The Hinduja Group: Origin, Businesses, and Expansion
The Hinduja Group is one of the largest diversified business groups in the world. Since its inception more than 107 years ago, the group has expanded gradually to business segments such as automotive, information technology, media & entertainment, oil and specialty chemicals, banking and finance, power generation, real estate, healthcare, and many more. The Hinduja Group has established its direct presence in 38 countries and conducts operations in more than 100 nations around the world.
Let us take a closer look into the history of the Hinduja Group and learn more about their businesses.
The Hinduja Group was established by Parmanand Deepchand Hinduja in 1914. He hailed from a Sindhi family based in India. Initially, he began a small business in Sindh (now in Pakistan). One of the major milestones in his career was setting up an international trade centre in Iran in 1919. Merchant banking and trade were the twin pillars of the group’s business. After Parmanand Hinduja’s demise in 1971, his sons took over the family legacy. They formed a financial institution known as Hinduja Bank in Switzerland around the same period. The Hinduja Group also acquired the world-renowned ‘Gulf’ brand and later established Gulf Oil Corporation Limited.
The Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 forced the group to move its headquarters to London, United Kingdom. Around 8 years later, they acquired Land Rover Leyland International Holdings’ overseas stake in Ashok Leyland. They focused on setting up production units and showrooms across India, Sri Lanka, and the United Arab Emirates. The commercial vehicle manufacturer is now the flagship company of Hinduja Group. The automaker even launched India’s first CNG-powered bus in 1997.
The year 1994 marked the group’s entry into the Indian banking space. They established IndusInd Bank. It was one of the first private sector banks that helped in accelerating the process of reforms in post-liberalised India. Hinduja Group also set up IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd in 1995.
Hinduja Global Solutions was incorporated in 2000. This is essentially the business process outsourcing (BPO) subsidiary of the group, which is headquartered in Bangalore. In 2007, Ashok Leyland and Japan-based Nissan Motor Corp entered into a joint venture to build light-duty trucks. The group also owns Optare plc, which is a leading manufacturer of electric buses in the UK.
Major Company Segments
- Ashok Leyland Limited- It is the second-largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India (after Tata Motors). The company is the fourth-largest manufacturer of buses in the world. It also offers power solutions for electric power generation, agricultural harvester combines, and earth-moving & construction equipment. They have set up around 10 manufacturing facilities across India, UAE, and UK.
- IndusInd Bank- The company offers banking and para-banking services. Para-banking may include insurance services, portfolio management services, pension fund management, mutual fund business, etc. The lender has established nearly 2,000 regional branches across India.
- Hinduja Global Solutions Limited- It provides services related to business process management (BPM). The company’s primary activities include information technology (IT), IT-enabled services (ITES), and business process outsourcing (BPO). Through its subsidiaries, Hinduja Global Solutions also offers contact center solutions and back-office transaction processing services across North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It caters to the healthcare, telecommunications, media, insurance, retail, and consumer electronics sectors.
- Gulf Oil Corporation Limited- The company offers energetics, mining, and infrastructure development services. It manufactures and sells explosives, detonators, explosive bonded metal clads, and special devices for defence and space applications. GOCL also undertakes large-scale mining services in coal, iron ore, limestone, and bauxite mines.
The Hinduja Brothers
The Hinduja Group is currently headed by Srichand P Hinduja, the eldest son of Parmanand Deepchand Hinduja. Along with his brothers— Gopichand P Hinduja, Prakash P Hinduja, and Ashok P Hinduja— S.P Hinduja has led the company to great heights. They have collectively strategized and executed the diversification and expansion of the group as a whole. The Hinduja Brothers have lived up to their father’s vision and commitment towards building one of the most reputed business empires in the world.
Interestingly, the group trades in practically all products and commodities except tobacco, meat, and alcohol. On the other hand, they have focused on philanthropic activities, and have built hospitals, wellness centres, schools, and colleges in India and abroad. It has provided direct employment opportunities to more than 150,000 people. For years, the Hinduja Group has also promoted and developed the use of clean renewable energy sources.
The group had posted revenues of $50 billion in 2018. According to Forbes, the Hinduja brothers were the fifth-richest businessmen from India in 2020. They have a net worth of $14.8 billion as of March 2021.
The Hinduja brothers are now involved in a legal dispute in the UK over their family fortune. A letter signed in 2014 and a related document had stated that the brothers appoint each other as their executors and that assets held in any one brother’s name belong to all four. The dispute between the Hinduja family came to light in a ruling delivered in June 2020 by a London judge, who said that the three brothers- Gopichand, Prakash, and Ashok- tried to use the letter to take control of Hinduja Bank. The bank was in Srichand’s sole name at the time. However, S.P Hinduja and his daughter Vinoo wanted the letter to be dismissed or to have ‘no legal effect’. Despite this issue, the brothers have reaffirmed that the court proceedings will not affect their businesses or the values which they stand for.
The third and fourth generations of the Hinduja family are all set to carry forward the rich heritage of the group in the years to come. Let us look forward to seeing how they execute future plans and expand further.