Ranking the most successful Bengali entrepreneurs is not an easy task, especially when you consider that most of the Companies they run are unlisted. However, with some market data available, its do-able. Once again, let us re-affirm the fact that the readers of the blog should not use the data on the Blog’s articles for any investment decisions. We have surely missed out some names and the authors would appreciate any reader reaching out to us to apprise us of the same.
1) Subrata Roy, Managing Worker and Chairman at Sahara India Pariwar is arguably the richest Bengali in the world now; and if reports are to be believed, even he doesn’t know the true extent of his wealth! Conservative estimates value the Group at over Rs. 130,000 crores (US$ 26 Billion) spread over its interests in real estate, media, sports, tourism, film, healthcare and hospitality. Whether it is his charitable activities, fleet of private jets or hobnobbing with Bollywood celebrities, almost everything he does is reported widely in media. Even in the times of Mayawati he is one of the most powerful people in Uttar Pradesh. Recently, he paid the most ($370 Million) for the Pune IPL Team, bought a stake into Force India Formula One Team for $100 Million and lent $150 Million to troubled industrialist Vijay Mallya, Chairman of Kingfisher. The Group’s pet project is titled ‘Aamby Valley”, located in Lonavala, Maharashtra.
Image: the Golf Course at night, Aamby Valley, Maharashtra
2) Purnendu Chatterjee, Chairman of The Chatterjee Group (TCG), heads a private equity fund which has invested over $3.5 Billion in India alone, over the last 10 years. With global business interests ranging from Petrochemicals, Life Sciences, Information Technology, to Real Estate and Entertainment, this man has been a trail-blazer of sorts. An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and the University of California at Berkeley; he joined McKinsey in 1976, became a partner at 34 and at one time was mentored by none other than the Billionaire Investor George Soros. He is well known in India, for being the largest private share-holder of Haldia Petrochemicals, being a part of the team that bought global Petrochemicals giant, Basell in 2005 and being one of the Founders of the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
Image: Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, co-founded by Purnendu Chatterjee
3) Sunil Kanti Roy, Chairman of the Peerless Group, is probably the wealthiest resident Bengali today. He heads the Rs. 13,000 crores (US$ 2.8 Billion) Group having diversified interests in Finance and Investments, Hospitals, Real Estate, Hotels, Travel and Senior Care. Roy received the ‘Padma Shri” in 2009.
Image: The Group’s Axis Mall in Rajarhat, Calcutta
4) Dr. Kali P. Chaudhuri, Chairman of KPC Group, might be based out of Bay Area, California, but has huge investments in West Bengal and the rest of India. His businesses enjoy a combined valuation of more than Rs. 8,300 crores (US$ 1.6 Billion), and is spread across Healthcare, Pharmaceutical manufacturing, Biofuels and Alternative Energy, ITeS, Education, eal Estate and Travel. He is considered to be one of the foremost Orthopedic surgeons in the world.
Image: KPC Group logo
5) Amar Gopal Bose, Founder and Chairman of Bose Corporation is valued at more than $1.1 Billion according to the Forbes Billionaire List 2011. A brilliant Electric and Acoustic Engineer, Mr. Bose was born to an Indian freedom fighter who escaped to the US to escape prosecution by the British. The Company operates 5 plants, 200 retail stores and an automotive subsidiary in Stow, Massachusetts. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 1950s and as a token of gratitude donated a majority of the Company in the form of non-voting shares to his Alma Mater to sustain and advance MIT’s education and research mission. His son, Vanu Bose, runs Vanu, Inc. Chances are if you are reading this while listening to music on your headphones aboard British Airways, hearing the evening prayers at Mecca, or enjoying Zubin Mehta’s performance at the Colosseum in Rome, you have got to thank Mr. Bose for it!
Image: Bose Corporation HQ in Framingham, Massachusetts
6) Prasoon Mukherjee, Chairman of Universal Success Enterprises Limited, is based out of Singapore, but has made huge investments into India over the past decade or so. With interests spanning across Ports, Power, Tourism, Hospitality, Townships and Industrial Parks, Chief Ministers of states, from Guajarat to West Bengal have rolled out the red carpet for him. His Group is valued at more than Rs. 5,000 crores (US$ 1 Billion), and his pet project is the Kolkata West International City, a 377-acre township being developed in Howrah, India. Recently he has setup a motorcycle manufacturing plant with TVS in Eastern India.
Image: The Main Gate at the KWIC, Howrah, India
7) Bicky Chakraborty, Founder and Chairman of Elite Hotels, Sweden, enjoys two sobriquets, “the Richest Indian in Sweden” and “Sweden’s Biggest Hotelier”. Not surprisingly, his 22 super-luxury Hotels, across the country welcomes the best of Swedish and International society. He also owns more than 40 English Pubs in Sweden and the Westbank Hospital in Howrah, India. He is building another 275-bed Hospital in Calcutta, increasing his Healthcare portfolio. His personal networth is estimated at more than Rs. 3,000 crores (US$ 600 Million).
Image: Elite Hotel Stockholm Plaza, Stockholm, Sweden
8) Aveek Sarkar, Chairman of ABP Group, owns two newspapers, nine magazines including Fortune India, four TV channels (ABP News, ABP Majha, ABP Ananda and Sananda TV), two publishing houses including Penguin India and a Mobile and an Internet company. With a personal net worth of more than Rs. 2,500 crores (US$ 500 Million), his private art collection is sometimes the discussion of Calcutta’s coffee-house addas. Both his son, Aritra Sarkar and daughter, Chiki Sarkar have fledgling careers in ABP Group and Penguin India respectively.
Image: Aveek Sarkar presenting the Anandalok Award to Aishwariya Rai in 2011
9) Bijon Nag, Chairman of IFB Industries, has diversified interests running across Home Appliances, Engineering, Automotive and Agro. Two of his divisions are listed on the BSE while two are not and his businesses enjoy a combined valuation of Rs. 2,000 crores (US$400 Million).
Image: IFB HQ, Calcutta
10) Kaustav Ray, Chairman of RP Group, has businesses spanning IT, Media, Agro Foods, Ceramics and Sports. With a cumulative value of Rs. 2,000 crores (US$400 Million), the Group’s flagship Company “RP Infosystems” produces the “Chirag” brand of computers, the third largest computer brand in India according to DataQuest. In addition, he sponsors two soccer Clubs, located in West Bengal and Kerala respectively.
Image: A hoarding for Chirag Computers in Calcutta
11) Satya Prasad Roy Burman, Chairman of the Khadims Group, is a heavy-weight in the Indian leather industry. Apart from their own leather manufacturing facilities located in Eastern India, the Company has almost 700 retail stores (including 256 in West Bengal alone) across the length and breadth of the country. Recently, the Company has forayed into Jewellery, Departmental Stores and Restaurants and these businesses are cumulatively valued at over Rs. 2,000 crores (US$400 Million).
Image: A print ad for Khadims shoes
12) Gautam Kundu, Chairman of Rose Valley Group, has diversified interests into Real Estate, Insurance, Hospitality, Apparel, ITeS and Media and Entertainment. The Group valued at more than Rs. 2,000 crores (US$400 Million) owns and operates the ultra-luxury the Chrome (Calcutta), the Orbit (Siliguri) and the Marigold (Goa). Overall, the Group owns 22 Hotels, 5 resorts, 2 Amusement Parks, 2 publications and 4 TV Channels, including the current hot favourite, “Rupashi Bangla”.
Image: Chrome Hotel, Calcutta
13) Sudeep Dutta, Chairman of Ess Dee Aluminium, enjoys a listing on the BSE and is valued at more than Rs. 1,800 crores (US$ 350 Million) and is one of the biggest players in the Aluminium Packaging Business. He acquired India Foils in 2008 and got the International VC Sequoia Capital to pick up a 7% stake in the company. He started in 1991 with only 12 employees.
Image: Sudeep Dutta
14) Sagnik Roy, Partner at Txyco Ltd and Yongtong Group, is often called as “China’s son-in-law” for being the most powerful foreign businessman in China. Born in Durgapur, India, he heads TXYCO Ltd., a Rs. 1,500 crores (US$ 300 Million) conglomerate.
Image: Iron Ore supply for one of Txyco’s plants in China
15) Asim Ghosh, CEO of Husky Energy, is probably the first non-Promoter CEO on this list. Before taking over as the CEO of Husky Energy in Canada, Mr. Ghosh was the MD and CEO of Hutchison Essar Ltd., from 1998-2009. During his tenure, the Company grew from a one-city operation to become the country’s second-largest mobile phone provider, with more than 63 million subscribers.In 2007, he presided over the sale of Hutchison Whampoa’s stake in the company to Vodafone in a deal that valued the business at approximately $19 billion. At the time, the sale was the biggest corporate takeover in India’s history and, according to a Thomson Reuters analysis, the largest all-cash transaction in Asia up to 2007, with Vodafone agreeing to pay $11.1 billion in cash for Hutchison Whampoa’s stake. His net worth is estimated at Rs. 1,500 crores (US$ 300 Million).
Image: Asim Ghosh addressing Husky Energy shareholders
16) Pritish Nandy, Chairman of Pritish Nandy Communications, was founded by him in September 1993. The Group, collectively valued at more than Rs. 1,500 crores ($300 Million) was one of the first in the Media and Entertainment industry in India to go in for a public listing on the BSE and NSE. Currently, they are into Films, Television Content, Commercials, Events, Wellness and Theme Places.
Image: “Kaante”, produced under the PNC Banner
17) Santanu Ghosh, Chairman of Xenitis Group, has interests in IT Hardware manufacturing, Training, Telecommunications, Motorcycles, Media and a recently launched brand of cycles. The Group is valued at more than Rs. 1,250 crores ($250 Million) and went to the market with an IPO in 2007. Ghosh was nominated for the “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award by Ernst & Young in 2006.
Image: Indian FM Pranab Mukherjee with Global Automobiles’ bike
18) Shanta Ghosh, Chairman of DCPLGroup, valued at more than Rs. 1,250 crores (US$ 250 Million). Founded by Sadhan Dutt, the Group has diversified interests into Engineering and Architecture Consultancy, Civil Construction, Real Estate, Chemicals Manufacturing and IT-BPO services.
Image: DCPL House, Salt Lake, Calcutta
19) Dr. Prannoy Roy, Managing Director of NDTV, was born to an Indian father and Irish/ English mother in Calcutta in 1949. After completing his PhD from the Delhi School of Economics, he founded NDTV in 1988 and quickly cemented its position as the numero uno television news channel in India. Currently he runs five channels in India, and two abroad. NDTV has nurtured the finest Indian TV journalists such as Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt, Vikram Chanda, Pankaj Pachauri and Vishnu Som. NDTV is also credited with running social campaigns such as “Greenathon”, “Save Our Tiger”, etc. His Company is valued at more than Rs. 1,000 crores (US$ 200 Million).
Image: Dr. Roy at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Davos, Switzerland
20) Sumit Mazumder, Chairman of Tractors India Limited, has taken the mantle over from his father, A. Mazumder, who has run the business for over six decades. TIL competes with the big guys in India, such as L&T, by building heavy machinery for construction and excavation at their plant located in Calcutta, the only of its kind in India. They are also the sole dealer for the products of American giant, Caterpillar in Eastern India and Bhutan. His businesses are valued at more than Rs. 1,000 crores (US$ 200 Million).
Image: TIL Pavilion at the Excon India Trade Show, 2009
21) Arindam Chaudhuri, Chairman of IIPM, runs a Rs. 1,000 crores (US$ 200 Million) business with his father, Prof. Malay Chaudhuri. With 18 B-Schools across India, four Magazines and a Film Production Company, IIPM is considered to be a heavy-weight in the education sector in India.
Image: Arindam Chaudhuri with his Bentley
22) Tapas Chakraborti, Chairman of DQ Entertainment, is listed on the BSE, and enjoys a market-cap of around Rs. 1,000 crores (US$ 200 Million). The Company is into Film Production, Animation, Gaming and Licensing and Distribution. With an employee base of close to 4,000, the Company is spread across Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Manila, Ireland, Paris, Los Angeles and Japan.
Image: Tapas Chakraborti on a CNBC interview
23) Gautam & Satyam Roy Choudhury, Chairman of Techno India Group, heads the Education conglomerate valued at more than Rs. 1,000 crores (US$ 200 Million). The group runs more than 31 colleges across Eastern, Northern and Western India and counts more than 1 lakh student as its alumni.
Image: Techno India Campus, Calcutta
24) Anjan Chatterjee, Chairman of Speciality Restaurants and Situations Advertising. The latter, which is not even a non-core business for him clocked revenues of Rs. 100 crores in 2010. The former, which has given him the title of “Restaurant King” in India has seen him setting-up close to 100 restaurants across the country, under seven different brands: Mainland China, Oh! Calcutta, Sigree, Haka, Flame & Grill, Shack and Machaan. His businesses are cumulatively valued at Rs. 1,000 crores (US$ 200 Million).
Image: Inside a Mainland China restaurant
25) AK Chandra, Group Director of PC Chandra Group, manages one of the biggest conglomerates in Eastern India. They have interests in Jewellery, Chemicals, Plastics, Rubber, Hospitality, ITeS and Real Estate and are valued at more than Rs. 1,000 crores (US$ 200 Million). With almost 30 jewellery retail stores spread across eastern, Northern and Southern India, the division is counted as one of the biggest Jewellery brands in the country.
Image: The Senator Hotel, Calcutta
26) Shankar Sen, Chairman of Senco Gold, owns and operates 30 jewellery showrooms across Eastern and Western India and also exports jewellery to New York, Chicago, Singapore, Washington, Birmingham, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and London. Senco Impex is also into wholesale trading in the domestic markets. The Company enjoys a valuation of Rs. 800 crores (US$ 160 Million).
Image: Bengali movie actors wearing Senco Jewellery products