behind are the Hindujas, Mistry and the Godrej families, ranked 9th, 10th and 15th, with net worth of $15 billion, $14.9 billion and $11.4 billion respectively.
Among the 17 Indian families, some are no longer Indian citizens. "While most on our list have kept their flock together over generations, the 50 also includes those who've gone separate ways in business or are entirely estranged," the report said.
It added: "For example, India's Ambani family combines the wealth of brothers Mukesh and Anil, who inherited most of their father's fortune on his death in 2002 but opted to do business separately." Mukesh's twins, son Akash and daughter Isha, work at and occupy board seats at telecom arm Reliance Jio Infocomm and Reliance Retail.
Anil's son Jai Anmol works at Reliance Capital, it said. The Burman family from India, who is featured on the cover of the magazine, has brought in professional managers to ensure the continuity of the business. Anand Burman, the 63-year-old, fifth-generation scion and non-executive chairman of family-owned Dabur has seen net profits grow 24-fold, and market cap soar 40-fold since 1998, Forbes noted.
Dabur boasts a portfolio of 400 products-ranging from skin-care bleaches and ayurvedic shampoos to natural fruit juices-selling through nearly six million outlets across India. The family's 68 percent holding is valued at $5 billion.The minimum combined net wealth to qualify for the list was $2.9 billion.
To compile the list Forbes team sifted through information on 500-plus families and valued dozens. "In the end a $2.9 billion net worth was needed to qualify. The valuations are based on stock prices and exchange rates on Sep 25," the report added. The Lee families, one from South Korea associated with Samsung, and the other that oversees Henderson topped the list, with a net worth of $26.6 billion and $24.1 billion respectively.
"Family is at the core of many of Asia's biggest and most far-flung conglomerates and some of its best-known brands. Perhaps no clan better illustrates this than the Lees of Samsung Group, whose 2014 revenues were equivalent to 22 percent of South Korea's GDP (gross domestic product)," the report said.
The report stated that nearly half of the richest families in Asia are of Chinese descent, yet none of the inaugural 50 is based in the mainland, where conglomerates are young, run by the first generation able to muster billions of dollars in wealth in an open economy.
Following are the Indian business families that figured out in the list:
1. Ambanis ranked 3rd ($21.5 billion)
2. Premjis ranked 7th ($17 billion)
3. Hindujas ranked 9th ($15 billion)
4. Mistry ranked 10th ($14.9 billion)
5. Godrej ranked 15th ($11.4 billion)
6. Mittal ranked 19th ($10.1 billion)
7. Birla ranked 22nd ($7.8 billion)
8. Bajaj ranked 29th ($5.6 billion)
9. Burman ranked 30th ($5.5 billion)
10. Lohia ranked 31st ($5.4 billion)
11. Patel ranked 33rd ($4.8 billion)
12. Lal ranked 40th ($4 billion)
13. Bangur ranked 42nd ($3.9 billion)
14. Jindal ranked 43rd ($3.8 billion)
15. Munjal ranked 46th ($3.2 billion)
16. Hiranandani ranked 47th ($3.1 billion)
17. Hamied ranked 50th ($2.9 billion)