Anil Agarwal, born on 24th of January, 2015 is the prominent and thriving chairman and founder of Vedanta Resources. He is a self made star having a net worth of $2 Billion. Only few people are aware of the fact that Vedanta is controlled indirectly by Anil Agarwal through Volcan Investments which is a holding company having a total stake of 61.7% in business. From being a mere trader in his early life, he has proved himself by becoming an entrepreneur. A man, who used to ride scooters on roads, now enjoys flights among continents in private jets. He has come a long way ahead on the road of development, starting from copper, and now coming to steel, aluminium, zinc, iron ore, and power generation. His story resembles that of Bollywood stars in movies, where the hero of the movie builds a giant empire from scraps. His story motivates young leaders to achieve their dreams despite of the situations they currently live in.
He is currently living in London with his wife Kiran Agarwal and two children Agnivesh (son) and Priya (daughter). He lives a classy yet simple life and is fond of playing badminton.
Anil Agarwal has been born and brought up in Patna, India. His schooling was done from Miller High School. Lalu Prasad Yadav, ex Railway Minister was his batch mate in the school. In 1972, he quit studying and joined his father’s business of making aluminium conductors. But this was not it, he always dreamt of doing something big, so he left this job at 19 and went to Mumbai in search of better opportunities.
After coming to Mumbai, he looked for some accommodation to stay in and found Oberoi Hotel in South Mumbai very attractive. The royal outlook influenced him so much that he aspired for staying there if not more, then at least for one day. At first he was unconfident and hesitant to check-in the hotel as he didn’t know English and was not well educated but with somebody’s help he was able to do that task. That was the time when his entrepreneurial spirit was aroused. He found it to be a potential address for starting his own business. Despite of deciding to stay there for just one day, he spent a whole three months there at a price of Rs.200/day and after a lot of research; he was successful in starting his own business. He arranged his food and laundry from outside the hotel to curb down total expenses.
- Vedanta took many steps to reach the place where it is now. It has been the journey of many years. Initially it started from collecting scrap from cable companies and selling it in Mumbai.
- After that, Anil took the flourishing “Shamsher Sterling Corporation” under his possession that was famous for producing enameled copper among many other products through a loan sanctioned by Syndicate Bank worth Rs. 50,000. He spent his next 10 years in building a firm foundation for these two businesses. But soon he realized that the profitability of his businesses depends on the availability and pricing of raw materials- Aluminium and Copper. So, he took a smart decision of manufacturing the raw material himself instead of buying it from other people.
- In 1986, he proceeded into development of jelly-filled cables by establishing a total cost of USD $70 million with a total working cost of approximately USD $300-400 million and the official commencement of Sterilite Industries took place which later on became the first ever company countrywide to set up a refinery and smelter in the private sector. It also became the largest controller of capacity cast copper rod plants. This all happened within a matter of a few years.
- Anil was not only a prominent businessmen but he also believed in helping others to the best he could from his available resources. He was influenced by several philanthropists. Some of them were Bill Gates, David Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. So, in year 1992, he came up with the idea of setting up the philanthropic department “Vedanta Foundation” which would concentrate on social programs.
- Business was going smooth. So he took a further step in the growth of business. In 1993, He made a plant to produce aluminium sheets and foils and another plant to manufacture optical fibre under Sterilite Communications in Aurangabad.
- In the forthcoming years, Anil not only established himself as a business tycoon but also assisted the Indian Government in some important tasks like privatizing of mining assets which helped him in nourishing his political power significantly.
- All these events lead to the vigorous development of Vedanta.
He actually didn’t face any serious fall in his working life. Yet, there was a time of License Raj which came as a curse for every businessman where they had to follow government’s rule and regulations. Only few businesses were allowed to continue their activities that were provided a license to work. Others were had to leave the market. Raising capital during this time was next to impossible. It was a bad time for every small, middle or large scaled business. So, getting disappointed at this situation, Anil moved to London where the most of the well established mining companies had their headquarters.
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After moving to London, his company took a turning point, when Anil got his company listed on the London stock Exchange and received an amount of $876 million through Initial Public Offering. Not only did it become the first ever Indian company to get itself enlisted in the London Stock Exchange but also became the First business group from India to have mining and metal production globally, that too, within a decade of starting of its manufacturing work.
Anil didn’t get satisfied with this and started to improve its performance internationally as well.
- In 2004, Vedanta resources declared an internal bond offering acquired “Konkola Copper Mines” in Zambia.
- In 2007, Vedanta Resources acquired India’s largest manufacturer-exporter of iron ore,”Sesa Goa Limited”. Not only this, it got itself enlisted in New York Stock Exchange in the same year. It came as a huge achievement in its growth.
- In 2008, it acquired controlling right on India’s largest privately owned oil-producing firm “Cairn India”
- The company also acquired South African miner Anglo American’s portfolio of zinc assets in Ireland, South Africa and Namibia in 2010.
- Vedanta group and Vedanta Foundation collaboratively have invested $49 million for environmental conservation and development of infrastructure likes hospitals, schools. It also invested for social programs like health, livelihood and education for a vast community.
- Anil also got a 2nd position in Harun India Philanthropy List of 2014 for his personal involvement with a total donation of about $36 million.
- Since then, Vedanta Resources is continuing and expanding its manufacturing work in its cote products like zinc, copper, aluminium, iron ore and lead. It has diversified its global portfolio and have established itself in other countries like Sri Lanka, South Africa, Namibia, Liberia, Australia and Ireland
- Currently, Vedanta is famous for its vast mining and non-ferrous metals company originated in India. It is largest manufacturer of zinc and second largest manufacturer of copper worldwide with operations in many countries other than India.
Anil has got a brilliant mind in strategic decision making. He has high leadership skills and has really made it possible to build a huge empire out of the craps. He has improved his company’s performance from revenue of $1 billion to $13 billion that too within a decade with a total staffing of around 32000.
Joint venture and other investments
Anil has a long history in the expansion process and has acquired some notable projects which led his company to vast development process, some of which include:
- Sterite Industries acquired Madras Akuminium in 1995 which had been shut down for around four years and was on the brink of dying. This company was acquired through the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).
- After that, Sterlite Industries took the possession of MALCO (80%) in 1995 and Copper Mines of Tasmania Pvt. Ltd. in 1999.
- A unique opportunity arose when government declared a disinvestment program. They took this opportunity by expanding in the domestic domain.
- It also acquired three inefficient mining firms. First, Anil acquired India Foils by 38.8%, and then he took 51% of BALCO and lastly Hindustan zinc Ltd by with a total share of 46%.
- In 2003, company was rebranded to Vedanta Resources Plc., specifically to gain a bit of international markets.
He has been able to achieve something big in life because of the lessons he learnt in his early life. He has always remained motivated and has grabbed each little or big opportunity coming his way. Some of the sayings that he believes in are:
- MBA degree from a recognized university is not required to become successful entrepreneur in your life. Furthermore, your qualification doesn’t describe the skills and personality you hold from within.
- Life is made of several highs and lows and each and every experience leads you to a better self.
- Mistakes are meant for experiences and one should always learn lessons from them despite of regretting on them.
- Most significantly, one should never repeat their mistakes because who actually learn, never commit the same thing.
His life is full of small and great achievements at every step he took. It was his hidden entrepreneurial talent that has made him a successful and prominent business tycoon in the industry. His leadership and managerial skills are efficient and his business strategic decisions are commendable. He was honored with three main awards:
- “Business Leader Award” by The Economic Times (2012)
- “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Mining Journal.
- “Entrepreneur of the Year” award by Ernst &Young (2008)