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BW Businessworld

The New Billionaires

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The commodities business is not everyone's cup of tea. But it is exactly to Ajit Thomas's taste. After all, his company Neelamalai Agro manages its own tea plantations, produces, manufactures and markets tea. Thomas also understands the value of diversification, especially in a cyclical sector such as commodities, and has moved into food flavours and colours. In fact, AVT Natural Products is now the largest exporter of marigold oleoresins in the world. Thomas has his eyes set on a strong retail presence as well, and has tied up with Food World to supply packaged tea. AVT Natural's revenue has risen 63 per cent to Rs 139 crore in 2011 even as debt grew about 18 per cent.

Promod Gupta: Chairman and MD
Company: PG Electroplast
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 221.76
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: Not available
Absolute difference (in Rs cr): Not applicable
% change: Not applicable
Promod Gupta started out making radio transistors, receivers and black & white television components at his house in Delhi in 1977, when consumer electronics companies had to import such parts. Today, his company, which listed in 2010, has a turnover of Rs 448 crore and is an integrated player in the consumer electronics market, with the capability of doing plastic injection moulding, printed circuit board assembly and final integration of products. So, many of the big-brand gadgets (LG, for example) in our houses originate in Gupta's factories at Greater Noida, Dehradun and Ahmednagar.

Tilokchand Kothari: Chairman and MD
Company: Visagar Polytex
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 172.53
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 39.91
Absolute difference (in Rs cr): 132.62
% change: 332.29
Tilokchand Kothari knows his six yards well. After all, he is the man behind the Vividha brand of sarees, ethnic wear and textiles, which is present at more than 15 locations. He set up Visagar Polytex in 1983, and is today one of the few organised players in the saree and ethnic wear market which, by one estimate, is worth Rs 50,000 crore. But Kothari does not want to rest on his laurels, and has diversified into financial services, real estate (Maharashtra Corp.), media and education. The stockmarket seems to agree with this as the company's stock has risen from Rs 100 levels in Jaunary 2011 to Rs 230 levels in July 2012.

M.P. Agarwal: Chairman and MD
Company: Shri Lakshmi Cotsyn
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 160.07
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 68.35
Absolute difference (in Rs cr): 91.72
% change: 134.19
Quantum leaps are what M.P. Agarwal believes in. Just look at the speed at which Shri Lakshmi Cotsyn is moving — terry towel production capacity up from 3,000 tonne per annum (tpa) to 15,000 tpa in 2010; a garments factory with capacity of 6.6 million pieces per annum at roorkee (with a 10-year tax holiday) in 2008, among others. The textiles sector has seen many ups and downs but agarwal has stayed ahead of the curve thanks to technological advances and expansion of product portfolio, which now includes high-value technical fabrics such as nuclear bio-chemical fabrics, among others.

Ghanshyambhai Thakkar: Chairman
Company: Rushil Decor
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 165.12
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: Not available
Absolute difference (in Rs cr): Not applicable
% change: Not applicable
What started as a small laminate unit in Mansa, Gujarat, is now a company with a capacity of 3 million sheets of laminates and 30,000 cubic metres of board, produced from three centres. But that is not where Ghanshyambhai Thakkar plans to stop. In the pipeline is a proposed plant at Chikmagalur, Karnataka, with a 90,000 cubic metre capacity for medium-density fibre board — a product gaining popularity as it is better than plywood in terms of durability. The plans sit well with the stock market as the company's stock, and with it Thakkar's fortunes, has risen from Rs 135 levels in July 2011 to Rs 215 levels a year later.

C. Shiva Kumar Reddy: Chairman and MD
Company: Kavveri Telecom Products
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 107.48
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 64.46
Absolute difference (in Rs cr): 43.01
% change: 66.72
Not one to sit and twiddle his thumbs, C. Shiva Kumar Reddy is always looking for new opportunities. Since 3G, BWA rollout, rural expansion and in-building solutions (IBS) are what India is looking at; this is the market that Reddy is tapping for his RF network and antenna business. He also has a deal with Spotwave Wireless of Canada for 4G IBS, which opens doors to the North American market. In India, he has inked 10-year deals with telecom operators for exclusive IBS rights to large commercial buildings. He is sitting pretty with revenues at Rs 278 crore in FY11 — 37 per cent more than the previous year.

Anil Patodia: Chairman
Company: The Byke Hospitality
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 107.05
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 72.48
Absolute difference (in Rs cr): 34.57
% change: 47.69
Anil Patodia, a career hotelier, has literally taken The Byke Hospitality places. With hotels and resorts in exotic destinations such as Goa, Matheran (Maharashtra) and Rajasthan, the firm's market cap has gone from Rs 160 crore as on 31 March 2011 to Rs 260 crore on 30 March 2012, a 16.74 per cent jump. Patodia's own fortunes, by virtue of being promoter, rose from Rs 72 crore to Rs 107 crore. This gets him a spot in the BW Super Rich List. Patodia's stewardship has seen the company prosper; its total income rose from Rs 332 crore as on 31 March 2011 to Rs 489 crore on 30 March 2012. Besides, he has managed to keep The Byke largely debt-free.

Lalit Kumar Gandhi: Chairman and MD
Company: Chartered Logistics
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 105.92
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 71.82
Absolute difference (in Rs cr): 34.10
% change: 47.48
In a growing economy, transportation and logistics play a crucial role. The Ahmedabad based chartered logistics, with Lalit Kumar Gandhi at its helm, has gone from strength to strength since it was set up in 1995. It offers a whole range of logistical services spanning road transport to warehousing solutions. Gandhi's group has recently diversified into healthcare and has seen its market capitalisation rise to Rs 174 crore as on 30 March 2012 from Rs 118 crore a year ago — a whopping 47 per cent rise. With a net profit of Rs 10 crore on net sales of Rs 256 crore (30 March 2012), Gandhi seems to be in the driver's seat.

D.P. Tantia: Chairman
Company: GPT Infraprojects
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 173.00
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: Not available
Absolute difference (in Rs cr): Not applicable
% change: Not applicable
GPT Infraprojects has been executing civil engineering projects — roads, bridges, railway systems, urban transit, industrial and civil aviation infrastructure — since 2004. It is India's leading manufacturer of concrete sleepers, supplying to projects in India, countries in Africa, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Tantia has powered the company's turnover to Rs 311 crore while keeping debt low at Rs 10 crore. The group has diversified into healthcare (with hospitals in Kolkata and Agartala), and into castings, manufacturing cast iron shoulders for the Indian Railways. Tantia sure believes in core strength.

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(Illustration By Deepak Seth)

Deepak Seth: Chairman
Company: House of Pearl Fashions
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 106.17
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 61.22
Absolute difference (in Rs crore): 44.95
% change: 73.43
Deepak Seth is the man behind what House of Pearl Fashions is today. He has taken the company from a single manufacturing unit in India to 12 locations across the world, including sourcing businesses in Hong Kong, Bangladesh and China, new manufacturing units in Bangladesh and Indonesia, and acquired businesses in the UK and the US. He has diversified the company's business from only manufacturing to outsourcing. Seth can always sense an opportunity — even in an economic slowdown globally. He is betting big on supply and demand chain-led consolidations.

S.S. Mundra: Chairman & MD
Company: M AND B Switchgears
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 100.74
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: Not available
Absolute difference(in Rs cr): Not applicable
% change: Not applicable
Shyam Sunder Mundra-promoted M AND B Switchgears shot to fame when it became the proud recipient of the country's first solar Renewable Energy Certificate or REC when the National Load Dispatch Centre, New Delhi, issued 249 certificates to it. The value of Mundra's stake in the company was Rs 100.74 crore in FY2012. In 2010-11, its turnover was Rs 37 crore, on which it made a net profit of Rs 77 lakh. For the first nine months of 2011-12, the company's turnover was Rs 18 crore, and net profit Rs 32 lakh. The Indore-based company has a 2 MW solar photovoltaic power plant at Rajgarh district in Madhya Pradesh, which marks the company's foray into the solar energy sector. In 2012-13, this plant is expected to generate about 3,250 RECs. In FY2013, Mundra is targeting a topline growth of 40-50 per cent for his company.

N.K. Sureka: Chairman and MD
Company: Tuni Textile Mills
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 216.99
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 7.69
Absolute difference(in Rs crore): 209.29
% change: 2,719.99
Technological advancements and changing demands have created many opportunities in the textile sector. Narendra Kumar Sureka was quick to recognise this trend and set up a synthetic fabric plant at Thane, Maharashtra, as far back as in 1989, for the manufacture of shirting fabric as well as texturised yarn. However, unlike many of his peers, Sureka has chosen to source fabric from 300 other looms as this keeps the company's operations nimble. The company, which was set up in 1987, listed in November 1992. Its plant today manufactures around 7.5 million metre of fabric per annum, and employs 41 people. Sureka's stewardship has seen Tuni Textile Mills' market capitalisation rise to Rs 999 crore as on 30 March 2012 from Rs 354 crore a year earlier. A long way indeed for a company that was declared a sick undertaking in 2002.

R.P. Jain: Chairman
Company: DFM Foods Worth
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 149.80
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 74.90
Absolute difference (in Rs crore): 74.90
% change: 100.00
R.P. Jain's DFM foods is known for its pocket-sized snack food, Crax. Promoted by the Delhi Flour Mills, DFM Foods manufactures and sells extruded snack foods — Crax corn rings, Crax namkeens and Natkhat wheat puffs. FY2012 has been a watershed year for Jain, who saw the value of his stake in the company double to Rs 149.80 crore from Rs 74.90 crore in FY2011, with the market applauding the company's performance. Sales turnover rose from Rs 20 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 120 crore in FY2011. What changed Jain's fortunes? A new plant going on stream, expansion to new areas, and the relatively stable price of corn.

M.P. Jalan: Chairman
Company: Ramkrishna Forgings
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 126.28
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 83.40
Absolute difference (in Rs crore: 42.88
% change: 51.41
M.P. Jalan's Ramkrishna Forgings is a critical safety item supplier for screw coupling, bolster suspension, side frame keys and draw gear assembly for railway coaches and wagons. Its clients include Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, among others. Under the leadership of Jalan, the Kolkata-based company saw an impressive spike in its revenues, from Rs 410 crore in FY2011 to Rs 501 crore in FY2012, thanks to a robust pipeline of orders. During the same period, the firm's market cap also swelled by about 45 per cent — from Rs 165.27 crore as on 31 March 2011 to Rs 240 crore as on 30 March 2012.

J.P. Purohit: CMD
Company: Unisys Softwares & Holding Inds
Worth (Rs crore)on 30 March 2012: 119.17
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 67.74
Absolute difference (in Rs crore): 51.42
% change: 75.91
Fiscal 2012 has been a good year for Jagdish Prasad Purohit. His company unisys softwares & holdings industries, which is engaged in software trading, investment in shares and securities and non-banking financial companies' activities, saw its revenue shoot up to Rs 210.36 crore as on 30 March 2012 from Rs 133.05 crore as on 31 March last year. While the numbers may not be big enough compared to the a-listers, they nevertheless show a significant growth. Purohit's company's market cap also shot up by an impressive 76 per cent to Rs 493 crore in FY 2012 from Rs 280.26 crore in the last fiscal.

C.B. Pardhani: Chairman
Company: Mac Charles (India)
Worth (Rs crore) on 30 March 2012: 115.37
Worth (Rs crore) on 31 March 2011: 52.31
Absolute difference (in Rs crore): 63.06
% change: 120.56
Despite The fact that hospitality industry did not do particularly well in fiscal 2012, Mac Charles (India) saw its revenues rise to rs 59 crore from Rs 51 crore in the previous fiscal. And chairman C.B. Pardhanani can take full credit for it. as on 30 March 2012, the chairman's stake was worth Rs 115.37 crore, up from Rs 52.31 crore in fy2011. incorporated in 1979, Pardhanani's company is engaged in running the five-star Le Méridien hotel in Bangalore. The company's market cap rose from Rs 140.07 crore as on 31 March 2011 to Rs 154 crore as on 30 March 2012, showing a moderate uptick of 10.28 per cent.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 30-07-2012)