India-origin man is Nepal's first billionaire: Forbes



Kathmandu: A Nepali businessman of Indian-origin has made it to the Forbes' billionaire list, becoming the first man from the Himalayan nation to do so.

Binod Chaudhary, 57, is the owner of Cinnovation/Chaudhary Group, popular instant noodle brand Wai Wai, a controlling stake in Nabil Bank and a string of luxury hotels with India's Taj hotel chain.

He had a 1,342nd position in 'The 2013 Billionaires List' compiled by the New York-based Forbes magazine.

Chaudhary's net worth is USD 1 billion (approximately Rs 88.20 billion), according to Forbes.

"Binod Chaudhary is Nepal's first billionaire, but built most of his fortune overseas," Forbes said.

Chaudhary is among 210 people who joined the Forbes Billionaires ranks this year. Chaudhary shares his ranking with 84 other individuals who have also been ranked the 1,342nd richest people in the globe.

Chaudhary has taken the accolade as an honour for all of Nepal. "I am humbled. As a businessman, you don't get a Nobel. This is my Nobel Prize," Chaudhary was quoted by the Kathmandu Post as saying.

"I see this as a recognition for the 40 years of my hard work," he said. Chaudhary hails from a business clan with Indian roots.

His grandfather, a textile trader from Rajasthan, migrated to Nepal in the 19th century. He opened a small textile store that used to supply goods to the erstwhile rulers.

Chaudhary's father opened Nepal's first department store. The eldest of the three siblings, Chaudhary joined the business at 18, giving up his plan to study accounting in India when his father developed a heart ailment.

Chaudhary takes pride in his success in the noodles business, particularly with 'WaiWai'. The brand has now spread wings to 35 countries with an annual production of a billion packets.

'Wai Wai' is now India's second largest selling noodles brand, after Maggi with 16 per cent market share.

Currently, he has business interests in India, UAE, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Mozambique and the US, mainly in hospitality, real estate, financial services, FMCG and cement business.

PTI