In an unfortunate news, billionaire veteran investor and the Big Bull of Dalal Street Rakesh Jhunjhunwala has passed away at the age of 62 in Mumbai. The ace investor, whose latest venture was low-cost airline Akasa Air, was facing multiple health issues, including kidney ailments.
Expressing his condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was indomitable. "Full of life, witty and insightful, he leaves behind an indelible contribution to the financial world. He was also very passionate about India’s progress. His passing away is saddening. My condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti," the Prime Minister tweets.
The Big Bill of Dalal Street had a net worth of over $5.8 billion. His latest venture was Akasa Air, an airline company aimed at providing affordable services to passengers. The airline started its commercial flights operations last week on August 7, 2022.
Jhunjhunwala breathed his last at Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. He was often referred to as an investor with the Midas touch. He was charted accountant by profession and had studied B.Com from the Institute of Charted Accountants of India, University of Mumbai. The billionaire investor is survived by his wife Rekha Jhunjhunwala and three children.
Jhunjhunwala's trading strategies were often admired and followed by both retail as well as institutional investors in India. In his family portfolio, Jhunjhunwala held total of 34 stocks with a combined value of around Rs 31,952 crore. His prominent investments include Titan Company (5.1%), Star Health & Allied Insurance (17.5%), Metro Brands Ltd. (14.4%), and Tata Motors (1.2%), among others. He also headed RARE Enterprises, a privately-owned stock trading firm, which derives its name from the first two initials of his name and his wife's name.
Jhunjhunwala's stock market journey
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala grew up in a Rajasthani family in Mumbai where his father worked as a commissioner of income tax. He had started investing in stocks while was still in college. As per reports, Jhunjhunwala started his stock market journey with Rs 5,000 when the Bombay Stock Exchange Index was at 150 points. The BSE Sensex has now reached 59,462.78.
Besides being an ace investor, Jhunjhunwala was the chairman of Aptech Limited and Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and sat on the board of directors of Prime Focus Limited, Geojit Financial Services, Bilcare Limited, Praj Industries Limited, Provogue India Limited, among many other companies. Referred to as the "Big Bull of India", Jhujhunwala was widely followed for predictions and bullish outlooks on the stock market.
Starting Akasa Air
In 2022, Big Bull co-founded Akasa Air, a low-cost airline that started operations in July 2022. The airline company also roped in Vinay Dube, an aviation industry veteran and a former chief executive officer (CEO) of Jet Airways and GoAir, as its CEO and co-founder. The airline opened bookings with an initial network including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kochi. It offers 28 weekly flights between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The airline will soon start operating an additional 28 weekly flights between Bengaluru and Kochi.
The newest player in the Indian aviation sector intends to operate a fleet of 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which are to be delivered over the course of five years. Akasa Air received the delivery of its first aircraft on June 21. The airline is scheduled to receive 18 aircraft from Boeing by March 2023.
Meanwhile, condolences are pouring in from political leaders to businessmen to industry peers. "There will never again be someone like you, RIP," tweets Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath.
Adani group chairman and one of the world's richest man Gautam Adani says he's extremely saddened by the untimely passing away of the most legendary investor that India has had. "Shri Jhunjhunwala inspired an entire generation to believe in our equity markets with his brilliant views. We will miss him. India will miss him but we will never forget him. RIP," he tweets.
Home minister Amit Shah says he's anguished to learn about the passing away of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. "His vast experience and understanding of the stock market have inspired countless investors. He will always be remembered for his bullish outlook. My deepest condolences to his family. Om Shanti Shanti."
Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal says he's deeply anguished at the demise of veteran investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. "He was an inspiration for wealth creation for crores. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and admirers. Om Shanti," says Goyal
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman called him a "bold risk taker". "Shri Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is no more. Investor, bold risk taker, masterly understanding of the stock market, clear in communication- a leader in his own right. Fondly remember several conversations we’ve had. Had strong belief in India’s strength and capabilities. Condolences," says the FM.