Gautam Adani says the formula of his success is just hard work
New Delhi, January 9, 2023
Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani, listed as the third richest man in the world, has said that the formula of his success was just hard work.
“There’s only one formula that works both in business and our practical lives, and that is hard work, hard work and hard work. I see that I have my family’s support, the support of my seniors, the support of my team, and above all, God’s blessings and mercy. I work with honesty and I believe this is the only reason and there is no shortcut. The success of any man depends on honesty and hard work, and the rest is left to God; that’s the only formula,” he said in response to a query from journalist Rajat Sharma in the programme “Aap Ki Adalat”.
He went on to say that he does not get “trapped in this web of numbers”.
“The major is thing for me is what change can I bring about in the nation? If you go to see why the numbers have increased, I see that the country is on the path to progress. And I say it with full confidence that India’s position today, and in the coming 20-30 years, is going to be unstoppable,” he said.
Adani, 60, spoke about how he had to come to Mumbai to find work, when he was 15 and had just passed the 10th grade because of his family’s circumstances.
“That was a 4-year journey before I returned to Ahmedabad. Mumbai taught me quite a few things, it taught me how to work hard. After that, my business journey started. I belonged to a middle-class family, a business family, I got into business and I, as a 15-19 year-old, had that zeal to do something beyond my family business. My family supported me quite a bit, and on the basis of that, I went ahead. The money was limited, and I had to grow my business accordingly. There were lots of troubles, there were many established players. But I have noticed that at various points of my life, different people supported me for me to succeed, and whatever I am today, is because of them,” he said.
“I was good in my studies. I had chosen Engineering as a technical subject. I was good in Math too. But the situations were such that I had to keep my studies on the backburner, and I got into business,” he said.
Adani regretted that he had not been able to complete his education. “I believe education is very important. Education makes a person knowledgeable. I wasn’t able to choose that path, and that’s my misfortune. I chose another path – hard work and experience. That hard work and experience increased my wisdom. I sometimes wonder that had I had the education along with this hard work and experience, then I would’ve become much bigger than the current Gautam Adani,” he said.
About his wealth and his fleets of jet aircraft and helicopters, he said, “The only thing I can say is that I’m a grounded man, and even today I know the mindset of a person travelling by a scooter, a rickshaw, a bus or be it a jet, that’s because I have been through that journey. Just because I travel by a jet, it doesn’t mean I’m not rooted to the ground,” he said.
To a question, Adani pointd out that no business was risk-free. “How much calculated risk one takes, how much is one’s risk-taking capacity… I wouldn’t say that I’ve reached here without any difficulties. But, one should have the perseverance to stay strong in good times and bad, and grow to new heights with your hard work,” he said.
He also talked about incidents such as the time he was kidnapped, and when he was present in the Taj hotel in Mumbai during the terror strike on it on November 26, 2008.
“I remember everything and I saw the terrorists in front on me when they fired their first round. I’m thankful to God, that I’ve seen two close to death experiences. I think it’s God’s grace that I was saved,” he said.
Adani also addressed the many accusations levelled against him by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
“Rahul ji is a senior leader of the Congress Party. I feel that, as an industrialist, it doesn’t suit me to comment on him. He’s a respected leader, and I see that he too wants the nation to progress. I understand, he says certain things because of his political leanings, but I don’t take it any more than a political gimmick,” he said.
“When you put an accusation, also tell me, is there anything that is done without bidding. Is there one business which we have entered without bidding or without merit? Even we know that doing such a thing in India would create controversy. The Adani Group has a philosophy that nothing should be touched without a bid. Be it my ports, airports, roads, power house, not one business has been acquired without bidding. It’s like questioning the one who stands 1st in the exam,” he said.
“But that accusation even Rahul ji hasn’t put on us, that there was foul play in any bidding process,” he said.
Adani said that the first break his company got was when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India, whose policies enabled the setting up of global trading houses. Later, under the Prime Ministership of P V Narasimha Rao and his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, public-private partnerships developed and gaveanew direction to industrialisation of India. Similarly, the Keshubhai Patel government in Gujarat helped the growth of the industry in the state, he said.
"At that time when Modiji was there for 12 years as Chief Minister, and I proudly say that we had very good experience with the Modi government," he said.
About the Adani Group’s debts, especially borrowings from banks, he pointed out that rating agencies that his company was the only one in India whose rating is at par with India’s overall rating. “Adani Group has such a discipline and rating, that in my 25 years we have never delayed payment or defaulted on interest, and more so, whenever we need funds for any development activity, everyone is ready to lend to us,” he said.
“Before 2013, we used to take 80% of the money from Indian banks. That today stands at 35%. After that, we penetrated the international market with a global rating. On the global front, no one lends based on what someone says, they purely lend seeing your rating and governance. Based our company’s ratings and disclosures, one of our companies has got an award for worldwide 3rd ESG level. This is an absolutely baseless allegation. I understand he needs to say certain things politically, but there’s no friction between the lenders and us borrowers,” he said.
“I want to tell you that our loan rate has increased by 11% in the last 10 years and our income has increased by 24%. Our rating has improved because of our profitability and our rating is growing more also because of our borrowing,” he said.
To more queries about Gandhi’s accusations, Adani said, “I believe that Rahul ji is a respected leader. Yes, he too runs a political party, he has an ideological battle and there will be accusations. I’m a regular industrialist. I will do my work and he will do the politics that suits him,” he said.
Adani also spoke about his group had got projects in several states across India, governed by different political parties, and how he had faced no problems from any of them.
About his company’s growth in Gujarat and accusations that he had benefitted from his proximity to then Chief Minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that the government of Gujarat, even from the time of then Chief Minister Madhavsinh Solanki, was industrialist-friendly.
“So whatever policies are made, they are made to attract the industrialists because otherwise there are no resources in Gujarat. There was drought every 2-3-4 years before the water of Narmada canal came. In spite of this, it was ahead in industrialization. Even before our birth, Gujarat was ahead, so it is nothing that there is something special favour for Adani,” he said.
To a question, Adani said he saw Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) founder Dhirubhai Ambani as a role model. “It is because in his tenure, Reliance Industries at that time the economy was not open, then afterwards opened, and the way he showed direction to the country about how to think big, I’m very much impressed by it because afterwards Mukeshbhai took it a lot further,” he said.
He also said RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani is a good friend of his and he respected him a lot. “The new direction that he gave to Reliance Industries in Jio, technology, retail, and of course his conventional business petrochemicals and refinery, the way he has worked he has contributed a lot for the development of the country,” he said.