Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Sep 29, 2004
Pilani Investments' AGM not to be an all-Birla affair
Kolkata , Sept. 28
PILANI Investments & Industries Ltd, the holding company for several Birla business organisations, is all set to witness an unusual annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday.
For the first time, probably, it would not be an all-Birla affair as it has been in the past. The reason is that the 25 per cent stake held by the MP Birla Group has now changed hands and is being held by Mr Rajendra Singh Lodha.
MP Birla Group's stake in Pilani Investments & Industries Ltd is held by Punjab Produce & Co Ltd, an unlisted company, and Mr Lodha is its chairman. According to sources, Mr Lodha is likely to be present at the meeting as a representative of the MP Birla Group.
Despite his 25 per cent stake, Mr Lodha would be a minority shareholder as the other major Birla houses together hold 60 per cent in Pilani. While the GP Birla Group holds 25 per cent, BK Birla Group holds 24 per cent.
They are followed by SK Birla Group with eight per cent and KK Birla Group with five per cent. The remaining 13 per cent is scattered among members of the larger Birla family.
Pilani Investments & Industries is a listed company but, as the shareholding pattern suggests, it is a closely held organisation. Even senior executives of the Birla companies could not say how old the organisation is.
It holds strategic investments in several Birla companies some of which are true blue-chips such as Grasim Industries, Hindalco, Indian Rayon, Zuari Industries and Jay Shree Tea.
The net worth of Pilani Investments, going by the market capitalisation of the stakes it holds in the several Birla companies, should be around Rs 1,000 crore.
The AGM is likely to be another major face-off between the Birlas and Mr Lodha after the Birla Corporation AGM. Both sides are tight-lipped about the meeting, which has gained significance in the last three months.
The Birlas have already announced that they are not eager to buy MP Birla Group's 25 per cent stake in Pilani Investment. "We are not worried because we hold the majority stake," said an executive of another Birla company.
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