BK Birla reiterates Kumar, Manjushree succession plan

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 27, 2008 05:29 hrs

Basant Kumar Birla, the chairman of BK Birla Group flagship company Kesoram Industries, on Thursday reiterated the company would be shared by his grandson Kumar Mangalam Birla and his daughter Manjushree Khaitan.

AV Birla Group head Kumar Mangalam Birla, who is not on the Kesoram board now, is expected to take the chairman's seat in the company with Khaitan assuming the vice chairperson's role.

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"I have spoken to Kumar but he is very busy and wants the succession to be decided later. He wants me to continue for some more time. There is no question of splitting the company and both can be actively associated with it in positions that we will think of later," BK Birla said on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of Kesoram Industries here on Thursday.

Eighty-eight-year-old BK said that the succession plan would come into effect when he turns 90.

Over the last year, the BK Birla Group has been subject to much speculation with the Birla patriarch expressing his intent to divide his wealth among his children and grandchildren. BK's present stand assumes significance as uncertainty hung over his succession plan. "After me, it's up to Kumar and Manjushree to see how they want to run the company," he said.

BK also elaborated on the expansion plans of Kesoram's two main divisions-cement and tyres. The expansion, for an investment of Rs 2,200 crore, is expected to be completed by the end of this fiscal. Of this, Rs 600 crore will come from internal accruals with the rest from banks and financial institutions. The company, at its AGM, passed an enabling resolution to borrow up to Rs 3,000 crore.

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Kesoram is looking at increasing its tyre production capacity to 734 tonne per day from 252 tonne per day now by the end of the third quarter of 2009-10.

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"We are currently in the process of setting up three separate tyre units at Haridwar, all of which would be commissioned by December 2009," BK said. In April, Kesoram had said it was expanding its cement capacity to 9.5 million tonne from 6 million tonne now.

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