Building the Ambani Empire

polyester_prince.jpg What timing, I finished reading Polyester Prince on Feb 10th and on Feb 11th the Reliance Power IPO from Anil Ambani got listed on the Indian exchanges. Finding this book was about as easy as getting shares in the Reliance Power IPO. The book is apparently banned in India on the request of the Ambani family since it shows Dhirubhai rise via unscrupulous business tactics.

The book was published in 1998 and 10 years later some of the usual suspects mentioned in the book are still around. Whether its Nimesh Kampani, Vallabh Bhansali or Anand Jain on the financial side to Pawar, Deora and Deshmukh on the political front.

More eye opening is the same basic concepts that sold people on the Indian equity markets back then are still being using today, such as the emergence of the Indian middle class or the India “story.” An example from the book talks about Barton Biggs, who at the time was Morgan Stanley’s investment guru, rated Reliance as one of the best buys in Asia and a proxy for the India “story.” Today, Biggs runs Traxxis a global macro fund out of NYC.

Overall, the book is a great read on the rise of Dhirubhai and what it took to make Reliance what it is today, good or bad.

On a side note, I was able to buy my copy at the Haji Ali intersection from one of the street vendors, he started at Rs 600, but I ended up paying Rs 200.

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