Lead Story

Jack of all trades

Why diversification has been a painful exercise for large Indian conglomerates

Circa 2006. On a cold December morning, an ebullient Sunil Mittal announces the national launch of Bharti AXA Life Insurance. “Our in-depth understanding of the Indian market clubbed with the experience of setting up a robust network will be leveraged to build and grow the joint venture,” he says. The fledgling insurance business has “aggressive plans” for India and given the telecom giant’s reach, Bharti AXA’s focus on “mass market growth” seems on target.