Monday, August 24, 2015

The Fall - Sensex plunges 1,625 points as China equities fall over 8%, Nifty closes at 7,809

Sensex plunges 1,625 points as China equities fall over 8%, Nifty closes at 7,809

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says stock markets will settle down; government and RBI watching the situation closely.


Stocks in focus

The BSE Sensex and NSE Nift slumped in early trade as Asian shares collapsed. (Express Photo)


Huge sell-off across the globe led by Chinese equities meltdown and geo-political tension between South Korea and North Korea raised the concerns of investors, denting domestic equity markets that witnessed panic selling pressure on Monday. Continued weakening of rupee also weighed on the sentiment. As a result, the key bechmark indices slid around 6 per cent in Monday’s trading session.
The BSE Sensex nosedived 1,624.51 points, or 5.94 per cent at 25,741.56. The index opened at 26730.40 and touched a low of 25,624.72.
On the similar lines, the NSE Nifty index tanked 490.95 points, or 5.92 per cent at 7,809. The index opened at 8,055.95 and touched a high and low of 8,060.05 and 7,769.40, respectively. It took 65 days from June 15- August 22 this year for the markets to go up from 7,950 to 8,650 but it took the bears six days to wipe off these entire gains. Nearly Rs 7 lakh crore got wiped out from the investors’ wealth as rout in Chinese stocks triggered a global sell-off.
Among the sectoral indices on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the BSE Realty index tumbled the most — 10.93 per cent at 1158.36, it was followed by the BSE Oil & Gas index (down 9.2 per cent), BSE Power index (down 8.12 per cent) and BSE Consumer Durables index (down 7.23 per cent).
Harsha Upadhyaya, chief investment officer (Equity), Kotak Mahindra Asset Management, said, “Panic has spread to Indian equities too on the back of global rout driven by Chinese actions. During this wave of selling, we may see a lot of investment opportunities from a medium-to-long-term perspective in Indian equities, which is what we are currently focusing on. We currently hold some cash in our portfolios, and will be looking to invest that into equities as the market becomes more attractive with every decline.”
Among day’s major market events that affected the sentiments across the world, Chinese markets tumbled more than 9 per cent in the day after government fresh moves to help the market sentiment failed. Over the weekend, the Chinese government formalised the rules to allow pension funds to invest in stock markets.
Achin Goel, head, wealth management and financial planning, Bonanza Portfolio said, “Chinese pension fund which amounts to around $547 billion, is the world’s largest, which if directed to Chinese markets, even in fractions, could help big way in uplifting market sentiments in the medium term. Conversely, the move sent the wrong signals as markets assumed lack of liquidity in the system and triggered a fresh sell-off. Looking at Chinese economy which is loosing steam, global crude prices hit a fresh 6 ½ year low in Monday’s trade.”
In the 30-share Sensex pack, share price of Vedanta, Tata Steel and GAIl dipped 15.30 per cent, 13.11 per cent and 12.78 per cent to Rs 80.25, Rs 206.15 and Rs 271.90, respectively. Other stocks in the Sensex pack also ended in negative.
Market breadth for the day remained negative as advances to declines ratio for Nifty stood at 0:49 for the day with NMDC being the only stock in Nifty to resist the market fall. Volumes for the day clocked 3,219 lakh, almost double the volumes logged on the previous trading session.
Sudip Bandyopadhyay, president, Destimoney Securities, said, “We may see some recovery in Tuesday’s trading session. For investment perspective, investors avoid banking and real estate stocks in the present market scenario.”
Hitesh Agrawal, head research, Reliance Securities, said, “The Nifty is likely to remain extremely volatile in the current week, more so on account of the August series F&O expiry.”
Among Asian peers, Shanghai, Nikkei and Hang Seng dipped 8.49 per cent, 4.61 per cent and 5.71 per cent at 3,209.91, 18,540.68 and 21,251.57, respectively.
——————————————————————————————————————
Markets through the day
3.30 pm: Sensex crashes over 1,700 points or 6.22 per cent in pre-close trade; investor wealth down over Rs 7 lakh crore.
3.23 pm: The 30-share Sensex crashed over 1,700 points at 25,665.
3.20 pm: Sensex was down 1636 points at 25,730.
3.14 pm: The overall investors’ wealth, measured in terms of total valuation of all listed stocks, also plunged over Rs 4 lakh crore as it crashed below Rs 100-lakh crore mark and stood at Rs 95,49,578 crore in afternoon trade.
3.09 pm: The key benchmark indices declined further. Sensex and Nifty were down 1,545 points and 467 points at 25,821 and 7,831, respectively.
3.03 pm: Amtek Auto, Wockhardt and Vakrangee slid over 20 per cent on bourses. Sensex was down 1,455 points at 25,910.
3.01 pm: The market witnessed all-round heavy selling across realty, power, oil&gas, bankex, auto, metal, capital goods and IT sectors.
2.30 pm: Nifty and Sensex were down 5 per cent at 25,966 and 7,843, respectively.
Indian financial markets are in turmoil as a result of external factors and they should soon settle down. Domestic inflation and fiscal deficit are under control, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday.
He spoke after a huge selloff in Chinese stocks following a recent devaluation of its yuan currency sent the Indian rupee to its lowest level since Sept. 2013.
NSE Nifty
Source: NSE

2.19 pm: Sensex was down 1437 points at 25,929. Vedanta and Tata Steel were trading 14 per cent and 10.22 per cent lower at Rs 81 and Rs 213, respectively.
2.15 pm: Sensex was down 1367 points at 25,999. The BSE Realty index was down over 10 per cent.
2.00 pm: As many as 51 scrips witnessed their 52 week highs on BSE despite heavy selling and weak investor sentiment in the market. Sensex was down 1,236 points at 26,130.
1.49 pm: Around 145 companies hit their fresh 52-week low NSE on Monday. Some of the names are Bank of India, Andhra Cements, Atlas Cycles (Haryana), GAIL India, ICICI Bank, IVRCL, PTC India, Nalco, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, Reliance Power and Steel Authority of India.
1.33 pm: Sensex down 1,087 points at 26,278.96, while Nifty was down 341.75 points at 7,958.20 during the same time. Nestle India shares up 0.85 per cent.
1.11 pm: Sensex was down over 1,200 points at 26,158. G Chokkalingam, founder and managing director, Equinomics Research & Advisory, said, “Today’s fall can be attributed to nervousness in US and China markets. I believe, Indian markets will recover faster and will do better than other markets.”
1.05 pm: Sensex was down 1104 points at 26,261. Nifty was down 350 points at 7,949.
12.46 pm: As stock markets witnessed bloodbath on Monday, the Sensex recorded an intra-day fall of 1,153.16 points till noon — making it the biggest crash in about seven years and the fourth biggest ever for the BSE benchmark index. Interestingly, eight out of the top-ten intra-day falls took place in the year 2008. Today’s fall is biggest since October 24, 2008.
Sensex biggest fall
12.27 pm: There were more than seven losers against every gainer on BSE.
The sharp setback on the domestic bourses was triggered by a rout in global equities. Chinese stocks led a sell-off in Asian markets on concerns about slowdown in China’s economic growth. The sharp setback in Chinese stocks materialised after US stocks tumbled during the previous trading session on Friday as fears about China’s economy and global growth spurred heavy selling.
Shanghai Composite index was down 8.26 per cent at 3,218.
12.14 pm: Among the sectoral indices on the Bombay Stock Exchange, BSE Realty index, BSE Power and BSE Oil & Gas were down over 5 per cent. The BSE Sensex and NSE NSE Nifty were down 4 per cent at 26,291 and 7,964.
BSE Sensex
Source: BSE

11.37 am: Jimeet Modi, chief executive officer, SAMCO Securities said, “The fall in the Indian markets is largely attributed to a short term outflow of funds. Globally emerging markets have seen an outflow of close to a trillion dollars which is twice that of the 2008 outflows and this has led to pressure on the markets. From an investment perspective, the market correction presents a great opportunity. A short term 4-5 per cent down move should not make a difference for a long term investor looking to create wealth from a 50 per cent up move in the markets. Investors should not panic and look for opportunities which have become reasonably priced after this correction. It is a buy in dips market from an investors perspective.”
The BSE Sensex was down 975 points at 26,391.
10.57 am: Sensex was down over 1,100 points 26,255.87
10.42 am: Brokers said sentiments suffered a jolt following a sell-off in other Asian markets with over 8 per cent plunge in Shanghai index. Sensex was down 3.73 per cent at 26,344.12.
10.35 am: In its biggest intra-day crash this year, stock market benchmark Sensex plunged by 1,086 points while Nifty fell below 8,000 level in early trade today due to heavy selling by funds amid global sell-off as worries about China’s economy deepen. The BSE Sensex was at 26,296. NSE Nifty was down 321 points at 7,979. All the 50 stocks in the NSE Nifty were trading in red.
GAIL, BHEL, Bank of Baroda, Tata Motors and ONGC were trading 6 per cent lower in the morning trade.

Nifty
Source: NSE

10.13 am: Rupee crashes to 66.49/dollar: RBIGovernor Raghuram Rajan assures investors, says will intervene when needed
10.09 am: Share price of upstream companies dropped after further slide in global crude oil price. Among oil exploration and production companies, ONGC (down 5.12 per cent), Oil India (down 2.97 per cent), Cairn India (down 5.35 per cent), and Reliance Industries (down 3.82 per cent) declined.
Brent crude oil futures for October delivery hit fresh 6-1/2-year lows today as investors fretted that a slowing Chinese economy will lead to weaker demand amid a global supply surplus.
Lower crude oil prices would result in lower realisations from crude sales for oil exploration firms.
The BSE Oil and Gas index was down 3.84 per cent at 8,797.48.
9.59 am: In the 30-share Sensex pack, GAIL, Tata Motors, ONGC and BHEL were down over 5 per cent. NSE Nifty falls 252 points at 8,047.70.
9.52 am: The BSE Sensex was down 3 per cent at 26,530.
snapshot
Source: BSE
9.46 am: The BSE Sensex was down 842 points at 26,524. NSE Nifty were down 265.90 points at 8034.05.
9.38 am: The BSE Midcap index was down 411.79 points or 3.70 per cent at 10,802. The BSE Smallcap index was down 465 points or 4 per cent at 11,144.
9.20 am: The S&P BSE Sensex was down 887.50 points or 3.24 per cent at 26,478.57. The index fell 635.67 points at the day’s high of 26,730.40 at the onset of trading session. The index fell 1,006.54 points at the day’s low of 26,359.53 at the onset of trading session, its lowest level since June 15, 2015.
The BSE Sensex and NSE Nift slumped in early trade as Asian shares collapsed.
At 9.21 am: The BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty were down 810.94 points and 270.20 points at 26,511 and 8,029.75, respectively, in the opening trade.
All the sectoral indices on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) were trading in red. BSE Realty index was down over 5 per cent, it was followed by the BSE Auto index (3.82 per cent) and the BSE Power index (down 3.58 per cent).
The Indian rupee slumped to as low as 66.48 per dollar, its lowest since September 2013, as Asian markets reeled under fears of a China-led global economic slowdown.
Asian peers, Hang Seng, Nikkei and Shanghai were down 4.08 per cent, 3.21 per cent and 8.01 per cent at 21,495, 18,812 and 3,226.82, respectively.
Asian stocks dived to 3-year lows on Monday as a rout in Chinese equities gathered pace, hastening an exodus from riskier assets as fears of a China-led global economic slowdown roiled world markets.
Global Markets
New York: The S&P 500 suffered its biggest daily percentage drop in nearly four years on Friday and the Dow confirmed it had entered into correction territory as fears of a China-led global slowdown rattled investors around the world.
London: Britain’s FTSE 100 marked its biggest weekly loss of the year after data from China raised investors’ concerns over weak global growth and possible deflation.
Tokyo: Japanese stocks tumbled to a 5-1/2-month low on Monday morning on a broad sell-off triggered by China growth fears, hitting cyclical stocks hard.
(With inputs  from agencies)
Source : http://www.financialexpress.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meet Siddhartha Lal, the man who turned around Royal Enfield into Eicher Motors’ profit engine


Meet Siddhartha Lal, the man who turned around Royal Enfield into Eicher Motors’ profit engine 


"In my mind the basic question was this: do we want to be a mediocre player in 15 small businesses or just be good in one or two businesses," recalls Lal. 

"In my mind the basic question was this: do we want to be a mediocre player in 15 small businesses or just be good in one or two businesses," recalls Lal.  

Siddhartha Lal was all of 26 when he took over as CEO of Royal Enfield in 2000. If you had spent Rs 55,000 to buy a Royal Enfield motorcycle in 2001, you would now have an old, rugged bike. But if you had invested the same Rs 55,000 in shares (at Rs 17.50 per share) of Eicher Motors, the company that makes Enfield bikes, your investment will be worth Rs 4.75 crore now.

The twin credit for building a rugged bike as well as enormous value for shareholders goes to Siddhartha Lal, MD and CEO, Eicher Motors. In some ways, it all came to one big decision Lal took based on his love for Enfield. It was 2004. Lal was 30 and had just taken over as COO of Eicher group. The group had a diverse spread of about 15 businesses including tractors, trucks, motorcycles, components, footwear and garments, but none was a market leader. 

Lal undertook an intense portfolio analysis and took a hard call. He decided to divest 13 businesses and put all money and focus behind Royal Enfield and trucks, two businesses where he believed the group had a genuine shot at leadership. "In my mind the basic question was this: do we want to be a mediocre player in 15 small businesses or just be good in one or two businesses," recalls Lal. 

"That's why we sold 13 out of the 15 businesses, the big one being tractors to TAFE. We removed the clutter and focussed on two promising businesses." Back then, conglomerates viewed businesses as family jewels. It was a cardinal sin to sell anything. But Lal sold almost everything. "Many did think Eicher was going out of business," recalls Lal. "Motorcycles was the joker in the pack," says Lal, referring to the portfolio of businesses he inherited. It was also his pet business. "I did the mathematics, projections and all we needed was to get the motorcycle business to the next level (in terms of sales)." 

Decision made, Lal put his full weight behind Royal Enfield and the trucks business. A decade later, Eicher Motors earns over Rs 8,738 crore in revenues and makes a net profit of Rs 702 crore (FY14). Royal Enfield brings in about 80% of these profits. 

This is a case of passion leading to profits. "Siddhartha Lal is Royal Enfield's biggest asset," says RL Ravichandran, who was CEO of Royal Enfield for five years from 2005 and continued on the board of Eicher Motors till December 2014. "He is an authority on British bikes of the post-World War era as a historian, a follower and a hands-on rider," he adds. 

Eicher Motors' stock prices have shot up from Rs 224 in 2006 to Rs 15,612 now.

"The stock price rise is fully justified by fundamentals. The company has no debt and it redeploys money into further expansion and product innovation," says Raamdeo Agrawal, joint managing director of Motilal Oswal Securities. Adds Ambrish Mishra, director (research), JM Financial Institutional Securities: "Performance has consistently surpassed analyst expectations over the past five years.

Royal Enfield has successfully capitalised on growing customer preference for leisure biking through product differentiation, strong brand positioning, capacity buildup and rapid network expansion."

The long climb up
In 2005, the company was selling only about 25,000 bikes every year. "I was clear that it would be an amazingly profitable business," recalls Lal. But the company needed manufacturing scale. Fixed cost had to be spread around 100,000 bikes. "This set the building blocks for the next decade," says Lal. 

He focussed on Enfield first, leaving trucks for later. Lal engineered and improved Enfield bikes by riding hundreds of kilometres himself. He also initiated a motorcycling culture in the team. Ravichandran says Lal always leads from the front. "He is both passionate and practical and has a deep sense of understanding of what separates Royal Enfield from the other brands," he adds. 

Under Lal, as quality improved, sales grew too. By 2010, the company was selling 50,000 bikes, but on three platforms. That was when Lal decided to build all Enfield bikes on a single platform to maximise economies of scale. The Enfield Classic, launched from this single platform, caught the fancy of customers. Sales shot up six times in half a decade from 50,000 units in CY10 to 300,000 in CY14. Now, the target is 4,50,000 units in CY15. 

"By becoming smaller (selling businesses and one engine platform) we have become bigger," says Lal. Now, Lal is ready to shift gears and drive into international markets. The company exports a mere 6,000 bikes annually, but Lal believes Royal Enfield can be a sizeable player in international markets a decade from now. He is already doing some strategic hiring with this goal in mind.

Rod Copes, a former Harley Davidson manager has been hired as president of North America (based in US); Pierre Terblanche, head of the industrial design team was snagged from Ducati; James Young, head — engines has worked in Triumph, and was hired in UK. Simon Warburton, head — product planning and strategy (new projects) also comes from Triumph. Mark Wells, head — programme (new projects) and Ian Wride, worked on Enfield's Classic and Continental GT models while they were with the design firm 'Xenophya.' Both have now joined Royal Enfield at its UK tech centre. Lal also realises that good marketing is as important as fine engineering. Which is why he recently hired Rudratej Singh from consumer business giant Unilever. Singh joined as president in January 2015. 

Lal draws inspiration from global brands. Two of the most studied examples are the Mini Cooper and Porsche, both of which are very focussed and conscious about not diluting core DNA. 

When Lal was a student in the 1990s in the UK, small cars were poorly designed when compared to the mid-size and larger cars. Then came the Mini, which changed the paradigm and made small cars really fun to drive. "That's what I want from Royal Enfield — to make mid-weight motorcycles fun to drive, yet retain its DNA," he says. "Royal Enfield is not bought for pure acceleration nor for fuel efficiency, but it has a stature and legacy," says former CEO Ravichandran. "There are no bells and whistles associated with it, but there is purity and purpose built into it." 

From bikes to trucks

Lal turned his attention to trucks in 2006 after turning around Royal Enfield. The group pushed hard for a breakthrough in the truck business. The ambition wasn't to be a good No. 3, but challenge No. 1. "We figured that we had the brand, but didn't have financial muscle, technology and the distribution. It was an uphill task." He struck an alliance with Volvo, which also brought in equity. 

"As Eicher plus Volvo, we can do much more than what Eicher could do alone," he says. "I would rather have half of a much larger pie." Eicher and Volvo hold 54.4% and 45.6% respectively in the joint venture VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV). This alliance too has led to shareholder value creation. 

"VECV too managed to create a world class portfolio in medium and heavy trucks through the pro-series range. This will contribute to the overall growth in the next few years," says Mishra of JM Financial Institutional Securities. Market experts also believe that Volvo will have to pay a substantial premium if it wants control of the business, resulting in windfall gains for shareholders of Eicher Motors. "This is reflected in the stock price of Eicher Motors," one analyst says. 

Lal says share price is an animal he does not understand. "What could be a flavour of the day, may not be tomorrow. We need to do well and maintain fundamentals," he says. Shareholders won't complain. As long as Lal takes care of the bikes, share prices will take care of themselves. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

How dalit entrepreneur Kalpana Saroj revived Kamani Tubes Ltd

How dalit entrepreneur Kalpana Saroj revived Kamani Tubes Ltd

Navinbhai Kamani doesn't betray any emotion over the fate that has befallen him and his industrial empire. Now, in his eighties, he has "detached" himself from the past; the glorious years when Ramjibhai Kamani, his father, rubbed shoulders with Gandhiji and later Pandit Nehru, paving the road for an industrial India, along with the Tatas, Birlas, and the Bajajs. "Father even stepped out of business for a while, taking to spinning khadi in rural Gujarat," he recalls.


Navin bhai now leads a spartan life in a rented house in Mumbai's Worli amid constant threats of eviction. The fact that, in June 2011, the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) released Kamani Tubes Ltd (KTL), a group company comatose for decades, to chart an independent course doesn't stir him at all. As chairman of KTL, he had handed over his embattled company to workers in 1988, after a prolonged spell of labour trouble.
A Supreme Court-directed move, it was then hailed as a bold experiment in worker ownership and management. Unfortunately, KTL, which made non-ferrous metal tubes and pipes, hit the rocks within a decade, with the company retiring sick in 1995. Yet, when the stoic Navinbhai learns that the current KTL chair, Kalpana Saroj, who bought the company and nursed it back to health in a daring revival scheme, starting 2006, is a dalit, he perks up and his brows rise.
"She is a dalit?" he whispers incredulously, and recounts how Saroj visited him some time ago to write out a cheque for Rs 51 lakh — his dues, including provident fund, as part of the KTL restructuring exercise. "Navinbhai's financial condition was precarious; and I presume the money did him some good," says Saroj, sitting in her well-appointed office, once the boardroom of the Kamani group, at Kamani Chambers, in Mumbai's Ballard Estate.
She, still immersed in the minutiae of blowing life into the company, however, fails to comprehend the significance of the situation; a dalit, once a denizen of the city's slums, bailing out the scion of a once mighty industrial empire, and the recipient expressing silent gratitude! Kalpana Saroj of Kalpana Saroj & Associates (KSA) has indeed traversed quite a distance from Murtizapura, a hamlet in the interiors of Maharashtra.
Today, she presides over varied businesses. The single factory Sai Krupa Sakhar Karkhana in Ahmednagar, in which she holds a substantial stake, is graduating to an integrated sugar complex.
Capacity has been enhanced to 7,500 TCD (tonnes of sugarcane crushed per day), and a 60 KLD (kilo litres per day) distillery is coming up. "We are also building a 35 MW co-generation power plant," she says.
A diversification into steel manufacturing and mining has come about recently. Initial investments of Rs 10 crore for a 100 tonnes per day steel plant has been made at Wada, on the outskirts of Mumbai. A bauxite mining initiative across 1,230 acres in Udgir, along the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, is being drawn out.
Meanwhile, she has also resurrected the Kamani brand in the Gulf through Al Kamani in Kuwait and Kalpana Saroj LLC in Dubai to cater to the huge demand for copper tubes, especially from the water and sanitation sector. "The Arabs are familiar with the brand," recalls Navinbhai. "They would, in my time, often pay a premium for our products."
/photo.cms?msid=9402883
Daughter of a police constable, Saroj has had a troubled past. She was married off at 12, and migrated to Mumbai's slums. A broken marriage forced her to return to her village. She couldn't fit in, and therefore, attempted suicide, and survived.
Determined to chart her own destiny, she returned to Mumbai and laboured for Rs 2 a day at a hosiery unit, married again, took over a steel almirah fabrication business on her husband's death, and stumbled into the construction business. From then on, she rode the realty wave.
Alongside, Saroj dabbled in social work, which brought her into close proximity with politicians of all hues. It enabled her to climb the social ladder quickly. Her critics view this as an opportunistic trait, but it's also true that business easily cultivates friends and patrons in high places.
"My capital has always been people," explains Saroj. Her tryst with KTL was also thrown up by the ecosystem she was in. The company was weighed down by a debt of Rs 116 crore, salary and provident fund dues of over 500 workers, and over 170 court cases. "Takeover suitors would appear, conduct a due diligence and flee for dear life," recalls Ramesh Bondkar, general secretary of Kamani Kamgar Ekta, KTL's workers union.
However, Saroj bid for the company when it was put up for sale by IDBI, the operating agency of the BIFR. In March 2006, her scheme for revival was accepted. She settled all claims by lenders. Workers dues of over Rs 8.5 crore were cleared. "I paid Rs 90 lakh more than what was due to workers as a gesture of goodwill," explains Saroj.
The revival, though, wasn't easy. She has had to confront the old Kamani Employees Union (KEU), which accuses Saroj of coming in merely to strip KTL. D Thankappan, now with Delhi's New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), who earlier piloted the experiment in workers management, has always maintained that Saroj is an interloper, with political contacts; and that, as a builder, she is eying the company's assets. Her counter: except for a 3.75 acre piece of land in Bangalore, the company has no property whatsoever. Even the land on which Kamani Chambers stands is on leasehold land of the Port Trust.
"KEU wants liquidation of the company, and not revival of the company and restoration of workers livelihoods," laments MK Gore, MD, KTL. "It's inexplicable." Even the Bombay High Court, in an order of October 2009, frowned upon the predatory petition-filing antics of the KEU and opined: "...the whole purpose of filing the petition appears to be to create hindrance in the implementation of the scheme..."
Govind Kharatmol and Ramchandra Kadam, workers who survived by driving rickshaws all these years, accuse a ruling KEU clique for ending a wonderful workers initiative by systematically siphoning out money. "They tasted blood then, and now, they want more," says Kharatmol. Saroj maintains this too shall pass. Only two of the KEU affiliated workers now remain on her rolls, and they retire by the year-end. KTL started commercial production in December 2010.
Sales are inching up; it stands at about Rs 1 crore or so. Three new gas furnaces have been installed at KTL's new plant in Mumbai. The company is quickly moving into newer areas of demand. "We are developing cupro-nickel alloy tubes, required in large quantities by power plants," reveals Ashish Deshpande, CEO, KTL. Also on the drawing board are SBP brass wires for ball pen tips. It's powering along, slowly. Few companies in India has had such a chequered history, and fewer still have such a chairperson: a gutsy, at times reckless, dalit; a school drop-out; child-bride; slum dweller; suicide survivor.

Kalpana Saroj with famous actor Johny Lever and anchor Samiksha

Source : www.economictimes.indiatimes.comtanujaskhan44.files.wordpress.com

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lulu and behold: All you need to know about the Kerala businessman who bought Great Scotland Yard

Lulu and behold: All you need to know about the Kerala businessman who bought Great Scotland Yard

His name is MA Yusuffali, he is a Padma Shri, he runs the Lulu Group, and he hasn’t actually purchased the headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police.
Lulu and behold: All you need to know about the Kerala businessman who bought Great Scotland Yard
Retail billionaire MA Yusuffali has reached an agreement with a London-based property developer to build a five-star hotel at the iconic Great Scotland Yard, the original headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in the British capital. A personal FAQ gives the lowdown:

Who is this MA Yusuffali? I have never heard of him. Sounds very shady.Hello non-Malayali sceptic. Happy to meet you. Padma Shri MA Yusuffali is one of India’s greatest international businessmen. His Lulu Group of companies has global revenues of $5.5 billion. Starting from a small food wholesaling and importing business in Abu Dhabi in the 1970s, the Lulu Group today is a global retailing phenomenon with around 35,000 employees from 37 different countries, including UK, UAE, Benin, Oman, Hong Kong, Thailand, India and, of course, Kerala.

Impressive. Have you been to these stores?Oddly, now that you ask, I have vivid memories of going to their original food store when I was a child in Abu Dhabi. I think it used to be called Emke Store. You walked into this huge, dark, aromatic paradise. Clouds of chilli powder and coriander powder hung in the air. All the wooden furniture had smooth surfaces from the relentless friction of successful commerce. Mom and dad went about making small talk with the staff and picking rice varieties and milk powder. At the end of it I would get a bottle of Double Cola if I was well behaved. Sometimes you could peel the label on the bottle back and if you were lucky you found a voucher for another free bottle. Good times. When you reached back home you had to pop into the shower to wash the thin layer of sweaty coriander off your skin…

And then what happened?And then you towelled yourself down and… oh. Well then if I recall correctly he opened a small supermarket called Emirates General Market. Which was not very far from St Joseph’s Church in Abu Dhabi. We used to go there very often after Friday service to pick up frozen meat. They also used to sell croissants, I think. This was around the time my family discovered croissants, canned tuna and butter chicken. True story. I’d never eaten butter chicken or croissants till the early 1990s.

Mmm. Butter chicken croissants. That would totally work.

Totally. The Lulu Group took off from there?Yup. And how. I think they just opened their 117th hypermarket. And Yusuffali’s hypermarkets are huge, one-stop destinations for every conceivable thing. How things have changed from that small Emirates General Market, eh? In that place two shopping trolleys passing side by side was a 15-minute crisis. And now he owns gargantuan stores you could drive yourself around if you want to. Commendable story.

So this Great Scotland Yard purchase is quite cool no?Oh yes. For many reasons. First of all the building is iconic. The first headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police and the building from which the Jack The Ripper investigations were managed. Actually the building itself sits on a road called Great Scotland Yard, and only the back of the old police HQ faces it. The building is technically called 4 Whitehall Place. But over time the back entrance became the public entrance, and people just called it Scotland Yard. Later the police force moved to a New Scotland Yard and then, in the 1960s, to another New Scotland Yard. In those two cases the buildings are called Scotland Yard, but not the roads on which they sit. Unlike the original. It is all very confusing. But hey, this is a country in which the Overground train sometimes goes under the Underground train.

Anyhow, no doubt there is great historical value in the building Yusuffali is buying.

How big is in the investment?I am not entirely sure. But I think it is in the range of £110 million including a £50 million refurb that will turn the building into a super-luxury five star hotel by 2017.

Whoa. That is a lot of money.Only for you and me. Yusuffali has a personal net worth estimated at $2.5 billion. Which means the purchase is around 8% of his net worth. You know what is 8% of my net worth? A paneer tikka sandwich from Subway.

Tell me about it. So have you met this guy?One second… Hello again. So I just spoke to dad on the phone and apparently I haven’t met him at all. Because Yusuffali’s uncle used to sit in that original EMKE Store. But my dad had met him once many years ago at the Indian Social Center in Abu Dhabi. There was some Christmas party and Yusuffali was talking about the historical meaning of Christmas. Dad still recalls being impressed by the fellow’s wisdom.

Sounds like a sharp guy.I think so too. Anyway can’t wait for the hotel to open in 2017. Going there would be something of a circle completing itself, I suppose. I will perhaps order a bottle of cola, a cup of tea and something with coriander in it. For old time’s sake.
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