D-Mart listing makes Radhakishan Damani richer than Anil Ambani, Rahul Bajaj.

Retail entrepreneur Radhakishan Damani leapfrogged storied business family tycoons to emerge among the top 20 Indian billionaires on Tuesday as investor craze for consumer stocks drove retail chain Avenue Supermarts to the best listing-day performance in 13 years.

Avenue’s shares listed at Rs 604.40, a whopping 102 per cent premium to the issue price of Rs 299. The stock rose as much as 117 per cent to an intraday high of Rs 650, giving the company a market cap of Rs 40,000 crore.

Damani, who joined his brother’s stockbroking business at the age of 32 following their father’s death, built his fortune by buying multinational stocks during the late ’80s and early ’90s.

The high point of Damani’s career came when he began shorting stocks owned by Harshad Mehta after they soared during the Mehta-inspired bull run. The astronomical stock valuations convinced Damani that something was wrong. When the market collapsed after Mehta’s scam was exposed, Damani made a killing and a name in the markets as a canny investor.

He focused on MNC stocks and kept an eye out for companies with high-quality businesses that were available for a reasonable price, said a close friend.

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