Radhakishan Damani, a man worth more than 13.8 billion dollars in 2020 as per Forbes, is arguably the most low-key billionaire in India. Not many people know that the 67-year-old investor is Guru of the Big Bull Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, the most famous name in Indian stock market.
Radhakishan Damani holds a crude sense of profit
Damani’s story is a typical rag to riches story which inspires every person who goes to Mumbai with a dream of earning wealth. His family lived in a single-room apartment in Mumbai and his father was a stock broker. Radhakishan Damani dropped out of college to enter in ball-bearing business but after the death of his father, he entered in the stock market brokering business.
Radhakishan Damani made profits by short-selling stocks that were inflated by illegal means by Harshad Mehta in the 1990s. Damani was among the few who identified the illegal practices of Harshad Mehta and benefitted by betting on crashes on the firms the latter was investing. Radhakishan Damani was reportedly the largest individual shareholder of HDFC Bank after it went public in 1995 and made millions out of the bank’s shares.
Radhakishan Damani registered a magnificent increase in his wealth from the stock market. Ramesh Damani conducted an in-depth study about Radhakishan’s formula as he had achieved a feat his peers failed at.
“He will smell a bear and bull market and tell you within a day, not even a month,” Ramesh said, with awe in his voice. “He picked stocks like HDFC Bank when it was at Rs 40. He picked Nestle when it was at Rs 300,” Ramesh gushed in admiration.
Today his portfolio includes Century textiles, Indian Cement, VST Industries, TV Today Network, Blue Dart, Sundaram Finance, 3M India, Jubilant FoodWorks, etc.
Left stock market for his own business
In 1999, he operated a franchise of Apna Bazaar but was “unconvinced” by its business model. He quit stock market in 2000 to start his hypermarket chain, D Mart, setting up the first store in Powai in 2002.
The chain has more than 200 stores across India and the company went public in 2017. The company sells home utility products – including Toys & Games, stationery, beauty products, food, toiletries, bed and bath linen, garments, kitchenware, home appliances, Footwear and more.
Inspiration for Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala holds Damani in same awe and admiration as others. “I learnt trading from him … He has wisdom, extreme patience and humility … The patience he has to hear the other person’s point of view is unbelievable … He taught me life and shaped my nature,” says Jhunjhunwala.
Probably, Rakesh Jhunjhuwala’s inspiration for getting into the airlines business also traces its origin from the success of his Guru (Radha Kishan Damani) in entrepreneurial ventures. While Radhakishan Damani has successfully built a business apart from stock market investing, Jhunjhunwala is yet to do the same.
“In 2000, he gives all this up and becomes an entrepreneur. He starts D Mart, which is valued at Rs 1 lakh crore in the market. He has three acts of great speculator, investor and entrepreneur,” says Rakesh.
People like Ramesh Damani are the ones who built the Indian stock market which is truly democratized today with more than 10 crore investors. Very little information or interviews are available on the internet which can tell us more about Damani. He speaks low key and rarely speaks with the media but whenever he makes a change in his portfolio, the stock market’s indices make a big shift and it becomes a piece of news. People like Damani are the real gems of the stock market and the young investors who are putting their hard-earned money into equities should learn from instead of following ‘experts’ on Twitter.