B. K. Birla wants daughter Manjushsri Khaitan to take active interest in the company

Basant Kumar Birla, Chairman of group flagship Kesoram Industries, said on Thursday that the company board had approved a Rs. 1,125-crore expansion plan that would increase the capacity of Kesoram's cement business from 7.25 million tonnes to 9.75 million tonnes annually.

Stating this at Kesoram's 91st annual general meeting, the nonagenarian industrialist told reporters later that he wanted his daughter Manjushsri Khaitan to take an active interest in the company. “They have said that they will not take over while I am alive, but on my demise, my grandson Kumar Mangalam Birla will takeover as chairman and I would like Manjushree to be the vice-chairman of Kesoram.”

He ruled out any possibility of shifting the headquarters from here (like group company Century Enka) saying that Kesoram would continue to be based here and his daughter would work from here with advise from Kumar.

While Mr. Birla had already announced his succession plan giving most of his businesses to his grandson, today's [Thursday's] development was seen as slight shift, as for the first time Mrs. Khaitan, a director of Kesoram, was assigned by her father to address the shareholders on his behalf towards the end of the meeting.

He said that he would like the promoters' stake of all group companies to touch 50 per cent.

While the stake in four companies was around 40 per cent each, in two others it was 30 per cent.

It may be mentioned that over the last few years, the promoters' stake, is being increased. As per Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) regulations, stake in a company can be increased by up to five per cent annually through the creeping acquisition route.

On two group companies, Mangalam Timber and Mangalam Cement, the family patriarch said that he was keen on amalgamating the two companies to take care of the future needs of the weaker company, Mangalam Timber, which had a see-saw bottom line, but the directors of the profit-making company were not too keen.

Mrs. Khaitan said in her speech that Kesoram's turnover had crossed the Rs. 500-crore mark for the first time in 2010-11, which she felt was no mean achievement in present times.

Company sources said that Kesoram was now implementing an expansion plan at its tyre division with an investment of Rs. 900 crore.

The Vasavdatta cement section in Karnataka is the largest single-location plant in India now and will get to see an expansion of its clinker production capacity by 1.7 million tonnes with an 18 MW captive power plant after this plan.

Expansion plan is also afoot at the cement unit in Maharashtra and these plants would be commissioned by September 2012.

Keywords: Kesoram Industries

More In: Companies | Business