India's Aditya Birla founding family boosts investment

By Rashmi Kumar

The family behind India’s Aditya Birla Group plans to invest $17 billion globally, as it looks to double its revenues over the next four years.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the family business whose operations include metals, retail and producing insulators, is looking to achieve $65 billion (€47.7 billion) in sales by 2015, up from its current $35 billion, said a company spokeswoman.

“Birla set this ambitious target last year, which will see all the companies under the group’s umbrella scaling up operations. We want every sector of our conglomerate to be ranked second or third globally,” she told CampdenFB.

The Mumbai-based company, which gets 60% of its revenues from markets outside India, plans to invest a big chunk in developing its aluminium and cement divisions. The spokeswoman said the group will invest $2 billion in cement and $7 billion in its metals business – Aditya Birla Group is one of the world’s biggest producers of copper and aluminium.

“The investments will be made internationally as part of our ongoing process to increase capacity of our minerals and coal blocks. Kumar has already spearheaded three acquisitions this year to expand our chemicals, carbon and pulp business,” added the spokeswoman.

The great-grandson of the company founder Ghanshyamdas Birla, Kumar took the helm of the business following the death of his father Aditya in 1995.

Kumar transformed the group from its then $2 billion revenue to $35 billion in 2010.

The Birla group’s expansion plans follow similar efforts by other Indian family businesses, which are increasingly looking to expand internationally, thanks to growing confidence in their ability to compete with the best.

Consumer goods giant Godrej Group, headed by Adi Godrej, is focusing on Africa and Latin America, while motorcycle maker Hero MotoCorp announced plans to invest $1 billion in parts of Asia and Central America.

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