Economy

That’s how extravagant Indian vaccine billionaire Adar Poonawolla lives

Adar Poonawalla and his wife Natasha Poonawalla on October 27, 2019 in Mumbai, India.

Adar Poonawalla and his wife Natasha Poonawalla on October 27, 2019 in Mumbai, India.

Prodip Guha / Getty Images

Adar Poonawalla is one of the richest men in India. His company, the Serum Institute of India, is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world and has brought him a family fortune of around eleven billion US dollars, as reported by “Der Spiegel”. In the pandemic, the businessman is more in demand than ever, because his factory also produces the AstraZeneca corona vaccine. But how does the largely unknown billionaire in Germany live and what does he spend his wealth on? An interview with the magazine “Spiegel” offers insights into the life of the Indian billionaire.

The Serum Institute of India sells nearly 1.5 billion doses of vaccine annually to around 170 countries. Poonawalla’s factory is also at the forefront when it comes to the production of a corona vaccine. The Pune factory normally makes measles, diphtheria or polio vaccines, which are used in two-thirds of all children worldwide. Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is one of Poonawalla’s major customers.

Since the pandemic, however, the company has been busy producing around a thousand doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine per minute. This is mainly delivered to India, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and South Africa. Poonawalla would love to help the EU out of its vaccine mess. In an interview with the “Spiegel” he said that he could deliver up to 40 million doses in the next quarter to advance vaccinations in the EU. In a few weeks, however, it will first deliver to Great Britain and Canada.

Poonawalla has expensive hobbies and an extravagant lifestyle

While other companies and manufacturers fail at the core task of producing large quantities of vaccine in the shortest possible time, Poonawalla relied on quantity early on. He produces a lot and sells it extremely cheaply. However, this means there is a risk of getting stuck on the corona vaccines produced. Because the stored vaccines expire in April, and many countries and states to which Poonawalla wants to deliver have not yet approved the vaccine. Nevertheless, he remains confident.

Poonawalla is not only a successful businessman, diplomat and ambassador to India, but also a man with an extravagant lifestyle and expensive hobbies. The 40-year-old is not exactly cautious about his success and his fortune: He likes to spend his money on racehorses, private jets, real estate and vehicles.

He had a former Airbus A320 converted into an office for his workplace. There are also paddocks in the middle of the company premises, of which Poonawalla owns several. There is also one of his stud farms on the outskirts of town, where he breeds horses. He likes to fly there in a helicopter, as it would be faster, he tells the “Spiegel”.

In his spare time, the billionaire likes to go for jaunts in the Batmobile

Poonawalla lives with his son and his wife Natasha, as well as with employees in a villa in Pune. The property is located on a street named after him, Poonawalla Road. In the basement of the property is his “Batmobile” – a converted, black painted Mercedes C-Class made of black paint – which Poonawalla has only driven three or four times so far. The billionaire had the car converted to take his son – an avid Batman fan – for a spin. Poonawalla even had bespoke Batman suits made for himself and his son in Hollywood from the studio that produced the Batman film.

By the way, Poonawalla doesn’t get into any trouble for jaunts in his Batmobile, since he knows the police chief. Poonawalla is also known to other presidents and prime ministers who often help him to make his life as comfortable as possible – but at the same time they could also make his life as uncomfortable as possible.

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