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Biz as usual in Chennai: Highfliers of 2023

TVS Group found its successors holding on to the reins of their ventures effectively by charting out expansion plans in the automotive sphere - from vehicle exports to auto components

Biz as usual in Chennai: Highfliers of 2023

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CHENNAI: The city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem witnessed a flurry of activity across the board with shake-downs, consolidation, takeovers, and fundraising initiatives marking Chennai’s corporate landscape.

The high-rollers included Mithun Sancheti, whose CaratLane, a jewellery e-tailer was valued at Rs 17,000 crore in August 2023. Sancheti exited the omnichannel business after Titan bought out the young entrepreneur’s 27.18 per cent stake for Rs 4,621 crore.

The Murugappa family also buried the hatchet with Valli Arunachalam and withdrew from a legal rigmarole, ending the prolonged dispute that came to the fore following the demise of Valli’s father MV Murugappan. In a media release, the family announced undertaking actions in accordance with the family arrangement, the terms of which were recorded by way of a memorandum on August 20, 2023.

The out-of-court amicable settlement saw the group’s Gen Next unveiling growth strategies for companies like Coromandel International, EID Parry, Tube Investments, Carborundum Universal, Cholamandalam Investment. The group began eyeing new ventures in mobility and e-vehicles too.

Family-owned business TVS Group found its successors holding on to the reins of their ventures effectively by charting out expansion plans in the automotive sphere — from vehicle exports to auto components. Following a prolonged absence of a TVS group company from the IPO circuit, TVS Supply Chain Solutions made a stellar debut on the bourses last year. The oversubscribed IPO was steered by R Dinesh, who took over as chairman in August, rejigging its board by onboarding additional Independent Directors, K Ananth Krishnan and Narayan K Seshadri.

The integrated supply chain solutions provider also announced the sale of Circle Express, through its UK subsidiary RICO Logistics, at 2.1 million pound sterling (approx Rs 21.32 crore).

Last year, top companies such as TVS Motor, Sundaram Clayton, TVS Housing, Lucas TVS, Delphi TVS, Sundram Fasteners, Wheels India, Brakes India, TVS Tyres, Sundaram Finance and Sundaram Home Finance independently unleashed their growth strategies, building their corporate identities even while leveraging on the strong brand equity of TVS through publicity and marketing channels.

In the NBFC space, Shriram Finance, which celebrated 25 years in 2023, emerged as the last player in the country post-merger of companies. Meanwhile, post-public issue, Tamilnad Mercantile Bank has planned an expansion of its branch network pan-India.

In healthcare, Kauvery Hospitals acquired the newly-launched Fortis Hospital at Vadapalani in June. It intends to go for an IPO in the next 3-4 years. Dr Chandrakumar, founder-chairman, Kauvery Hospitals, said, “We plan to touch 3,000 bed-mark by 2025 with a network of 15 hospitals spread across 7 cities in south India, Tamil Nadu and Bengaluru being the focus-regions, with a total capex outlay of Rs 1,000 crore.” MGM Healthcare, another expanding group, acquired Fortis Malar hospital at Adyar.

Hospitality wise, Crowne Plaza, a 287-room five-star hotel shut shop as its promoters, the Goyals (garment exporters) struck a deal with Baashyaam Constructions, which plans to build luxury apartments in its place. Incidentally, Le Royal Meridien at Guindy, got a fresh lease of life and resumed operations recently with the National Company Law Tribunal reversing the insolvency process of Appu Hotels and transferring it to the original promoters.

In the cement sector, Ramco Cement ramped up capacity. Its competitor India Cements embarked on a turnaround plan by engaging global consultants to recommend measures for refurbishing some of its vintage plants.

On the commercial vehicles front, Ashok Leyland, celebrated its platinum jubilee year in 2023 besides announcing plans for the e-vehicle segment.

Software as a Services (SaaS) unicorn Zoho in September 2023, surpassed the 100 million users mark across its over 55 business applications. Sridhar Vembu’s closely-held Zoho also became the first bootstrapped SaaS enterprise to reach this milestone. Other leading corporations such as Apollo Hospitals, MRF, Chemplast Sanmar and Rane focused on strengthening their core business.

Hemamalini Venkatraman
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