Birla Brain Trust
A little birdie tells us that last week, everyone at Essar House was pleasantly surprised when the entire Ruia — brothers Shashi, Ravi and their kids Prashant, Anshuman and Rewant — took a midweek trip to Hazira, the hub of their large steel operations. We all know how the eldest in the family, Shashi Ruia, is personally attached to the project but rarely do all five travel together and this wasn’t even Davos. Speculation has been running wild ever since, and some gossipy types are even saying this was an emotional trip for the family to discuss the future as lenders up the ante. Some though insist it was a personal matter. The truth, as always, might lie somewhere in the middle. A few days after the Panama papers hit the headlines, officials of Jersey, another tax haven, were in Mumbai to market the offshore centre to rich Indians and their advisers. The charm of Jersey, located between England and France, they said, was its friendly laws for family trusts and foundations — vehicles to ringfence wealth. The Jersey team met some tax professionals and senior lawyers and even hosted a dinner. But many invited backed out. “We will meet some other time...let the Panama dust settle,” said a lawyer. Bankers have been making a beeline for hot shot corporate assignments for a while now and we hear one more is set to join that list. Deal St is buzzing with the news that Goldman Sachs’ Pramo Selvaratnam is cooling his heels before he moves on to Aditya Birla Group to head the chairman’s office there. In the past, Kumar Babu’s former aides have mostly gone on to head businesses. Take the case of 41-year-old Prashant Gupta for example who since last year is spearheading the conglomerate’s ecomm fashion venture. So it will be hardly surprising that Pramo, a resourceful banker specialising in oil and gas and mining, will be groomed for bigger things in future in this commodities centric group.