Radhakishan Damani, founder of retail chain DMart, was referred by ace investor Rakesh Jhunjunwala as among his mentors last year. Damani is a billionaire stock market investor and businessman who hardly gives interviews to media and stays away from market-related events. Of late, Damani has been in news after he became India's second-richest person with a net worth of $17.8 billion.
A rally of more than 5% in Avenue Supermarts shares last week catapulted Damani next only to RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani in the Forbes' Real-Time Billionaires Index. Damani moved ahead of HCL's Shiv Nadar ($16.5 billion), Uday Kotak ($14.9 billion), Gautam Adani ($14.1 billion) and Lakshmi Mittal ($12.1 billion) on the index for the ultrarich. Net worth of Mukesh Ambani, as on February 15, stood at $57.4 billion, according to the Forbes Index.
Here's a look at Damani's rise as an entrepreneur and billionaire investor.
Damani was born in 1954 into an Indian Marwari family. His father Shivkishanji Damani was also engaged in the stock market business. Damani started his graduation from the University of Mumbai to pursue BCom but dropped out to start his own business. After untimely death of his father, he left his ball bearings business to join his brother Gopikishan who was already part of the stock broking business.
According to reports, Damani made his first market investment at the age of 32. Damani's prominent investments in the stock market have been VST Industries, Samtel Ltd, Somany Ceramics, Jay Shree Tea, 3M India, Trent, and Jubilant FoodWorks.
Currently, he holds stakes in Avenue Supermarts, India Cements, VST Industries and Spencers among other firms listed on bourses. After minting money from the stock market, Damani decided to test his entrepreneurial skills by starting a retail venture.
In 2002, he started DMart with only one store in suburban Mumbai. At that time, organised retailers were taking their first steps in a vast domestic consumer market served by innumerable mom-and-pop outlets.
Since then, the maverick stock market investor has not looked back. Damani who is fondly called 'Mr White and White' due to his penchant for wearing white shirt and white trousers currently runs almost 200 DMart stores in India.
In 2017, Damani made his retail chain public by listing its holding company Avenue Supermarts on BSE and NSE.
Avenue Supermarts listed at Rs 604.4, a premium of 102 percent to its issue price on March 21, 2017. Avenue Supermarts' stock closed with a market capitalisation of Rs 39,988 crore on the same day, making it the 65th most valuable Indian firm ahead of Britannia Industries, Marico and Bank of Baroda. The large cap stock hit an all-time high of Rs 2,559 on February 13 this year delivering returns of 323% in a short span of nearly three years. The fresh all-time high hit last week brought Damani to the second position in the Forbes' Real-Time Billionaires Index.
DMart is among the most profitable food and grocery retail chains in India. The retail chain reported a 53.3 per cent year-on year rise in standalone profit at Rs 394 crore in Q3 compared with Rs 257 crore in the corresponding period of last year. The firm reported revenue of Rs 19,900 crore ($2.9 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2019.
Written by Aseem Thapliyal