It’s a dichotomy that has continued to baffle many ever since Covid-19 hit the Indian economy. On the one hand, there were companies and businesses that were severely impacted by the lockdown and the rising number of infections. On the other, there has been a consistent rise in the benchmark stock market indices as share prices head north despite the pandemic.

Consider the figures. The S&P BSE Sensex and the Nifty 50 have both doubled since their March 2020 lows. While the Sensex has moved up from 25,639 levels to 52,925 as of June 25, 2021, the Nifty, on the other hand, has risen from 7,511 to 15,860 during the same period. Why, one may ask, has this happened? Among the key reasons is that the market, despite the two waves of the virus, remains optimistic about the ability of companies and the economy to shake off the impact of the pandemic. Companies have managed to hold their own in FY21 with severe cost rationalisation and the positive effect of softening prices of raw materials. While the second wave was far more deadly than the first, there is hope in the market that the second half of FY22 will play out better. Another reason is the massive amounts of money pumped in by foreign portfolio investors. According to a report by investment firm Motilal Oswal, India saw a massive $37.6 billion of foreign portfolio inflows in FY21, higher than the cumulative inflows of the past six years, while domestic institutional investors saw outflows of $18.4 billion after five years of inflows. With vaccinations gathering pace and the second wave receding, the upward trend continues.

Fortune India’s issue on India’s Top 100 Wealth Creators comes against this backdrop. However, to identify the true generators of investor wealth, we didn’t go by the simple definition of market capitalisation gains over a period. As the following pages will show you, we focussed on consistency as the key metric while picking the real stars of the bourses. Towards that end, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% in annual average market capitalisation was used, together with ensuring that a similar criterion was applied on the revenue and profit side as well. We also dropped companies that had made losses within these five years. The result is a list of companies that are not just wealth creators for investors, but also rock-solid in their business performance.

The line-up of names is self-explanatory. There is Syngene International, the contract research company majority owned by Biocon, which is now aiming to become a global science company in its own right. Among other names on the list are seafood major Avanti Feeds, quite a favourite of investors; tech company Sonata Software; Honeywell Automation, which is banking on more manufacturing companies adopting Industry 4.0; and tried and tested healthcare major Apollo Hospitals Enterprise. All these companies rewarded shareholders over time, but also remained focussed on the bottom line and have grown their businesses significantly. These, we believe, are true wealth creators, and we hope you will enjoy reading how they did it.

(This edit originally appeared in Fortune India's July 2021 issue).

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