Alpha Moguls of Indian stock markets

Famously known as Mr. White and White, Radhakishan Damani is a stock market investor, stockbroker, trader and the founder & promoter of Dmart India!

His retail chain of 91 stores across India is the third largest retailer in the industry. Radhakishan Damani owns 52% stake in the parent company of Dmart, Avenue Supermarts, and Bright Star Investments, his investment company, holds another 16% stake.

Much before Dmart happened, Damani was known to be an ace investor in the stock market much before Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Due to his Midas touch, he has successfully earned the reputation of being one of India’s finest value investors, and as a matter of fact, he was a mentor to Rakesh Jhunjhunwala himself.

He is someone who goes on to buy extremely cheap stocks which although hold potential but yet, nobody wants to buy, and hold on to them for a very long time. At a net worth of $11 Billion, he is the 11th wealthiest Indian. He is widely known for maintaining a low profile in media and very little is known about him.

Radhakishan Damani’s early life and ascent

RK had begun his career as a trader in ball bearings, with no intentions to enter the stock market. But fate had something else in store for him. Post his father’s death, he was forced to close down that business and had to join his brother in the stock broking business, which was inherited from their father.

He was 32 then. He had absolutely no knowledge about that end of the world, or how that market functioned. So he began as a speculator at the stock market. Within no time, he realized that watching was not the best way to grow capital, and hence, taking inspiration from the legendary value investor Chandrakant Sampat, he started investing for the long term.

It took RK some time to gain a foothold, and quite a few of his initial bets tanked too. But since the time, he decided not to follow the strategies of the herd, he began to succeed.

His strategy quite often was simple. His philosophy was long term, say 5 to 10 years. He would see if the product has the potential that far in the future. Gradually, his judgment was bearing fruits, and within the next couple of years he was standing at par with the ranks of the biggies on Dalal Street.

As market folklore goes, when HDFC Bank was listed in 1995, Damani was the biggest individual shareholder in the bank. And he kept accumulating more.

When a prominent player in the market asked him why he was buying HDFC Bank stock when there were so many other options available at cheaper valuations, his reply was: you can’t stay on Peddar Road (one of Mumbai’s most expensive areas) at Dharavi’s (Mumbai’s biggest slum) rates.

HDFC Bank, which trades today at over Rs 2,100, has gone on to become one of the many multi-baggers in Damani’s portfolio from the adjusted initial public offering price of ₹8 per share in 1995.

Despite his success, he never let his ego come in his way and he was very quick in cutting and booking losses too. This is how RK built his fortune by buying multinational stocks during the late 80s and early 90s.

He is also one of the very few who had locked horns with Harshad Mehta, the notorious Big Bull of the stock market, and had managed to defy him. This epic battle and success over Harshad Mehta made RK a legend in the stock market circles. RK has over the years evolved into the most valued investor of our times.

On the stock market’s end, he dons two hats. On one end, he is the trader, trying to understand the market’s swings, whereas on the other end he is the value investor, betting on companies for the longer run, much in line with Warren Buffett’s strategy.

Over time, he has transformed himself into a Value Investor at the stock market, where some of his Investments include GE Capital Transportation Industries ion(1.43% stake), VST Industries(23.97% stake), Samtel Ltd(3.05% stake), Schlafhorst Eng(1.05% stake), Somany Ceramics(2.79% stake), Jay Shree Tea(1.07% stake), 3M India(1.48% stake).

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