Numerous billionaires across the globe boast degrees from esteemed universities. Nevertheless, the saga of Anil Agarwal, the Chairman of Vedanta, presents a remarkable departure. The journey of this mining magnate is truly exceptional, commencing with his departure from school at the age of 15 to ultimately amass a billionaire status, with a staggering net worth of $2.01 billion (equivalent to Rs 16,000 crore).
Who is Anil Agarwal?
Born on January 24, 1954, in Patna, Bihar, Anil Agarwal emerged from a Marwari family of modest means. The Agarwal family’s financial situation wasn’t robust. Anil’s father, Dwarka Prasad Agarwal, ran a humble aluminium conductor business. In 1976, Anil Agarwal parted ways with his father’s aluminium conductor manufacturing venture, embarking on a journey to Mumbai as a scrap dealer, driven by the ambition to create an empire in the realms of aluminium, copper, zinc, and iron.
An alumnus of Miller High School in Patna, he completed his studies before his graduation from Sir Ganesh Dutt Patliputra High School. At the tender age of 15, he opted to forgo college and left school to actively participate in his father’s aluminium conductor manufacturing enterprise.
The individual who once operated a modest scrap metal business four decades ago has now ascended to the ranks of India’s wealthiest magnates, presiding over a business realm that spans the domains of mining and petroleum industries. This mining baron’s professional journey commenced as a teenage scrap dealer back in 1970.
During his address at Cambridge University, he revealed the challenges he faced in his 20s and 30s, the observations he made of others’ trajectories, and his contemplations on when his own success would materialize. However, what stands out most is his resilience in the face of nine business failures and years of battling depression, ultimately leading to the triumph of his maiden successful start-up.
He embarked on scrap metal dealings in the mid-1970s, sourcing it from cable enterprises across different states to subsequently trade it in Mumbai. Anil “metal king” Agarwal secured a bank loan to acquire Shamsher Sterling Corporation, a firm engaged in enamelled copper production and other ventures, in 1976.
In 1986, he established Sterlite Industries by erecting a factory dedicated to crafting jelly-filled cables. He soon realized that his company’s revenue fluctuated in tandem with the costs of his primary materials, copper and aluminium. This prompted him to opt for in-house production of these metals to exert control over input expenditures. Sterlite Industries became the pioneer of private sector enterprises in India to establish a copper smelter and refinery, marking this achievement in 1993.
Anil Agarwal’s Wealth Quotient
According to Forbes, his estimated net worth stood at $2.01 billion in the year 2022 (equivalent to Rs 1,66,31,27,26,500). In contrast, his family’s net worth hovers around $4 billion (approximately Rs 3,30,99,34,00,000 or Rs 33,000 crore). Reportedly, Agarwal has pledged to donate 75% of his wealth to philanthropic causes. His commitment to altruism led him to become a signatory of the Giving Pledge in 2021.