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Family-controlled conglomerate loses out on European expansion

The Hinduja Group, controlled by the Hinduja family, has had its plan to acquire the banking unit of KBC Group blocked by Belgian regulators.

This was announced by KBC Group but no reason was given as to why the deal was blocked. When contacted, a spokesperson for the Hinduja Group said they were waiting for an official notification from the regulators and refused to comment. However, there is much press speculation that the deal did not go through due to a lack of transparency in the Hinduja Group’s financial statements.

The London-based conglomerate, controlled by second-generation members of the Hinduja family, announced last year that it has agreed to buy KBL European Private Bankers, a part of the KBC Group, for $1.9 billion.  

KBC said in a statement: “The CSSF (regulators) reached this decision based on application of the criteria set out in the law governing the financial sector and after consulting with the other competent authorities.”

Headed by Srichand Hinduja along with his three brothers Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok, the Hinduja Group has widespread operations ranging from automobiles to private banking. The group wanted to purchase KBL as a part of its strategy to expand its private banking operations in Europe. It currently controls Hinduja Bank in Geneva, Switzerland and Indusland Bank in India.

The group was founded in 1914 in Mumbai, India by Parmanand Hinduja. It moved its headquarters to Iran in 1919 and later shifted to London in 1979. Worth over $40 billion by market capitalisation, the family is known in India as controllers of the country’s second-largest vehicle manufacturer Ashok Leyland. 

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