Sunday, 14 April 2013

Doyen of Indian industry R.P. Goenka dead

Kolkata, April 14 (IANS) RPG Group founder Rama Prasad Goenka, a doyen of Indian industry and business titan of eastern India, died Sunday morning at his South Kolkata home after a long battle with cancer.
He was 83, and is survived by wife Sushila and two sons Harsh Vardhan and Sanjiv - both leading industrialists.
While Harsh is now RPG Enterprises chairman, his younger brother is the chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, after the tycoon amicably divided his entire business between them about three years ago.
Rama Prasad Goenka (known as RP) established the RPG Enterprises in 1979, and his undivided business empire encompassed - CESC, Noida Power Co Ltd, RPG Raychem, Spencer, CEAT Tyers, Saregama India (previously Gramophone Co of India), KEC International, Phillips Carbon Black , Fujitsu ICIM (now Zensar Technologies), Harrisons Malayalam, Firstsource Solutions Ltd and RPG Life Sciences,
The former Rajya Sabha MP's business interests included power, electricity transmission engineering, coal mining, tyres, carbon black, retail, entertainment, plantations, to pharmaceuticals and IT.
Regarded as "takeover king", the Presidency and Harvard graduate began RPG Enterprises with four companies - Phillips Carbon Black, Asian Cables, Agarpara Jute and Murphy India - as constituents, with an annual turnover of around Rs.105 crore.
In the 1980s, he made a series of acquisitions, the first being tyre company CEAT in 1981.
The group then went on to acquire Searle India, now RPG Life Sciences 1983), Gramophone Company, now Saregama India (1985), Harrisons Malayalam (1988), and finally CESC and Spencer (1989).
The takeover spree of RPG created a national media buzz.
Born March 1, 1930, into one of the oldest business families established in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1820 by his ancestor Ramdutt Goenka, who moved from Dundlod in Rajasthan to do business with the English East India Co, RP received his training from his grandfather Sir Badridas Goenka who was chairman of Imperial Bank of India and FICCI.
The industrialist, who had been close to then prime minister Indira Gandhi, was a Rajya Sabha member between 2000 and 2006.
Goenka, a past president of the Federation of Indian Chambers Commerce and Industry, received from the Emperor of Japan "The Order Of the Sacred Treasure Gold and Silver Star".
In 2010, the RPG Group patriarch declared a formal split and division of assets between his two sons, who were running all the companies within the umbrella brand.
The next year, RPG's younger son Sanjiv launched a new group corporate identity RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group for the companies controlled by him.
The new group includes CESC, Philips Carbon Black, Spencers and Music World, Saregama India, and infrastructure entity CESC Properties Ltd.
The Harsh-controlled companies are tyre maker Ceat, power transmission company KEC International, RPG Life Sciences and Zensar Technologies, an IT and BPO services company, among others.
Goenka was chairman emeritus of both the groups, which have a combined turnover of around Rs.30,000 crore.

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