Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, ‘Warren Buffett of India’, dies at 62

MUMBAI, Aug 14 (Reuters) – Stock investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, known as the “Warren Buffett of India” with a net worth of $6 billion, died early on Sunday at the age of 62, his family said.

Jhunjhunwala, a chartered accountant from the desert state of Rajasthan, started buying stocks while in college and managed a stock trading firm called RARE Enterprises.

“Rakesh-ji passed away surrounded by his family and close aides,” a family member told Reuters, using a term of respect.

Sign up now for unlimited free access to Reuters.com

The cause of death was not immediately announced.

Jhunjhunwala, the promoter of India’s new low-cost airline Agasa Air, appeared at its public launch a few days ago. He has a wife and three children.

Businessmen and bankers from Mumbai, India’s financial capital, have been associated with him for more than 30 years, saying Jhunjhunwala’s excellent communication skills helped small investors understand the stock market. His insight into economics and institutions made him a popular television personality.

Jhunjhunjhwala’s races include several companies run by the Tata Group, one of India’s largest conglomerates. This includes Tata Motors (TAMO.NS)Watch maker Titan (TITN.NS)Tata Communications (TATA.NS) and Indian Hotels Co (IHTL.NS)It runs Taj Hotels.

Other investments include Indiabulls Housing Finance (INBF.NS)Star Health Insurance (STAU.NS) and the Federal Reserve Bank (FED.NS)

“We are deeply saddened,” Agasa Air, which Jhunjhunwala co-founded, said in a statement. “We at Agasa cannot thank Mr. Jhunjhunwala enough for being an early believer in us and for putting his trust and confidence in us to build a world-class airline.”

Prominent politicians and business leaders also mourned his death on social media.

“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is irrepressible,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.

“Life, humor and insight, he leaves an indelible contribution to the world of finance. He was also passionate about India’s progress. His passing is saddened. My condolences to his family and fans.”

Modi concluded with “Om Shanti”, a call for peace.

Uday Kotak, the chief executive of Kotak Mahindra and a friend from his school days, said that Jhunjhunwala “believed that stock was underestimating India” and he was right.

“Surprisingly sharp in understanding financial markets,” Kodak tweeted. “We talked regularly and talked a lot during covid. We will miss you Rakesh!”

(This story has been revised to correct Buffett’s misspelling in the headline)

Sign up now for unlimited free access to Reuters.com

Rupam Jain and M. in Mumbai. Reporting by Sriram and Mrunmai Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and William Mallard

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.