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Indian billionaire Nikhil Kamath invests in Radico Khaitan

Nikhil Kamath, India’s youngest billionaire and the co-founder of discount stock broker Zerodha, has revealed he owns a 1.6-1.7% stake in Indian liquor giant Radico Khaitan.


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Kamath revealed his investment in the liquor company, the fourth largest in India, on the latest episode of his podcast WTF.

During the episode titled ‘WTF, Alcohol is a $70B Business in India?’, Kamath sat down with Radico Khaitan MD Abhishek Khaitan, revealing that he has a stake in the company worth Rs400m (400 crores; £3.7m).

Kamath hosted Khaitan alongside other guests Minakshi Singh, co-founder of SideCar, India’s only entry in the top 100 of the World’s Best Bars; Shuchir Suri, co-founder of Gin Explorer’s Club, India’s biggest gin festival; and Suraj Shenai, founder of Goa Brewing Co.

The Indian billionaire, whose wealth is pegged at US$3.1bn by Forbes, said this was the first time he had spoken publicly about his investment in the liquor firm.

“It’s an investment that has done very well for us,” he said. “Don’t blame me for being a bit nicer to him,” he joked to his other podcast guests.

Radico Khaitan is one of the largest Indian Made Foreign Liquor companies in the country. Its luxury spirits portfolio includes Indian whisky Rampur and Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin. The company is valued at Rs223.1bn.

Abhishek Khaitan joined the company in 1996 at the age of 22. He revealed on the WTF podcast that the biggest challenge he faced was changing its name from Rampur Distillery & Chemical Company to Radico Khaitan.

Following attendance of a boarding school in Delhi, Khaitan attended university in Bangalore. He said the city was a big inspiration to him as a business leader. “Bangalore has been my biggest inspiration for what Radico is today, because Bangalore is always known as the pub city,” he said in the interview.

Kamath co-founded Bangalore-based discount brokerage Zerodha in 2010 with his older brother Nithin Kamath. The company went on to disrupt the brokerage market in India. Their venture capital fund and incubator, called Rainmatter, invests in fintech companies and ventures that promote financial inclusion.

Kamath went on to explain the appeal of a company like Radico Khaitan during the podcast episode. “I find this in many industries I’m going in to invest. We have this Western baggage in India where innately Indians believe that if the product is foreign it’s better,” he said. “So when I saw this company which was making alcohol called Rampur and Jaisalmer, in some cases which was not even aged as much as the Scottish counterpart, selling for more than that, […] I was enamoured from the very beginning.”

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