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India’s Richest 2019: Ajay Piramal’s stress test

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  • The billionaire faced trouble in real estate, and Piramal Enterprises' exposure to the sector caused its shares to drop as much as 20 percent this year. That decline dragged Piramal's own net worth down 41 percent to $2.95 billion, and pulled his rank down to No. 45 on the Forbes India Rich List, from No. 24 last year

Source | www.forbesindia.com | ANURADHA RAGHUNATHAN

Bollionaire Ajay Piramal got caught up in the credit crunch roiling India’s property market in the past year after his flagship Piramal Enterprises was hit by concerns of being vulnerable to weakened lenders and developers.

While operating profits have continued to grow alongside assets at its property financing unit, Piramal Enterprises’ exposure to the sector caused its shares to drop as much as 20% this year. That decline dragged Piramal’s own net worth down 41% to $2.95 billion and pulled his rank down to No. 45 from No. 24 last year. “We are trying to reduce our exposure,” says Piramal, 64. “We are diversifying from wholesale lending to more retail lending for home buyers.”

Navigating India’s housing mess is a long way from Piramal’s roots in the family textile business, where he started in 1977 at age 22. In the 1980s, Piramal started buying pharmaceutical companies and in 2010 sold part of his holdings to pharma giant Abbott Labs for roughly $3.7 billion.
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