Indians shine in the UK Rich List: George Osborne take note

The global media has missed an interesting detail in the Sunday Times Rich List published this week. It is the remarkable rise in the fortunes of several Indian and Indian-origin entrepreneurs whose names ought to be much better known in the UK.

We all know about – and indeed track – the fall and rise in the fortunes of some high-profile Indian-origin entrepreneurs. So it was quite natural that the big news in this year’s List was ArcelorMittal chairman Lakshmi Niwas Mittal’s fall to 4th place from the top slot that he held for a record eight years.

But there are dozens of others who have either shown a mercurial rise or are promising new entrants. Their contribution to the UK economy is less well known.

Here’s an example bursting with the symbolism of two Indians who share the same name. The famous Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agarwal fell from 26th to 35th spot with a £50mn drop in his fortunes (he is still worth a massive £2.2bn).

But another man by the name of Anil Aggarwal made an impressive new entry at number 222. He is the founder of iEnergizer, an Indian company offering back-office functions to blue-chip companies. Founded in 2000, it floated on London’s AIM exchange in 2010, and the man is already worth £404mn.

To return to famous names, one of the fastest risers in the 2013 List was Caparo Group founder Swraj Paul, who jumped 49 places from 87 to 38 as the family’s fortunes grew an astonishing 135% to reach £2bn.

Other fast risers (and this is a random selection) include:

  • Essar Group vice chairman Ravi Ruia: Up nine places to 24. Fortunes rose 28% by £550mn. Total wealth £2.5bn;
  • Indorama Ventures chairman Sri Prakash Lohia: Wealth rose 48% by £616mn to hit £1.89bn and climbed 17 spots to take 39th place;
  • Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal: Up from 265th place to 170, as his wealth grew from £304mn to £515mn; and
  • Cipla chairman Yusuf Hamied: The generic drugs manufacturer’s fortunes rose by 80% from £550mn to £1.26bn and position from 112 to 53.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) George Osborne should take note.

Because last week, he told the gala Asian Awards night that Britain’s recovery from its current debt crisis will depend in large measure on its ability to tap into the opportunities offered by the rapidly growing economies of India and other Asian countries.

“I spend a huge amount of time talking to Asian business, be it Indian investments in our car and steel industries, Malaysian investment in London’s regeneration or Chinese investment in our energy and water infrastructure,” he told an invited audience of Asian entrepreneurs and celebrities.

“What we all know is that there’s a huge power shift happening in our world – a power shift in our economy – and that means that the success of the British economy is going to in the coming decades depend on seizing the opportunity that the rise of Asia and Asian prosperity represents.”

The Hinduja brothers, Tatas, Mittals, Pauls and Bagris will be important to Britain’s economic recovery. But the country also needs to be told of the truly amazing scale of wealth that so many other Indian-origin men and women are creating every day.

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