Kerala is well known as God’s own country, where tourism and tradition define its global appeal. Wealth and entrepreneurship also distinguish Malayalis on the global map.“A unique aspect is the composition of this rich list – it cuts across religions. Many in the list, including the top three, are self-made. Coming from a milieu where money-making was almost considered a sin, their small trader background was often their only capital when they started. The list of the 10 richest Malayalis is as diverse as it is impressive. The core businesses of these magnates range from construction, retail and jewellery to education, banking and software. Now we have a look among the people who created victory.
Credentials : Founder & CEO, RP Group
Net worth : $3.8 billion.
Place of Origin : Chavara, Kollam.
Ravi Pillai, chairman of the Bahrain-headquartered RP Group, tops the list with a net worth of Rs 18,500 crore ; much of the wealth of this construction tycoon comes from the profits of Nasser S AlHajri Corporation (NSH), a company he founded in 1978 in Saudi Arabia. Pillai is a first-generation entrepreneur with roots in Chavara, near Kollam; his parents were farmers. Between NSH and 25 other companies he owns, they generate revenues of Rs 26,800 crore annually. Other than construction, Pillai has a strong presence in travel and tourism, healthcare and education, mainly in India and the Middle East. Often called ‘Ambani of the Gulf’, Pillai shot into limelight when he acquired Leela Resorts in Kovalam from the Mumbaibased family of C P Krishnan Nair, who was for decades one of the best-known faces of Malayali entrepreneurship.
M A Yousaffali
Founder & MD, Lulu Hypermarket.
Net worth : $5 billion.
Place of Origin : Nattika, Thrissur
Even as his wealth has multiplied, M A Yus suffali, the world’s second-richest Malayali with headquarters in Abu Dhabi and a net worth of about Rs 16,300 crore, makes it a point to stay connected to his small-town roots. His 113 hypermarkets spread across nine countries rake in around Rs 37,000 crore annually. Yusuffali created a retail empire that originated in the UAE. Yusuffali’s companies generated revenues of Rs 37,000 crore in 2014.
Credentials : Founder & Chairman, GEMS Education.
Net worth : $2.5 billion
Place of Origin : Ranny,Pathnamthitta.
Varkey , who has a net worth of Rs 11,200 crore, is fourth on the list. A second-generation entrepreneur, Varkey came to Dubai in 1959 at the age of two along with his banker father.During their free time, his parents gave English lessons to workers; their efforts culminated in a formal school, English High School.When his father retired in 1980, Varkey took over the reins of the organisation and started expanding, spurred by the belief that there was a huge potential for quality education not only in the Middle East, or on the subcontinent, but also in developed countries. His company Gems Education, headquartered in Dubai, operates a global network of schools and pre-schools in the Middle East, Africa, various parts of Asia, the UK and the US.
T. S. Kalyanaraman
Credentials : Chairman & Managing Director, Kalyan Jewellers & Kalyan Developers
Net worth : $1.34 billion
Place of Origin: Thrissur
A third-generation businessman, Kalyanaraman started helping his father right from school, in the family’s textile business. In 1993, he ventured into gold jewellery retail, which pushed him into the list of billionaires. As chairman and MD of the Thrissur-headquartered Kalyan Jewellers, Kalyanaraman is sixth in the list with an estimated net worth of Rs6,600 crore. His company generated revenues of Rs 7,400 crore in 2014. During that time, private equity firm Warburg Pincus invested Rs 1,200 crore in the company for a minority stake.T he company now has 77 stores in India, the UAE and Kuwait, and plans to open 16 more by March 2016. Says Kalya naraman.
M . G. George Muthoot
Credentials : Chairman, The Muthoot Group
Net worth : $1.14 billion
Place of Origin : Kozhenchery, Pathanamthitta
George Muthoot, chairman of Muthoot Group, takes seventh position with a net worth of Rs 5,550 crore. Between Muthoot and his 12 family members, they own 29.8 crore shares of Muthoot Finance, the largest gold loan company in the country . Muthoot is a thirdgeneration businessman with origins in Kozhencherry, a small town south-east of Kochi, where his group is headquartered. A graduate in mechanical engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology , he entered the business in the 1970s. The group has since spread into education, healthcare, IT, plantations, travel and tourism, and power generation.
Credentials : Executive Vice Chairman, Infosys
Net worth : $1.62 billion
Place of Origin : Thiruvananthapuram
Co-founder and one-time CEO of Infosys, India’s second-larg est software firm, is the fifthrichest Malayali. Along with wife Sudha and daughter Meghana, he holds more than 3.9 crore shares of the company , with an estimated market cap of Rs 7,860 crore. A graduate in physics from the University of Kerala, Gopalakrishan did his master’s in computer science at the Indian Institute of TechnologyMadras.
Dr. Azad Moopen
Credentials : Chairman & Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare
Net worth : $1.03 billion
Place of Origin : Kalpakancheri, Malappuram
Dubai-headquartered Aster DM Healthcare LLC, is in the eighth position with a net worth of Rs 5,500 crore. An MBBS gold medallist, he started his career as a lecturer at the Cali cut Medical College in 1982 before arriving in Dubai five years later. Aster Group now operates close to 260 hospitals and pharmacies in the Middle East and India. Moopen also owns a medical college in Wayanad district of Kerala. Moopen told TOI, “Everybody in my family , including my father and brothers, have been in business. I was an exception; I went into academics.“ But clearly , business ran in his blood, too.
Credentials : Managing Director,Joyalukkas India Limited,
Joyalukkas Jewellery LLC, Dubai.
worth : $1.36 billion.
Place of Origin : Thrissur
The most notable exceptions are the Dubai-headquartered gold retailer Joy Alukkas and the Chennai-based KM Mammen of MRF Ltd, who richly deserved to be in the list. We did not have enough verifiable data like the shareholding pattern and revenues of holding company, Joyalukkas Jewellery, in the first case. And the Mammens were strong contenders for the Top 10 but fell below our cut-off despite being arguably the best-known business house out of Kerala.
Credentials:Founder & CEO of Strides Arcolab
Place of origin: kollam
Networth: 4,800 crore
Arun Kumar, founder and group CEO of Strides Arcolab, a pharma company . With roots in Kollam district, he was brought up in Ooty , worked in Mumbai, and shifted the headquarters of the company he founded 25 years ago to Bengaluru. In 2013, his company sold Agila Specialties, one of its divisions, to US pharma giant Mylan for $1.75 billion.According to industry sources, he has sold businesses worth $2.2 billion in the past three years. His personal net worth is estimated at Rs 4,800 crore. He still controls Strides Arcolab, along with Sequent Scientific and Alivira Animal Health.
Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil Parambath
Credentials : Founder & Managing Director, VPS Healthcare
Net worth: $1.57 billion
Place of Origin : Kerala
Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil is an Indian doctor, entrepreneur and philanthropist from Kerala. He has also been listed in Forbes Global Rich List 2017; Forbes Top Indian Leaders in the initially by his wealthy father-in-law, Vayalil started with one hospital in Abu Dhabi in 2007 .With the healthcare industry booming in both the UAE and India it is no wonder VPS Healthcare is too. Founded by Dr Shamsheer. Now it has been delivering a unique place among the healthcare industry.