Hinduja Group Is BettingBig On Solar Energy
The saga of the Hinduja Group started in Sind, the cradle of the Indus Valley Civilisation, where more than 5,000 years ago, the human race learnt its first lessons in organised business and banking. Parman and Deepchand Hinduja, a young entrepreneur from the fabled town of Shikarpur, realised early in life that business was all about spotting opportunities, and seizing them wherever they surfaced.
He travelled to Mumbai in 1914, and quickly learnt the ropes of business. The business journey, which began in Sind, entered the international arena with an office in Iran in 1919. Merchant Banking and trade were the twin pillars of the business and the Group remained headquartered in Iran, until 1979 when it moved to Europe.
The Group has expanded and diversified its businesses, with significant social and charitable contributions, under the present leadership of chairman, Srichand, ably supported by his brothers, Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok.
Today, the Hinduja Group has become one of the largest diversified groups in the world spanning over all the continents. The Group employs close to two lakh people and has offices in many key cities of the world and all the major cities in India.
The Hinduja family has always adapted to free-market reforms moving quickly in new markets that have opened, and capitalising on new economy opportunities. As a result, the Hinduja Group has now strategically positioned itself to contribute to old economy sectors such as banking and finance, transport, energy (oil and power) as well as the new economy of technology, media and
Prakash P Hinduja, chairman, Hinduja Group of Companies, Europe, in an interview to Business Rankers said that the group has big plans for energy sector and has set a target to achieve 10,000 megawatt power with focus on renewables.
“We were in the wind power but sold the assets. Now, we have entered the solar sector. The group is doing lot of research to expand the renewable footprint and looking for opportunities. We are studying activities related to solar in states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. In fact, in Rajasthan we had a proposal and that’s how we entered into solar in Rajasthan. Lots of proposals are coming to us and we will pick the right ones to scale up our solar portfolio. We have made a plan for 10,000 megawatt that capacity from Renewables,” said Mr. Hinduja.
He said it would be difficult for the oil prices to rise significantly from the current levels because of the new supplies from Iran and also because of the focus on renewable energy. “The use of the traditional oil is coming down because of the use of smart technologies and new capacity addition is coming from renewable sources. For the first time, Ashok Leyland ran a vehicle in Chennai powered by battery. Once this is adopted on a mass scale, it will reduce the use of oil,” added Mr Hinduja. He also feels that oil prices will remain under pressure as the demand for the traditional fuels will not be same as it was in the past.
Known affectionately as ‘PP’ among his business associates and friends, Prakash P Hinduja said that the demonetization is a positive move by the government. “Now, things will be transparent, which was not the case earlier. Everybody will benefit from this. Every new thing takes time to yield results and so is the case with demonetization. I think Prime Minister Modi is a capable person. He has lot of advisers under him and has got the best of the brains he has selected meticulously. He will do anything which will be good for the economy,” added Mr Hinduja.
On the India-US relations under the Trump regime, he said Trump got lot of support from the Indian community in the US and the US President is going to be a big positive for India. “Trump is a business man. He knows the economy of India very well. And there will be lot of engagements in trade and investments between India and the US. He has great confidence in India and under his tenure, the relationship will grow in a big way,” added Mr Hinduja.
PP and his three brothers Srichand, Gopichand and Ashok, supported by the third generation, have been guiding the diversified global growth of the Hinduja Group.
After completing his university education, PP joined the family business in Tehran, Iran. He later moved to Geneva in Switzerland and took charge of the Group’s European operations. Today, PP is the Chairman of the Hinduja Group in Europe, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Amas Bank (Switzerland) Ltd and a board member of the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce.
PP is married to Kamal, has two sons, Ajay and Ramkrishan, and a daughter, Renuka.
Firm believers in traditional family values, the Hindujas have all along striven to inculcate the family concept in their business enterprises.
Every member of the Group is encouraged to practice the Vedic principles of work: ‘Service with devotion’ and ‘willingness to see fulfilment of one’s self-interest in the active promotion of the interest of the collective’.
Mutual trust, respect, cohesion and co-operation are emphasised as key organisational guidelines. At the same time, sound modern management practices are given primacy within individual companies of the Group and also at the corporate level.
Professionals are allocated independent charge of diversified activities. There is a high premium on healthy internal competition, incentives to executives and employees for outperforming one another, and appreciation of good performance.
The Group has, throughout its history, demonstrated a strong commitment to creating better understanding between the people and the governments of the world. Building amity and co-operation between their host country and their mother country, India, has been an article of faith.