Hindujas eye hotel industry, strategic partner for IndusInd Bank

By Venkatachari Jagannathan, IANS,

Chennai : The Hinduja group is open to strategic partnership for its $608-million IndusInd Bank, even as it has its eyes set on India’s hospitality, realty and healthcare business, a member of the London-based family has said.

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“If we find a strategic investor for IndusInd Bank, we will consider partnership,” said Dheeraj G. Hinduja, co-chair of the group’s flagship company Ashok Leyland. “Our family has only invested in the bank,” Hinduja told IANS.

He said his family was not a promoter of the bank. “A new management is in place under Romesh Sobti. He is managing director and chief executive. We have a new business plan. We will wait and see how to proceed further.”

IndusInd Bank is not at the top of the pecking order of domestic, new generation private banks and its takeover of non-banking finance company Ashok Leyland Finance to expand its retail business did not yield the expected results.

At the 15th annual general meeting of IndusInd International Holdings, the parent of the banking company, it was decided that the 148-branch IndusInd would expand its financial services in strategic markets, including the Middle East, through tie-ups and buy-outs.

In the realty business, the group is also to develop real estate, both residential and commercial properties, in Hyderabad and Bangalore, said Hinduja. “Our the real estate plans in Bangalore has been finalised. We are considering options for the land bank we have in Andhra Pradesh.”

The Hindujas, who already run a landmark hospital in Mumbai, are also planning to expand their healthcare operations and enter the hospitality industry in the coming months. “In six months, we will start two speciality hospitals. Our focus will be to create the best hospitals and not on expanding the chain,” Hinduja said.

One hospital is slated for Chennai.

The other major focus areas of the group include entertainment, media and outsourcing, even as it has revived its film production business, with “Teen Patti”, starring Amitabh Bachchan, slated for release this December.

Hinduja said the group’s cable television company, IndusInd Media and Communications, is also poised to grow by offering value-added services, while the 14,000-employee strong outsourcing company, Hinduja Ventures, already ranks among the top 10 in India.