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RPG empire: Sanjiv Goenka carves a new identity

Last updated on: July 15, 2011 12:21 IST

RPG empire: Sanjiv Goenka carves a new identity

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BS Reporters in Mumbai

The split of the Rs 19,000-crore (Rs 190 billion) RPG empire is now complete, with Rama Prasad Goenka's younger son, Sanjiv Goenka, on Wednesday stepping out of the shadow of the umbrella brand that traces its history to 1820.

The move to carve out a corporate identity - the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group - independent of elder brother Harsh Goenka's RPG - is the first public demonstration of a demarcation in ownership of businesses chalked out last year by Rama Prasad Goenka himself.

"The idea is to have an independent corporate identity with a clearer focus so that there is lack of confusion. My brother runs one group, I run another, so it is better to have a distinct identity. That does not mean I do not have the right. I still have the ownership and the right to use RPG," said Sanjiv Goenka.

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Image: Sanjiv Goenka.

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Asked whether this makes Harsh Goenka the true inheritor of RPG, the younger brother said, "How does it matter? At the end of the day, it's one family, same inheritance and same legacy."

The separate corporate identity ostensibly has the family patriarch's blessings. "My father has been involved with the process for the last six months, at different stages of evolution," Sanjiv said. "I did not discuss it with my brother because there was no need to," he added.

"We (brothers) are in touch, though not as often as we used to be in the past but we are in touch," he said.

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Image: RPG building.

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RPG empire: Sanjiv Goenka carves a new identity

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The split has been smooth compared to the some of the acrimonious settlements in the past few years.

Unlike the Reliance group split, where Anil Ambani has no role in his brother's businesses, Sanjiv Goenka will continue to be the vice-chairman of RPG Enterprises, whose chairman is Harsh Goenka.

The father will continue as Chairman Emeritus of RPG Enterprises and the new group. He will also remain as the chairman of CESC and Saregama India.

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Image: Rama Prasad Goenka.

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RPG empire: Sanjiv Goenka carves a new identity

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Unlike in the case of Ambani brothers, there is a no no-compete agreement here. "We can enter each other's businesses, though we may not like to do it, given the emotional bonding," said Sanjiv.

Harsh's group includes tyremaker Ceat, power engineering company KEC International, software company Zensar Technologies and RPG Lifesciences, an engineering consultancy.

RPG Raychem and Spencer's Travel would continue under RPG Enterprises, said officials close to the development.

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Image: Harsh Goenka.

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RPG empire: Sanjiv Goenka carves a new identity

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The cross-holdings have already been untangled. In case of mutual business interests such as CESC, the power utility in Sanjiv's portfolio, and KEC International, the transmission company in Harsh's portfolio, transactions will be on commercial terms.

With businesses clearly carved out, major growth plans have been made keeping in mind the newly discovered motto - Growing Legacies - which appears beneath the new corporate logo designed by Suhel Seth and Law & Kenneth.

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Image: Ceat Tyres.

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RPG empire: Sanjiv Goenka carves a new identity

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The RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group is present in five sectors through its 10 companies that have a revenue in excess of Rs 9,000 crore (Rs 90 billion) and a market capitalisation of Rs 4,500 crore (Rs 45 billion).

The companies in the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group are: CESC, Noida Power and Integrated Coal Mining, Phillips Carbon Black, Spencer's Retail, MusicWorld Retail, Au Bon Pain Cafe India, Saregama India, Open Media Network and CESC Properties.

In the next five years, the group aims to have assets of Rs 50,000 crore (Rs 500 billion)and a revenue of Rs 25,000 crore (Rs 250 billion).

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Image: Harsh Goenka.

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"We will invest Rs 35,000 crore (Rs 350 billion)during this period, more than Rs 31,000 crore (Rs 310 billion) in power, Rs 2,500 crore (Rs 25 billion)in carbon black and the rest across sectors," Sanjiv said.

Power is a business that Sanjiv brought to the RPG fold with the acquisition of CESC in 1989, five years after he joined the family business.

Back then, the RPG group comprised Phillips Carbon Black, Asian Cables, Agarpara Jute and Murphy India, with a combined turnover of just about Rs 80 crore (Rs 800 million).

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Image: Bullish on power.

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Next-gen Goenka to join family business soon

Similar on the lines of the Ambanis and the Mallyas, the next generation of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group too is ready to take over the reigns of the family business.

Making his succession plans clear, Sanjiv Goenka said that his son Shashwat Goenka will join the family business May next year.

"After completing his studies, he will join the group by May next year," confirmed Sanjiv Goenka.

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Image: Shashwat Goenka.

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The younger scion of the Goenka family is currently pursuing his graduation in finance, marketing and management from The Wharton School under the University of Pennsylvania.

Even the tagline and the logo of the company has the flavour of a legacy being passed on to the next generation.

 While the new tagline is "Growing Legacies", the logo Dhanuchakra personifies "speed, progressiveness and focus".

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Image: A rich legacy.

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When asked about his interest areas in family business, Shashwat said, "My subject is finance. I have heard a lot about the power sector from my father. So, naturally I have an affiliation towards it and want to take it forward."

However, Sanjiv Goenka indicated that it might not be a cakewalk for Shashwat. "It would be a difficult task for him, as the space has become immensely competitive from the time I joined way back in 1981," he said.

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Image: Affiliation towards power.

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Harrisons to be split between Goenkas

The ownership of Harrisons Malayalam (HML), which has been in the works since last year, has finally been sorted out.

HML was not included during the time of separation of the Rs 19,000 crore (Rs 190 billion) business empire.

"It has been demarcated as to which plantation would go with which group. The company will be restructured into two strategic business units first, while both will eventually become two separate companies," said Sanjiv Goenka.

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Image: Tea plantation.

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After the rebranding of the Sanjiv Goenka group of companies' announcement, the HML stock rose 0.14 per cent to Rs 73.65, after an intra-day high of Rs 74.85.

The Rs 300-crore (Rs 3 billion) Kochi-based Harrisons Malayalam is one of the pioneers in corporate farming in the country and runs plantations for tea, rubber, cocoa, coffee and spices.

The company's operations are spread over 20 estates, eight rubber factories and 12 tea factories along with a number of blending and processing units in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

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Image: Harrisons Malayalam.

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Clarifying the process of sharing a pie each in HML, Goenka said, "The division of the two SBUs is a lengthy procedure in which some plantations will be owned by Harsh and some by me. It would be two mirror-image companies with no change in holdings."

HML, which is the largest rubber producer in the country and has a history of more than 150 years, was acquired by the RPG Group in the 1980s.

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Image: Rubber plantation.

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Recently, it was evaluating options of buying about 10,000 acres of farmland for $112 million in Africa.

The company cultivates on more than 14,000 hectares, producing about 9,000 tonne of rubber, 20,000 tonne of tea and 25,000 tonne of pineapple per year.

During 2010-11, its income rose 12 per cent to Rs 370.8 crore as against Rs 331.5 crore (Rs 3.31 billion) during the corresponding period last fiscal, while the profit was down 58 per cent from Rs 12.36 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 5.25 crore in 2010-11.


Image: Co cultivates 25,000 tonne of pineapple per year.

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