With a net worth of over Rs 16,400 crore, Bhadresh Shah is among the wealthiest industrialists in India today.
Bhadresh Shah, a billionaire businessman, and IIT alumnus is renowned for his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. He established one of India’s premier industrial corporations, AIA Engineering, where he currently serves as Managing Director. With a market capitalization of Rs 26,086 crore as of April 20, 2023, AIA Engineering is the world’s second-largest company in its sector.
Shah’s family had a background in medicine, but he opted for engineering to stand out. Despite being accepted into the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, he was unable to pursue his preferred streams of mechanical, chemical, or electrical engineering, and instead chose metallurgical and material engineering, according to an interview with Business Today. In 1975, Shah graduated from IIT Kanpur and took a different route, choosing to venture into business rather than seek out a lucrative job in the industry.
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However, Shah’s entrepreneurial journey had a rocky beginning. He began manufacturing pressure die castings in a small foundry in Gujarat with an initial investment of Rs 1 lakh, but he lost all the money in the first year of the business. “It was a difficult start. I was not sure about the direction. I lost all the money in the very first year,” he was quoted as saying by Business Today.
After suffering a major setback, Shah had to make a difficult decision to continue his entrepreneurial journey. He received financial assistance from the Central Bank of India and his father, but he had to find a new business approach. In 1977, he pivoted to manufacturing power plant replacement components. Then, in 1979, he co-founded a new company with a friend to produce iron castings and steel alloys for power plants.
After venturing into European collaboration for technological upgrades, Shah’s tie-up with a Belgian company was initially successful, but a subsequent joint venture did not work out as expected, resulting in a legal battle to regain control of his company. Shah eventually bought back the stake from the European partner and renamed his company AIA Engineering, marking the start of the next chapter in his entrepreneurial journey.
After losing all his money in the first year of starting the business, Shah began to redevelop his international business with very little funds. He acquired a UK company and established a London office, which helped him re-establish his company’s international presence. Today, AIA Engineering is the second-largest hi-chrome casting manufacturer in the world. According to Forbes’ real-time rich list, Shah’s net worth is currently over Rs 16,400 crore ($2 billion).