Ignatius Navil Noronha, CEO of DMart Becomes Billionaire

Ignatius Navil Noronha, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Avenue Supermarts Ltd., which runs DMart retail stores, has witnessed his wealth surge to more than a billion dollars owing to an astonishing jump in the shares of the retail firm of about 113% this year.

A fresh record high of ₹5,899 on BSE has been hit by the stock and gained as much as 10.7% in intraday. At 10 am on October 18, the scrip was up 2% to ₹5,431 a share. The stock trading has been higher for seven consecutive sessions and advanced up to 40% in this period.

Aged 47, Noronha has become India’s richest professional manager due to the astonishing jump in the shares of DMart, with his net worth surging past ₹7,744 crore. Presently, Noronha has 2.03% stake, or 13.13 million shares in the company.

The 19-fold rise in the share price of Avenue Supermarts helped Naronha achieve this wealth. The stock was listed on March 21 in 2017 with an issue price of ₹299 a share. The scrip has since then surged to over 1,800% from its issue price.

Noronha, born and raised in Mumbai has completed his management degree from the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies. He was working with Hindustan Unilever, the fast-moving consumer goods before joining DMart. Radhakishnan Damani, the founder of Avenue Supermarts hired him in 2004 as a head of business. Noronha took over as a CEO in 2007.

The retail store continues to offer the highest discount across most categories, which is helping DMart to gain loyalty, which is a key factor for driving footfall. The retail firm targets all consumers from lower-middle, middle, to aspiring upper-middle-income for whom the value for money plays a crucial role.

However, DMart faces the risk of greater competition from Amazon, Flipkart, and JioMart, but analysts believe the retail corporation is well placed in the domestic retail industry, owing to its strong execution capabilities, lower cost of operation, low costs strategy and disciplined low prices, and a streamlined distribution network.

Analysts are expecting a healthy recovery for retail firms driven by relaxing or progressive lifting of lockdown restrictions following the adverse second COVID-19 wave, longer store operating timings, aggressive vaccination drive across India, festive season-led buying, and phased reopening of modern trade, which are resulting in higher footfall.

The retail corporation added eight new stores in the second quarter of 2021, taking the total store count to 246 at the end of September.

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