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Ambanis will find a way out: Kamath

May 10, 2005 14:46 IST
Last Updated: May 10, 2005 15:41 IST

Amid speculations that negotiations between the warring Ambani brothers have resumed after the stormy board meeting of flagship company Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank chief and family friend K V Kamath on Tuesday exuded hopes that the two siblings would "find a way out".

Kamath, asked to evolve a settlement formula by Dhirubhai's widow Kokilaben in December last year, however declined to comment on how close the settlement was and said that every family issue that he had seen over the last three decades had finally been settled.

The Reliance Ownership Issue

On whether the two brothers were communicating more or less, Kamath said at "Walk the Talk" programme on NDTV "that process is on... my role is to get people to communicate. Both most certainly talk to me and I talk to them and that process continues."

Asked if the settlement could be at a great cost to the company and shareholders, he said, "Here I don't see that necessarily happening. Here we have two very matured people. Two very intelligent and capable individuals and I am sure that they will ensure that (settlement at a high cost) does not happen."

Kamath said there was always a question of 'ownership" in the family run businesses. "But not in the sense I own this, you own that. But in the sense that you are part of the company. Money is only one part of it."

He, however, conceded that 'ego' could be part of it. Kamath had few weeks back submitted a settlement formula including valuation of the group companies, which sources said became the basis of negotiations between Anil and his elder brother Mukesh.

Asked whether the friction between the two brothers was a result of the change in leadership orbit created by the death of Dhirubhai Ambani, Kamath said, "I would look at it as something the family has to settle".

On whether Dhirubhai overlooked the ownership issue and should have settled it during his lifetime, he said, "probably God didn't give him time... But ultimately Dhirubhai's legacy would help settle the issue."

The ICICI Bank chairman said Reliance as a group was a very professionally managed organisation and those depths of professional management would remain.

"There will be friction when you change the orbit. Either people will derail you, people will find something wrong with you and so on... (you must) keep heart," he said.

But Reliance as a company was in a steady state in most of the businesses and there was no orbit change as far as the businesses were concerned, he said.

"Reliance is a very large business. The stakes are very high and these things (the settlement) take time," he added.  

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