Biyani's Bazaar

kishore_biyani.jpg If you’ve ever been to a Big Bazaar, Pantaloons or Central then you have Kishore Biyani to thank for it. He’s the guy behind India’s first wave of retailing. I bought the book for Rs. 99 at Big Bazaar (go figure) and thought I might gain some insight into his empire. Unfortunately that was not the case. The book is more of an “awww-shucks” I got into retail and now I’m big. I was surprised he did not once mention the BMC or any government agency he might have run into while building his empire. As the title reads, “It Happened in India” – but only with the help of political “friends.”

However, while reading the book I learned:
– The Ruia Group led by Atul Ruia is the owner of Phoenix Mills (not Shyam and Ravi Ruia of Essar)
– Kishore never visited a Wal-Mart until 2002 (What the fu!@#$, that’s like building a car and never having stepped into one)

Best quote – “Working with Kishore is much like drinking’s an acquired taste.”

Mittal & Son

mittal_bw_cover.png Yeah, another cover story from BusinessWeek. The last few months BusinessWeek has had some very interesting topics. Although the Mittal’s are from India, it’s one area where Arcelor Mittal doesn’t have much of a presence. That could be attributed to the fact that his brothers (Pramod and Vinod) are based in India and might have a brotherly pact in place. The article focuses on Aditya’s rise to the 2nd in power at Arcelor Mittal and how he proved his skills versus just being given the title because his dad runs the company.

I actually ran into Aditya at a wedding back in the summer of 2002 and I was shocked at how unassuming and down to earth the guy was. He didn’t come out and say, “Yeah, I’m a Mittal”, we had a 10 minute conversation at the bar and he really made me put the pieces together and then I finally asked “is your last name Mittal”, that’s when i realized who he was. And to further solidify it, when he went to pay for drinks, he slapped down his credit card – an Amex Centurion Card aka “black amex.”

The Indian KKK

logo_goldmansachs.gifNo, i’m not talking about the Ku Klux Klan (aka jackasses) but Kothari, Kotak and Kampani. Over the past 18 months they each have sold their joint venture stakes.

– Dec 2005, Hemendra Kothari sold out to Merrill Lynch for USD 500 million

– March 2006, Uday Kotak sold out to Goldman Sachs for USD 74 million

– Feb 2007, Nimesh Kampani sold out to Morgan Stanley for USD 500 million

Do these guys know something we don’t about the markets? My guess is the investment banks pushed for the separation so they could start their own wholly owned offices in India. In the process some of these guys made out like bandits for being in the right place at the right time.

Forbes 40 Richest Indians

Forbes has come out with its list of the 40 richest Indians. It has the usual suspects: Laxmi Mittal, Ambani’s, Azim Premji, etc… However, the list just seems to be thrown together with no clear methodology. It appears they picked the names most thrown around in the media, checked to see if they were part of a publicly traded company and reported their share holding pattern, jeez anyone can do that. By including Laxmi Mittal on the list they must mean Indians anywhere in the world, b/c Laxmi does not reside in India. If that’s the case, then I’m not sure how they could have friggin’ missed people like Vinod Khosla of Kleiner Perkins, Desh Deshpande of Sycamore Networks, or Rajvir Singh of Cerent (which was sold to Cisco for USD 6.9 billion in 1999). This article would have been more interesting had they included the myriad of Indian politicians that could have made the list. Yes, it’s tough to nail down those figures but then again that’s the job of a Forbes Magazine – hard hitting facts, not fluff. Full list

Richest Indians via stockholdings

This was in the paper a couple days ago listing the top 10 Richest Indians based on their Indian stockholdings as of Dec 31, 2005. This list is not comprehensive as most of India’s wealth is still hidden (locally known as “black money”) and very difficult to track. It makes the books of Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, etc… seem like a simple 2 hour audit.
1. Mukesh Ambani – Rs. 60,800 crore (approx USD $15.2 billion) Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)
2. Azim Premji – Rs. 53,800 crore Outsourcing powerhouse Wipro
3. Sunil Mittal – Rs. 29,900 crore Bharti Tele-Ventures which runs the largest GSM network in India under the brand Airtel
4. Tulsi Kanti – Rs. 18,000 crore Suzlon Energy a wind power company based in Pune
5. Shiv Nadar – Rs. 15,400 crore HCL Group which controls both HCL Infosystems and HCL Technologies
6. Kumar Mangalam Birla – Rs. 12,600 crore Chairman of the Adiyta Birla Group whose core business is cement
7. Anil Ambani – Rs. 11,800 crore This only includes Reliance Capital and Reliance Energy, with the upcoming IPO of Reliance Infocomm he will easily move up the list.
8. Dilip Sanghvi – Rs. 9,000 crore At first glance, I thought one of my uncles was sand bagging his wealth but no such luck, my uncle assures me it’s some other Dilip Sanghvi. He’s right this Dilip Sanghvi is head of Sun Pharma.
9. Naresh Goyal – Rs. 7,900 crore JetAirways
10. Rahul Bajaj – Rs. 7,600 crore Bajaj scooters. He’s actually worth much more as Bajaj has one of the largest corporate treasuries in the country, estimated at over Rs. 20,000 crore.