rntThere are many people who like to make lists – tallest, shortest, fastest…but one list everybody loves to see their name on is clearly the Forbes’ list. The Richest Man. Sadly only the person with the highest net worth can be measured honestly. I know of one businessman whose office went overtime on the net to vote him in a particular contest…and it was done on a scale that he won it hands down.

However my training has ensured me to be skeptical. So when I see the ‘richest’ list in India, world, etc. and do not see Ratan Tata’s name, it looks funny to me. Surely many of you must be wondering if a group had vision to enter all the infrastructure industries – steel, locomotives, trucks, power, banking, airline, textiles, hotels…come on you have to be on every damn rich list. Correct? Well read on…it is an adaptation of a mail from a friend (he says he picked it from somewhere on google – so the author is unknown)

Here is a Real Story of Ratan Tata.
So many people around the world want to know that “What is the Net Worth of Ratan Tata”? or is he really the richest man in the world? Well most of the wealth is calculated by imputing a %age of the net worth. Which means if all the Tata companies earn Re 1 and the group gets an average p/e of 30, it will have a market cap of Rs. 30. If Mr. Tata controlled (remember you need to control not own) 60% of this, he would be worth Rs. 18. Have not added any unit to this – you could add million, billion, or trillion…so read on..

TATA Group is running 96 businesses and out of which 28 Companies are publically listed on the various stock exchanges. Tata Group is world’s top 50 Group according to Market capitalization and Reputation.

TATA Group’s 96 companies are held by its main Company “TATA Sons” and the main owner of this TATA Sons is not Ratan Tata but various charitable organizations developed and run by TATA Group.

Out of which JRD TATA Trust & Sir Ratan Tata Trust are the main. 65% ownership of TATA Sons which is the key holding company of the other 96 TATA Group Company is held by various charitable organizations.

So this 65% ownership ownership of Tata Sons Limited is not reflected on Ratan Tata’s personal Financial Statement but on the various charitable organizations. and this is the reason why Ratan Tata is not in the list of Billionaire club. Remember he controls the Trusts, but not necessarily the Income and Expenditure Account!

If we put this 65% ownership of Tata Sons in Ratan TATA’s own personal financial statement then Ratan Tata’s Net worth can become more than $70 billion. and that’s much more than the Warren Buffet’s Current Net Worth of $ 62 billion, the world’s richest person according to Forbes magazine. Of course this figure keeps changing from time to time, but Ratan Tata continues to be head and shoulder ahead of the others.

However, it doesn’t mean that Ratan Tata is poor. In one interviews he had told the reporter that, “I have my own Capital”. He is the chairman of Tata Group so obviously he earns lots of money every year as a bonus, remuneration and salary. However, Ratan Tata’s Net worth is not $ 1 Billion.

One person who would have called Mr. Ratan Tata the world’s richest man is the author of the book “To have or to be” – Erich Fromm. Not sure about the spelling- though.

He is not a billionaire on paper. but in reality he is the richest person of the world. His net worth in reality is more than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Of course Bill Gates and Warren Buffet do a lot of Charity too.

So the good thing about Tata Group is that, They do Charity out of their Money.  Imagine in a country where businessmen do not like 30% income tax, here is a man who KNOWS that out of every rupee that he earns after tax 65% money HAS ALREADY BEEN EARMARKED FOR CHARITY (BY right, not as a favor as in other cases!). This brings me to another famous statement by Mr. JRD Tata. He said our Vision is ‘To Do things good for the Country”. He said when I do a project and I am in doubt whether I should go ahead with the project, I look at the Vision statement (drafted by Mr. Jamshetji Tata) and then decide. So simple!

And that is the reason TATA Group has generated so much of Goodwill over last ………..so many years.


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  1. Very good post and really brings out the situation very well. I find the whole aspect of Bill and Warren coming and telling us how to do charity a little too uppity.

  2. Just curious-
    How does a trust hold equity shares of a holding company?
    Does a trust have to publicly publish it annual reports?
    How are decisions taken in a trust? Board Meetings? No. of votes?

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