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Young brigade in charge at Siyaram

March 20, 2007 09:17 IST

The next generation of the Poddar family, the promoters of the Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion) Siyaram group, is taking charge.

Pawan Poddar's son Avnish and late Pramod Poddar's son Gaurav have joined Siyaram Silk Mills, the Rs 450 crore (Rs 4.5 billion) textile company.

Rajeev has joined his father Arvind Poddar in the group's flagship company Balkrishna Industries, which makes tractor tyres, and Vinod Poddar's son Rahul has joined Govind Rubber, the Rs 280 crore (Rs 2.8 billion) rickshaw tyre maker.

The group's history dates back to 1940 when brothers Dhara Prasad, Mahavir Prasad and Ram Prasad started a rubber factory in south Mumbai's Dockyard Road.

Ramesh, Pawan, Pramod and Kishan are Dharaprasad's sons, of whom Pramod is no more. Suresh, Vinod and Arvind are Mahavirprasad's sons, of whom the first is no more.

The textile business was launched in 1978. Ramprasad's family separated from the business in 1998, walking away with Vinakaya Synthetics.

The Poddars recently restructured the managements of the three group companies to give clearer responsibility to the two family branches. While the textile business is largely managed by the sons of Dharaprasad Poddar, the rubber businesses are in the hands of the two sons of late Mahavirprasad Poddar.

However, both branches of the family continue to hold equal stakes in all the three group companies. The promoter holding stands at 65 per cent for Siyaram, 54 per cent for Balkrishna and 55 per cent for Govind Rubber.

Said Ramesh Poddar, vice-president and managing director of Siyaram Silk Mills, "Although business responsibilities have been divided to give the businesses a clear direction and focus, we remain a close-knit joint family and there are no plans at present to separate the family holdings."

The Poddars have also drawn up an expansion plan for their textile businesses, while Balkrishna Industries sold a 7.43 per cent stake to private equity firms Evercore and Chryscapital last year to fund its expansion plans.

While the family is not planning to get into any new businesses as yet, Poddar did not rule out the possibility of this e group getting into new businesses at a later date.

"We are focussing on expanding and consolidating our existing businesses and will leave new business planning to the younger generation. They will be free to run the business as they wish," he said.

However, he clarified that these are early days yet and the youngster will have to prove themselves first. "All of them are joining the business at trainee levels to gain shop floor experience and only then will they move up," Poddar said.

Raja Poddar who joined Balkrishna around year and a half ago is currently managing the firm's factories and marketing functions, while and Anurag and Rahul who joined the business recently are still undergoing training.
Gayatri Ramanathan in Mumbai