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Group's international footprints made a beeline for success

21st July, 2016

The Economic Times
21 July 2016

Kumar Mangalam Birla: Chairman, Aditya Birla Group

Economic reforms of the 1990s centred around deregulation, delicensing and tariff reduction. India Inc was fully exposed to global competition and it was a quite a challenge. However, the group was well-positioned ...our globalisation journey had begun 3 decades before globalisation in India. We have not only withstood fierce competitive pressures, but have thrived. To us, the next wave of liberalisation would mean greater speed of decision-making, friendly and transparent interface with policy makers and regulators and the foundation of strong macro stability.

What it was in 1991:
The Aditya Birla group was primarily a commodities player, spanning cement, aluminium and oil refining. With revenues of around $1.5 billion, it expanded to foreign shores as the licensing raj delayed building new business in India.

How liberalisation changed life:
The group included India's largest cement maker, largest aluminium producer and third largest mobile telephony company, making it the third largest diversified conglomerate.

What he went on to achieve:
The group chose M&As as a key strategy to purchase cement plants both in India and overseas, bought the world's largest aluminium can maker Novelis and transformed itself from a commodities player to one with interests in mobile telephony, retail, apparel and financial services. It is now looking to diversify into defence.