Radhakishan Damani: The 2nd Richest Person In India

Business APAC
4 min readNov 8, 2021

A Mumbai based investor and entrepreneur, a self-made billionaire, and the owner of India’s third-largest mega retail stores’ chain DMart, Radhakishan Damani is recently in the news as he has become the second richest person in India. He has surpassed the likes of Shiv Nadar and Uday Kotak to secure the second spot. It took him merely three days to jump to the second spot as he was ranked sixth on the list not long ago. Radhakishan Damani’s success is not overnight. He has seen all the thicks and thins of business across his journey. From an ordinary trader to a successful Entrepreneur, Radhakishan’s journey is truly a remarkable one. Let’s see Radhakishan Damani’s journey from a humble trader to the second richest person in India.

An Accidental Entry in the Stock Market

Born in an Indian Marwari family in 1954, Radhakishan was one of the two sons of Shivkishanji Damani. Shivkishanji was also a part of the stock market business and had two sons Radhakishan and Gopikishan. Radhakishan attended the ‘University of Bombay’ for BCom, but dropped out intending to start a career as a businessman. After dropping out of college, he started his career in the business of ball bearings as a trader. But despite having no interest in the stock market, his father’s untimely death led Radhakishan to step into the stock market. In his late 20s with no practical knowledge about the business, Radhakishan joined his brother who was already in the stockbroking business. However, he swiftly observed and learned the functioning of the stock market and made his first stock market investment at the age of 32.

Influencers Showing the Right Path

Despite starting investments at an early age, Radhakishan Damani soon realized that mere speculations would not help him establish in this risky business. Hence he started learning ways to invest and grow capital. In the early 1990s, he met a value investor named Chandrakant Sampat and was highly influenced by him. At the start, Radhakishan lost some initial bets and had to face a few failures. But he never looked back since then as he decided to make long term investments and began to succeed very soon.

Later, Radhakishan grew in confidence and experience by watching Manu Manek. Manek was one of the most feared market operators at that time who ruled ‘Dalal Street’ in 1980. Practically, it took him few years to apply Manek’s strategies which helped him overpower Harshad Mehta, the mastermind in 1992 ‘Securities Scam’

Radhakishan Damani and Harshad Mehta- The Epic Rivalry

From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, Radhakishan combated Harshad Mehta, the most powerful trader of ‘Dalal Street’ at that time. Radhakishan formed a nondescript group called the ‘triple-Rs’ along with a chartist named Raju and a young rookie investor. The ‘triple-Rs’ and Harshad first invested in ‘Apollo Tyres’. However, they soon realized that Harshad had begun shorting the stock as he had bid high valuations for a tire company. For the next couple of years, the battle continued and was revealed in 1992. Radhakishan won the battle and gained precedence in the stock market as Harshad was accused of a huge scam.

However, the battle didn’t stop there. Radhakishan and Harshad locked horns again in the stock market arena in 1998. Now, they approached three companies namely ‘BPL’, ‘Videocon’, and ‘Sterlite.’ Ultimately, the prices fell by 60% and due to his unique ‘short-selling’ technique, Radhakishan made huge profits. During this phase, he faced accusations such as price hammering from the stock market regulators for the first time. However, he was given a clean chit eventually.

Transformation into a Value Investor

The Harshad Mehta scam affected Radhakishan Damani’s business too. He struggled a lot to turn into a long term investor after the scam. As he was on the verge of bankruptcy, Radhakishan focused on long term investments and the fundamentals of the company. He started investing in several consumer companies, MNCs and banking companies. The stock market saw a huge technology boom in the period from 1999 to 2000. Radhakishan was still using the old school techniques that caused him the losses. However, the technology boom led Radhakishan to adopt new stock market strategies.

Over time, Radhakishan Damani transformed himself into a value investor of the stock market. Some of his most eminent investments have been such as ‘Samtel ltd’, ‘VST Industries’, ‘TV Today Network’, ‘Jubilant FoodWorks Limited’, ‘GE Capital Transportation Industries’, ‘VB Holdings’, ‘Trent’, ‘3M India’, ‘Jay Shree Tea’, ‘Schlafhorst Eng (I)’, ‘Century Textile and Industries’, and ‘Somani Ceramics’. However, Radhakishan quit investing all of a sudden and decided to enter the retail industry despite flourishing in the stock market arena.

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