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Mukesh Ambani, India's Richest Man, Loses $5.6bn After Rupee Value Drop

23/08/2013 12:16 BST
AP
Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries, India, Mukesh Ambani speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday Jan. 29, 2009. Business and world leaders meet for a second day of work and will continue to discuss ways of overcoming the global financial and economic crisis. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

India's richest man has lost $5.6bn after a drop in the value of the rupee to record lows erased a quarter of his fortune.

Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, which controls the world's largest oil refinery complex, has lost $5.6 billion of his fortune since 1 May, leaving him with a net worth of $17.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The oil refinery boss is known for his expensive tastes, as he lives in what is widely estimated to be the world's most expensive home, with a value of over $1bn. In 2010, he moved into the Mumbai skyscraper, towering at 570ft in height. The structure features a temple on the ground floor and a library at the top, along with a swimming pool and helipad.

Ambani's fortune suffered a further blow on Thursday as India's currency slipped to an all-time low of 64.55 per dollar, which sparked wider panic in emerging markets.

India's finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram insisted that "there is no reason for excessive or unwarranted pessimism" as he said that the country's economic growth would pick up over the next few months.

Shares in Ambani's Reliance Industries have dropped 15% since mid-July. Munesh Khanna, a senior partner at Grant Thornton LLP in Mumbai, told Bloomberg: “There is irrationality; the rupee is weak and will go down further.

“Foreign institutional investors are invested in the larger-cap companies and are pulling out money from India. That is putting a lot of pressure on those companies.”

mukesh ambani david cameron

Mukesh Ambani with David Cameron and BP CEO Bob Dudley

Ambani met David Cameron in February 2013 during the Prime Minister's visit to India on a trade mission, promoting British exports.