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Sahara: what the numbers say

By Suveen K Sinha in New Delhi
November 24, 2005 09:08 IST

The ubiquitous Sahara India Parivar, with its cricket sponsorship, airline, high-profile real estate ventures and the high life of its owners and their friends, has created plenty of dazzle. Here is a look at the group through the less glamorous prism of numbers.

Figures culled from a documentary presentation by the group, made through a management consultancy firm, and past annual reports show that the group's three businesses of aviation, residual non banking and real estate had combined sales of Rs 2,956.3 crore (Rs 29.56 billion) and net worth of Rs 1,739.2 crore (Rs 17.39 billion) in 2003-04.

The first two businesses together earned profit after tax of Rs 45.7 crore (Rs 457 million), while real estate ended the year with a loss after tax of Rs 173.5 crore (Rs 1.73 billion).

Air Sahara expects to end this financial year with passenger revenue of Rs 2228.3 crore (Rs 22.28 billion), cargo revenue of Rs 88.3 crore (Rs 883 million) and a net loss of Rs 17.5 crore (Rs 175 million). It made a profit of Rs 31.7 crore (Rs 317 million) last year, when the net margin stood at 2 per cent, compared to zero in the previous year and -4 in the year before.

Sahara India Commercial Co-operation Ltd, the group's real estate arm handling the Amby Valley, Sahara City Homes, and Sahara Residential & Commercial Projects, ended 2003-04 with a loss after tax of Rs 173.5 crore (Rs 1.73 billion).

It has sucked in investments worth Rs 3702.5 crore (Rs 37.02 billion).

Sahara India Financial Corporation Ltd, the residuary non-banking company known for raising small daily and monthly deposits from everyone including small shopkeepers to daily wage earners, raised Rs 5,929 crore (Rs 59.29 billion) from the public in 2003-04 and Rs 4,949 crore (Rs 49.49 billion) in the year before. It has 61 million depositors.

The company estimates its cost of funds, including interest cost, to be within 8 per cent a year. Of the Rs 7,774.6 crore (Rs 77.75 billion) invested, it claims to have no speculative investment and less than 1 per cent placed in listed equity shares.

The net profit figures are Rs 44.72 crore (RS 447.2 million) for 2003-04 and Rs 6.11 crore (Rs 61.1 million) for the year before.

According to the SIFCL's annual report of 2003-04, it was engaged in a dispute with income tax authorities over a demand of Rs 1,111.82 crore (Rs 11.12 billion).

Sahara spokesperson Abhijit Sarkar, responding through e-mail, said the profit after tax of Air Sahara in 2004-05 was Rs 38.37 crore (Rs 383.7 million) and the net margin 2.17 per cent.

Besides, he said, the SICCL's profit before tax in 2003-04 (a figure not given in the documentary presentation) was Rs 5.9 crore (Rs 59 million).
Suveen K Sinha in New Delhi
Source: source