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India's 'Warren Buffett' Rakesh Jhunjhunwala dead at 62

PTI | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Aug 14, 2022, 11:34 am IST
Updated Aug 15, 2022, 7:45 am IST
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (Twitter)
 Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (Twitter)

Early Sunday morning, the Indian stock markets lost one of their most bullish followers when ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala succumbed after a devastating cardiac arrest.

He was rushed to the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai at around 6.45 am following the cardiac arrest. But the 62-year-old was declared dead on arrival by the hospital authorities.

Jhunjhunwala, who was suffering from multiple health issues, had recently undergone treatment for kidney-related issues.

Born on July 5, 1960, Jhunjhunwala graduated from Sydenham College and later enrolled at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
As his father worked as an Income Tax officer working in Mumbai, he got attracted to the world of finance from early childhood.

He used to study stock price movements through newspapers and read annual reports of companies to understand the state of their finances.
Jhunjhunwala began trading in stocks with an initial investment of Rs 5,000 in 1985 when the Sensex was hovering around 150.

In 37 years of his stint as a stock market trader, his wealth swelled to $5.8 billion (Rs 46,185 crore), making him the 36th richest in India. His bullishness about stock markets earned him the tags of Indian Warren Buffett and the Big Bull.

Jhunjhunwala was unabashed about wealth creation and strutted his connections flamboyantly -- a sign of the shift to a market-based economy in the early 1990s taking root.

Though he was suffering from several health issues, he was never tired of many new bets. His latest venture is India's newest airline Akasa Air.

His entry into the risky aviation sector, the fund guzzler, surprised many.

The event organised for the airline's inaugural flight on August 7 was Jhunjhunwala's public appearance.

"Normally, a child is born in nine months. We (Akasa Air) took 12 months. It would not have been possible without the cooperation of the ministry of civil aviation," Jhunjhunwala had said in his short speech at the Mumbai airport.

"Nowhere in the world has an airline been conceived and born in 12 months," he had said.

Last year, he made a profit of Rs 70 crore by investing in the stock of Zee Enterprises days ahead of its board deciding on a merger with rival Sony Pictures Networks. While he might have made good profits on short-term bets, it was his long-term investment that earned him a name in the stock markets.

Research and analysis were key ingredients behind his success in stock markets, earning him the moniker of Indian Warren Buffett. Like the legendary investor, every investment made by Jhunjhunwala through his RARE Enterprises was tracked closely by investors in India. His company was incidentally named after the first two letters in the name of Rakesh and his wife Rekha.

In 2022, Jhunjhuwala had his investments in more than three dozen companies. He was also the chairman of Hungama Media and Aptech.
Unlike most of his contemporaries in the finance world, Jhunjhunwala was outspoken and spoke on many subjects beyond his first love -- the stock markets.

Condoling the Big Bull's death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the legendary investor "leaves behind an indelible contribution to the financial world."

Reacting to the demise of the ace investor, Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata said Rakesh Jhunjhunwala will always be remembered for his acute understanding of the markets as well as for his jovial personality, kindness, and foresightedness.

“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,” Gautam Adani, the chairman of the Adani Group, tweeted.

Veteran banker Deepak Parekh said Jhunjhunwala "was a strong proponent of Indian enterprise and the ensuing uptick of the India growth story... He believed in the calibre and innovativeness of the typical Indian entrepreneur, asserting always that India would not only meet all geopolitical challenges but emerge as the front runner of the world economy.”

Speaking of his schoolmate and college mate, banker Uday Kotak said, Jhunjhunwala  “believed that stock India was undervalued. He is right. Amazingly sharp in understanding financial markets. We spoke regularly, more so during Covid. Will miss you Rakesh!”

Here are some of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's quotes on stock trading:
1) “Emotional investment is a sure way to make a loss in stock markets."
2) "Anticipate trend and benefit from it. Traders should go against human nature."
3) “Never invest at unreasonable valuations. Never run for companies which are in limelight."
4) "Hastily taken decisions always result in heavy losses. Take your own time before putting money in any stock."
5) "Respect the market. Have an open mind. Know what to stake. Know when to take a loss. Be responsible."
6) “Trading always keeps you on your feet, it keeps you alert. That's one of the reasons why I like to trade."
7) "You cannot make profits in the stock market unless you have the ability to bear losses."
8) "Buy when others sell and sell when others buy – the stock market mantra."
9) “Invest in companies which have strong management and competitive management."

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