India’s largest private sector company has “Growth is life” as its tagline. And companies across the world, be they American, European, Japanese or Chinese, are slugging it out to further their investments in the country. Yet, when you look at the track record of some of the largest Indian companies that have dived into businesses that are not their core competence, it’s not reassuring. Of course, it may be too soon to judge in some cases, but many have failed. While India’s growth has been across sectors, aren’t companies primarily driven by a profit motive?
The contradiction lies in the fact that most companies in India are still promoter-driven and are keen on expanding their business empire rather than distribute the surplus cash as dividends. Given that their main business can only expand at a certain pace, they can either resort to acquisitions or diversify into what seems a scalable opportunity. India is, after all, among the fastest-growing economies in the world and there is no better way to expand but by tapping into business segments that hold great growth potential. Associate Editor Krishna Gopalan dissects the diversification moves of India’s business groups to tell us how they have fared and where they seem to be headed. Jack of all trades.
In other stories, I recommend reading our feature on Telibrahma. This Bengaluru-based company develops mobile solutions using ‘augmented reality’. Outside of the mobile operator network, it owns the largest Bluetooth-Wi-fi network with 2.5 million active users every month. If they get their act right, investors in the company are onto something very big. In the markets section, we have a story on Voltas — one of the most admired engineering stocks on the bourses. Now that their script has gone a little awry, should you hold on or sell out? : Feeling the chill