25 January 2020



Realty raider


For one whose first name spells progress in Sanskrit, the recent land deal with the Tatas could well mean a coup de etat of sorts for Vikas Oberoi, Chairman and Managing Director, Oberoi Realty. The billionaire owner of the Mumbai based real estate firm managed to secure 25 acres of land owned by Tata Steel for Rs 1,155 crore after becoming the highest bidder in an e-auction. The deal involving the land parcel at Borivali offers a business potential about 4.4 - 4.5 million square feet of development. The word is that the prevailing rate in that area for any regular developer is anywhere between Rs 12,000 and Rs 13,000 per sq. ft. The extremely low profile businessman is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, an avid reader, a keen traveller with a passion for flying and skiing. He has previously displayed tremendous business acumen with his acquisition strategy. It was his patience which saw his company preserve cash during the property boom of 2005-08, when most of the companies aggressively bought land and piling huge debt onto their books.  Three years ago his company became the second largest real estate company by market capitalisation, overtaking Unitech. Oberoi’s firm is focused on premium real estate developments in Mumbai and manages a portfolio spanning across residential, office space, retail, hospitality and social infrastructure projects.  For someone who once said “I am in this business to create value, and we will make good acquisitions", the Tata Steel land is a good long term buy notwithstanding the decline in cash reserves. As he himself said, “It is a clean title. It is from Tata. So you cannot get any better from the credibility point of view.”




Behemoth builder


Larsen & Toubro’s order book conveyor belt shows no sign of slowing down – the latest being its recent bagging of Rs 1,009 crore worth of fresh contracts across various business segments like buildings, factories and transportation infrastructure. The work includes building residential towers in Bengaluru, construction of a residential township in Gujarat. The engineering behemoth has 21 different business units, and posted net sales of Rs 60,873 crore in the financial year 2013. If Larsen & Toubro’s is today at the top of the pantheon of Indian construction firms it owes in large measure to AM Naik, Chairman, L&T. The 71-year old has been largely instrumental in transforming the company into an Indian multinational, that is very focused on creating value for its shareholders. The result is seen across India’s vast landscape through projects L&T has successfully implemented such as metro rail stations, airports, power transmission substations, solar plants, water supply, cement plants, transport systems, bridges, roads, ports, nuclear plants, ship building, hydro electric projects and buildings, to even supplying critical components for ISRO’s rocket programme or building the country’s first nuclear submarine. There will be any number of people who would say without any fear of contradiction that the company has played a crucial role in nation building and in being a national confidence generator. As a leading construction sector consultant said recently, “It is a company that towers above all others. L&T is No 1 to No 10!” Anilbhai also deserves some credit for his company’s giant leap. 


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