Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Indian billionaire investor who launched Akasa Air, passes away at 62


By Sandeep Singh , George Mathew, The Indian Express

14th August 2022 – (Mumbai) Billionaire stock investor and founder of recently started airline Akasa Air, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala passed away Sunday morning. He was 62.

CEO of Breach Candy Hospital N Santhanam told The Indian Express that Jhunjhunwala was brought dead to the hospital at 6.45 am. Another doctor at the hospital said Jhunjhunwala had uncontrolled diabetes and kidney-related issues.

Jhunjhunwala, also known as ‘India’s Warren Buffett’, began investing in the stock market in the early 1980s and managed his portfolio through his asset management firm RARE Enterprises. Jhunjhunwala was a director at three firms — RARE Equity Private ltd, RARE Family Foundation and HOPE Film Makers, besides at five limited liability partnership firms.

A chartered accountant by training, he started his stock market investments with just Rs 5,000 in the mid-eighties. This has now grown to $5.8 billion (around Rs 46,000 crore), according to Forbes magazine. When he started dabbling in the stock market, his father, who was an official in the income tax department, told him not to ask him for money.

Other than Akasa Air that he founded recently, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is also the promoter of Star Health and Allied Insurance and he and his wife hold a 17.49 per cent stake in the company.

Some of the big investment holdings of Jhunjhunwala include Titan Company, where he along with his wife Rekha held 5.05 per cent stake. He also owns 1.09 per cent stake in Tata Motors and, along with his wife, holds 5.48 per cent stake in Crisil and 3.64 per cent in Federal Bank.

While Jhunjhunwala had been keeping unwell for some time and was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in July for a check-up, the investment fraternity expressed shock at his demise. While he was known as a risk taker, many feel that Jhunjhunwala inspired millions of retail investors through his positivity as he was always positive about the Indian economy and markets in the long term. A long-term investor holding several of his investments for more than a decade now, Jhunjhunwala was a true investor, say market participants.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Nirmal Jain, founder and chairman of India Infoline said, “He had a heart of gold and a brain that understood markets better than anyone else. His contribution to the markets is immense as he was very positive, a risk-taker, clear-minded and inspired investors whether retail or HNI (high net-worth individuals). He was a very dear friend and we will miss him always.”

Investors and traders used to follow the investment decisions of Jhunjhunwala as his portfolio went through the roof over the years. “Hundreds of investors blindly bought shares that Jhunjhunwala invested in. Many had profited also. It was an untimely death and a bad loss for the stock markets and investors,” said a Dalal Street dealer who followed Jhunjhunwala’s investment decisions.