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Emami and Shrachi to move operational headquarters out of Kolkata

Last updated on: March 14, 2013 10:18 IST

Emami and Shrachi to move operational headquarters out of Kolkata

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Sounak Mitra and Shine Jacob in New Delhi

The Rs 3,000-crore (Rs 30 billion) Emami Group, a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) major, and Shrachi Group, a Rs 1,000-crore (Rs 10 billion) real estate player, will soon shift their operational headquarters out of Kolkata, said sources in the know.

This would be another major blow to West Bengal after the pullout of the Tata Nano project.

"Emami is looking to shift its operations to Mumbai, while Shrachi is planning to shift to Delhi. They may still keep the registered office in Kolkata, like many other companies are doing," said multiple sources with knowledge of the development.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Emami

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Emami and Shrachi to move operational headquarters out of Kolkata

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The moves are seen as a fallout of the harsh treatment to the promoters of AMRI Hospital in south Kolkata's Dhakuria, after a fire broke out in December 2011, killing 93 people. AMRI is a joint venture in which Emami holds a 66 per cent stake, while Shrachi has 32 per cent. The remaining two per cent is held by the state government.

After the fire incident, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government filed cases against 14 board members of AMRI - including Emami founders R S Agarwal, R S Goenka and Shrachi's S K Todi.

In one of her speeches, Banerjee even termed the groups as "killer industry." Following this, industry bodies such as Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry  and the Marwari business community in Bengal criticised Banerjee's stand.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Shrachi Group
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Emami and Shrachi to move operational headquarters out of Kolkata

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Thereafter, the rift between the business community and Banerjee seems to have widened further.

In 2012, the state government ordered a detailed investigation into the operations of Bengal NRI Complex Ltd - another real estate joint venture between Shrachi, Emami, Sureka, MKJ, JB and Nahata Groups.

Last week, Banerjee skipped the centenary celebration of The Marwari Relief Society Hospital.

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Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
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Emami and Shrachi to move operational headquarters out of Kolkata

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According to an official source close to the development, following the planned merger of three companies within the Emami portfolio - Zandu Realty, Emami Reality and Emami Infrastructure - the group is likely to shift its operational base to Mumbai.

However, an Emami spokesperson denied any such move. "We are rather surprised to learn about the news of our shifting operations from Kolkata, which is completely speculative and has no basis. We have very recently announced our plans for setting up a cement plan in West Bengal, which reaffirms our commitment to the state."

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Photographs: Courtesy, Emami Realty
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Emami and Shrachi to move operational headquarters out of Kolkata

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The Shrachi group of companies is involved in businesses as diverse as agro-machinery, engineering, real estate, information technology and medical services.

Not denying the development, Shrachi group's MD Rahul Todi said, "We are looking into some new diversification plans. Due to the incident last year, people are talking about Shrachi moving out of Kolkata. A decision will be taken on shifting only after we take a final call on our diversification."

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Photographs: Courtesy, Shrachi
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This is not the first time that a company is shifting base from the eastern metropolis.

While bigwigs such Shaw Wallace, Brook Bond, and Ispat Industries have shifted their corporate headquarters entirely, Britannia and Bata moved their functional base but kept the registered office in Kolkata.

Much of this transpired during the Left regime, with Tata Tea being the last nail when it decided to relocate its operations partially in 2009.


Photographs: Reuters
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