Radhakishan Damani (RD) is an Indian businessman, investor, and stock trader. He is famous for founding the superstore chain DMart, that earned him the title of ‘Retail King of India.’
Radhakishan Damani was born in 1954 (age 67 years; as of 2021) in Bikaner, Rajasthan. He did his schooling in Mumbai, and then, he got himself enrolled in the University of Mumbai. He dropped out in the 1st year of his college where he was pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce. The Economic Times
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper (semi-bald)
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Radhakishan Damani was born into a poverty-stricken Marwari family. The Economic Times
Parents & Siblings
His father, Shivkishanji Damani, was a stockbroker on Dalal Street. RD’s brother, Gopikishan Damani, is a stock trader and investor.
Relationships, Wife & Children
Mr. Damani is married to Shrikantadevi Radhakishan Damani. The couple has three daughters, Manjri Damani Chandak, Jyoti Kabra, and Madhu Chandak.
He resides on Altamount Road in Mumbai with his family.
As a Stockbroker
After dropping out of college, Mr. Damani started his ball-bearing business. At the age of 32, he quit this business due to the untimely demise of his father, and he joined his brother on Dalal Street as a stockbroker. When RD joined the stock market, it was ruled by the bear cartel of Manu Manek (also known as the Cobra). Mr. Damani learned to short sell the stocks from Manu, and later, he applied the same strategies to counter the bullish tactics of his nemesis Harshad Mehta. It is rumoured that Radhakishan was a part of a bearish group called ‘triple-R’ in the late ’90s. The three Rs of the group were Radhakishan Damani, Raju (a chartist), and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (the future Big Bull). Triple-R and Harshad Mehta were considered arch-rivals. Reportedly, they first fought over the stock of Apollo Tyres. Mr. Damani and Mr. Rakesh felt that the price of the stock of Apollo Tyres was heavily overpriced. So, they started short selling the stock, oblivious to the fact that Harshad was illegally rigging the stock’s price. RD and his group suffered heavy losses. Harshad Mehta was later found guilty of orchestrating the financial scam of 1992. In an interview, post the exposure of the scam, Mr. Damani said,
Agar Harshad saat din aur apni position hold kar leta, toh mujhe kathora leke road par utarna padta.”
The Scam of 1992 led to a lot of investors and stockbrokers losing their money. RD helped many small scale investors by buying their depreciated shares. He also helped the clients of Deena Mehta (another famous stockbroker) after the Ketan Parekh Scam of 2001. In an interview, while talking about Mr. Damani’s helpful gesture, Deena said,
When some of our clients got trapped in Videocon and BPL shares, RD helped us by taking over their positions… These scrips had become unsalable as there were no buyers in the market. RD is a very positive player in times of crisis. He’s a shrewd investor; makes more money when he’s bearish.”
Mr. Damani’s multi-bagger stocks include VST Industries, HDFC Bank, Sundaram Finance, ITC, Gillette, Crisil, ICRA, 3M India, Blue Dart Express, Prozone Intu Properties, Uniply Industries, India Cements, and 1% stake in Andhra Paper. He invested in VST Industries Ltd. in 2000 when its stock was trading at around Rs. 80 per share. The share price soared to Rs. 3600 in 2020. Similarly, the share price of Sundaram Finance escalated from Rs. 270 per share to Rs. 1800 in 2021. Such investments helped Mr. Damani generate immense wealth.
In 1995, HDFC Bank’s IPO went public, and RD bought Rs. 400 crores worth of shares at Rs. 40 per share; the share price is trading at Rs. 2600 as of 2020. In an interview, when he was asked why he chose HDFC Bank over a PSU Bank like SBI, Mr. Damani is rumoured to have said,
Dharavi Dharavi hota hai, aur Pedder Road Pedder Road… aage jaake HDFC ka bhaav dekh lena.”
As an Entrepreneur
RD took a break from the stock market in the late ’90s to focus on his retail business venture. In 2002, he started a hypermarket chain, DMart (registered as Avenue Supermarts Ltd.) with a single outlet in Powai. DMart has more than 200 stores spread across almost all over India as of 2020.
Mr. Damani went public with his retail chain in March 2017 with an offer price of Rs 299 per share, which skyrocketed to Rs 2900 in 2021. The market capitalisation of DMart rose from Rs 38,000 crore in March 2017 to Rs 1.6 lakh crore by June 2020, making it more valuable than Britannia Industries, Asian Paints, Bank of Baroda, and even Nestle.
Radhakishan Damani’s net worth is valued at around $20.5 Billion as of 2020. Forbes His physical assets are listed as follows.
- a 156-room Radisson Blu Resort in Alibag, Maharashtra.
- a beachfront getaway home close to Mumbai.
- Rakesh Jhunjhunwala (the Big Bull) deems Radhakishan Damani as his mentor. In an interview, talking about his mentor, Rakesh said,
I learnt trading from him … He has wisdom, extreme patience and humility … The patience he has to hear the other person’s point of view is unbelievable … He taught me life and shaped my nature. If he and my father had not been there to guide me, I would not have achieved such success.”
- He has conceded that the established investor Chandrakant Sampat is his inspiration. He learned a lot from the value investments of Mr. Sampat in the ’80s and ’90s.
- It is rumoured that RD predicted the tech bubble of 2001 and the global recession of 2008. The Tech bubble was the excessive use of the internet by the trading companies that led to the stock market crash.
- Actor Paresh Ganatra played a role based on Radhakishan Damani in SonyLIV’s hit web series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story.
- RD is the fourth richest Indian as of 2020 (Mukesh Ambani topped the list ).
- Mr. Damani is referred to as Mr. White & White by his family and close friends due to his love for white shirts and white pants.
- Radhakishan Damani stays away from media interactions, and he is rarely seen at any stock market-related events.
- He loves to take a walk on Girgaum Chowpatty.
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