MUMBAI: Much before he decided to ferry air passengers, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (62) was moving equity markets and stock prices with his conviction bets, and loads of money that he made trading/investing in the market.
Known by many sobriquets like Big Bull and India’s Warren Buffett, Jhunjhunwala started investing in the equity market during his college days in the 1980s and over the next 35 years went on to build a portfolio worth over Rs 30,000 crore. He is among the top 500 richest people in the world, according to Forbes, with a net worth of USD 5.8 billion.
He learnt the tricks of the (investing) trade not in any Ivy League management institute, but by going through the grind of taking investment bets – some of which also failed – very early in his career. Of course, him being a Chartered Accountant might have come in handy as an investor, but it was more his tenacity to stick to conviction bets, remaining patient in adverse market conditions and the market wisdom acquired by investing that did him good in his career.
Though known for his long-term bets – Titan Company and Aptech – Jhunjhunwala was also not shy of short-term bets. His investments spread across listed and unlisted companies.
Conservative yet very secure in his approach when it comes to picking companies for investment, Jhunjhunwala believed positive cash flow is a sacred cow the sanctity of which cannot be undermined in investing. His time-tested approach and his portfolio are followed religiously by many. Investors tried to follow his buy and sell calls, some even tried replicating his portfolio.
Known for his candour and straight talk, Jhunjhunwala minced no words while taking political stands or airing his views on sectors/companies. Jhunjhunwala did not try to delve into sectors that he did not understand, and he had famously said he did not need to invest everywhere.
|Stocks||Current value (In Rs crore)|
|Titan Company Ltd||11,087|
|Star Health and Alliance Insurance||7,017|
So, when as an investor he decided to give the recent buzz around technology IPOs -- the likes of Zomato --- many thought the Big Bull had lost his Midas touch. When we see those stocks now, we know he hadn’t lost his touch.
He was a bigger Bull when it came to the India story. He was an eternal optimist about the prospect of India and its economy, and he was not deterred by the minor hiccups that the country’s economy had seen in the last few years.
Always known for his calculated risks and bold bets, Jhunjhunwala took his one last bet in the Indian airlines business with the recently launched Akasa Air – a low-cost airline. The airline took off for its first flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad on August 7, 2022. Seven days later, its promoter took off, of course, for a new beginning, and better abode.