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A Promise Is A Promise


wealthymattersCredit Suisse had offered Tatas a financing package that helped it aggressively outbid its Brazilian rival for Corus Steel in the UK. Once the deal was done, two other MNC banks approached the company’s top brass with a more comfortable funding plan involving cost savings of about $400 million. As Tata Steel weighed in favour of the new funding option, Credit Suisse fetched up with a letter from the Tatas showing its commitment to $120 million in fees whether or not the financing was availed from it.Bombay House top brass was left fuming that a bank had the temerity to place a demand on them. But when the matter was taken up to the then group chairman Ratan Tata, his decision was simple: There was a commitment made to Credit Suisse which must be honoured. Having paid the European bank, Tata Steel went ahead with the cheaper financing option.

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The Tata Way


wealthymattersHave you ever wondered what makes a business last many generations? If so, the Tatas can teach you some things.Tata began operating as a trading firm in 1868.Today,the business consists of round a 100 professionally managed companies. Read the essay below by Ratan Tata to get an idea of the attitude that builds multi-generational businesses:

“I believe it’s really important to have companies survive over the longer term. I hate to see major corporations disappearing from the scene because someone has cashed out, because the managers have been unable to escape their comfort zones, or because boards have not been sufficiently nimble to change with the times. When these things happen, decades of effort and innovation go to waste. It’s bad when businesses don’t fight it out, whether the enemy is a competitor’s new product, an industry-transforming innovation (such as transistors), or the impact of something clearly outside a company’s control (like climate change). Read more of this post

The Dangers Of Ossification


wealthymatters.com

In the story below Alok Kejriwal narrates what happens to a family business when it is ruled with an iron fist by the older generation which gives younger family members and outside professionals no opportunity to air new ideas.

Experience is good.And everything new is not necessarily good.Professional managers are not automatically better than family talent.It doesn’t pay to cast aside the old tried and tested methods without thought.However,nothing good comes out of eschewing new ways altogether.Taking a risk on something new,when the older way has been very successful,is hard.But regularly experimenting with new ways in a controlled manner and adopting them if they are good, is a must to stay competitive. Read more of this post

Alok Kejriwal On The Different Shades Of Money.


wealthymatters.com

Some interesting observations from Alok Kejriwal :

After my first round of VC funding, I ran into my uncle at a dinner. He had read about the financing in media and cornered me. ‘So you’re rich! Why are you looking so gloomy?’ he said. ‘Huh’ I asked? ‘My Company’s the one that got funded, not me! No one got rich. The VCs got poorer and a long arduous road lies ahead of me to return the money to the VCs many times over’. He chuckled and said’ ‘What nonsense! The first rule of the funding game is to siphon out 25% of the funds and make yourself-rich. Investors can be dealt with later’. Shucks… hadn’t I heard that story before? Many of my relatives have floated public issues that were nothing short of scams and they still boast about it!

This ‘get rich, siphon out’ philosophy left so many old industrial houses bankrupt. They were never capitalized to take advantage of acquisition opportunities and punished their shareholders so harshly that they could never raise capital again. Think Mafatlal, Dalmia and many more.  Even today I meet embarrassed professional managers working in ‘family’ firms who get paid salaries in ‘half white and half black’ to avoid taxes! Read more of this post

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