||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
23 October 1957 |
Ludhiana, Punjab, India
|Alma mater||Panjab University|
|Occupation||Chairman and Group CEO of
|Net worth||$6.6 billion (2013)|
Sunil Bharti Mittal (born 23 October 1957) is an Indian entrepreneur, philanthropist and the founder, chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises, which has interests in telecom, retail, financial services, and agri business. The Group flagship Bharti Airtel, with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and a customer base of over 275 million, is India's largest telecom company and world's fourth largest mobile operator. Bharti Airtel clocked revenues of over USD 14.5 billion in FY2013.
His father, Sat Paul Mittal, had been the Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha (Indian National Congress) from Punjab, he was elected from Punjab for two terms (1976 & 1982) and nominated to the Rajya Sabha once (1988). He first joined the Wynberg Allen School in Mussoorie, but later attended Scindia School at Gwalior and he graduated in 1976 from Panjab University, Chandigarh, with a Bachelor of Arts and Science for which he studied in Arya College, Ludhiana. His father died of cardiac arrest in 1992.
A first generation entrepreneur, Mittal started his first business in April 1976 at the age of 18, with a capital investment of 20000 (US$320) borrowed from his father. His first business was to make crankshafts for local bicycle manufacturers.
In 1981, he purchased importing licences from exporting companies in Punjab. He then imported thousands of Suzuki Motors's portable electric-power generators from Japan. The importing of generators was suddenly banned by the then Indian Government and licences to manufacture generators in India were issued to two companies.
In 1984, he started assembling push-button phones in India, which he earlier used to import from a Taiwan company, Kingtel, replacing the old fashioned, bulky rotary phones that were in use in the country then. Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL) was incorporated and entered into a technical tie up with Siemens AG of Germany for manufacture of electronic push button phones. By the early 1990s, Mittal was making fax machines, cordless phones and other telecom gear. Mittal says, "In 1983, the government imposed a ban on the import of gensets. I was out of business overnight. Everything I was doing came to a screeching halt. I was in trouble. The question then was: what should I do next? Then, opportunity came calling. While in Taiwan, I noticed the popularity of the push-button phone -- something which India hadn't seen then. We were still using those rotary dials with no speed dials or redials. I sensed my chance and embraced the telecom business. I started marketing telephones, answering/fax machines under the brand name Beetel and the company picked up really fast.". He named his first push-button phones as 'Mitbrau'.
In 1992, he successfully bid for one of the four mobile phone network licences auctioned in India. One of the conditions for the Delhi cellular license was that the bidder have some experience as a telecom operator. So, Mittal clinched a deal with the French telecom group Vivendi.
He was one of the first Indian entrepreneurs to identify the mobile telecom business as a major growth area. His plans were finally approved by the Government in 1994 and he launched services in Delhi in 1995, when Bharti Cellular Limited (BCL) was formed to offer cellular services under the brand name AirTel. Within a few years Bharti became the first telecom company to cross the 2-million mobile subscriber mark. Bharti also brought down the STD/ISD cellular rates in India under brand name 'Indiaone'. IndiaOne was India’s first private national as well as the international long-distance service provider, and, thus, became a major factor in Bharti's success by providing services cheaply.
In May 2008, it emerged that Sunil Bharti Mittal was exploring the possibility of buying the MTN Group, a South Africa-based telecommunications company with coverage in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The Financial Times reported that Bharti was considering offering US$45 billion for a 100% stake in MTN, which would be the largest overseas acquisition ever by an Indian firm. However, both sides emphasize the tentative nature of the talks, while The Economist magazine noted, "If anything, Bharti would be marrying up," as MTN has more subscribers, higher revenues and broader geographic coverage. However, the talks fell apart as MTN group tried to reverse the negotiations by making Bharti almost a subsidiary of the new company.
In May 2009, Bharti Airtel again confirmed that it was in talks with MTN and the companies agreed to discuss the potential transaction exclusively by 31 July 2009. Bharti Airtel said in a statement "Bharti Airtel Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has renewed its effort for a significant partnership with MTN Group"
Talks eventually ended without agreement, some sources stating that this was due to opposition from the South African government.
Awards and Recognition
- Transforming India Leader, NDTV Business Leader Awards .
- GSMA Chairman's Award .
- Padma Bhushan in 2007, from the President of India.
- Asia Businessman of the Year, Fortune Magazine 2006.
- Telecom Person of the Year, Voice & Data, 2006.
- CEO of the year 2005, at the Frost and Sullivan Asia Pacific ICT awards 2006.
- Best Asian Telecom CEO, Telecom Asia Awards 2005.
- Best CEO, India, Institutional Investor, 2005.
- Business Leader Of The Year, Economic Times, 2005.
- Philanthropist of the Year Award 2010 at The Asian Awards
- INSEAD Business Leader Award 2011
Mittal has also been working towards educating India through the Bharti Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the Bharti Group. The Foundation has established over 254 schools in villages across India and offers free quality education with free books, uniform and mid day meals to poor children.
- Nair, Vinod (22 December 2002). "Sunil Mittal speaking: I started with a dream". Times of India.
- "Sunil Mittal & family". Forbes. October 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
- Heather Timmons (25 May 2008). "$50 Billion Telecom Deal Falls Apart". New York Times. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- "Sunil Mittal, Indra Nooyi get Padma Bhushan". The Hindu Businessline. 27 January 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- Mittal, Airtel. Pesu! (Tamil ed.). Kizhakku. p. 14. ISBN 81-8368-864-0.
- "The World's Billionaires". Forbes. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- "Sunil Mittal TimesNow interview". YouTube.com. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- Clay Chandler (17 January 2007). "Wireless Wonder: India's Sunil Mittal". CNN (CNNMoney.com). Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- "Emerging-market telecoms: Eyes on Africa". The Economist. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- James Middleton (1 October 2009). "Bharti and MTN have called off merger discussions once again". Telecoms.com. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
- "Wal-Mart May Open India Retail Stores Within Two Years". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- "Sunil Mittal bags award". Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- "Sunil Mittal gets INSEAD award". The Hindu (In.com). Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- Suzanne McGee (30 November 2009). "The 25 Best Givers". Barron's. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
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