Analjit goes to Africa

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India | 2 July 2015Asia Samachar | 

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A turbaned Sardar Ji on an international business magazine cover is an attention grabber. The latest to do it is Max India Ltd founder chairman Analjit Singh.

The Indian entrepreneur is is on cover of July 1, 2015, issue of Forbes Africa, with a note that the ‘health and insurance king’ is ‘buying a slice of Africa’. He is said to be ploughing money into wine farms in South Africa.

While the dad splashed the cover of the African edition, his daughter was featured in Forbes India, in the same month. Talk about their fortunes!

Analjit, the founder chairman of the US$2 billion worth Max India Ltd, is described, in a profile of his own company, as a ‘self-made entrepreneur’.

Well, perhaps to some extent. Analjit is no rags to riches story. He comes from a family steeped deep in business. His family was already regarded as one of the wealthiest in Punjab at one time, thanks to his dad Mohan Singh’s ability to land lucrative construction contracts. But he did play his cards right, up to now, to build on what he inherited.

Family History

Bhai Mohan Singh, born to a Hindu dad and a Sikh mother, was later connected to the famed Ranbaxy.

He came to Delhi from Rawalpindi after the partition, having made big money in road contracts in the northeast region during the Second World War. He was soon in business, lending money to companies based in Delhi, according to a news clip at Rediff.

One of these was Ranbaxy, a drug distribution company started in 1937 in Amritsar by two cousins Ranjit and Gurbax (hence the name Ranbaxy). The company was unable to repay the money and Bhai Mohan Singh took it over, it added. This was 1952.

In a family decision that later led to a massive family feud, Mohan gave the keys to Ranbaxy to his eldest son, Parvinder Singh. The other two sons, Manjit Singh and Analjit, were handed some of the other family concerns.

Analjit had his set of problems with his side of the business. But at the family crown jewel Ranbaxy, Parvinder was drifting apart from the dad and the brothers.

In 1992, things came to a head. Parvinder ousted his dad from the company in an acrimonious power struggle. Parvinder himself succumbed to cancer in 2014.

The feud is captured in a book, Business Battles: Family Feuds That Changed Indian Industry by Shyamal Majumdar and published by Business Standard Books. [See excerpts entitled The Ranbaxy Clash: Father versus son, brother versus brother, here].

Parvinder’s sons, eldest Melvinder Mohand Singh and Shivinder Singh, later exited the company with a big bundle when they off-loaded their stake to a Japanese firm.

Analjit Singh - PHOTO MAX INDIA
Analjit Singh – PHOTO MAX INDIA

Analjit’s Fortune

At his end, after some misfortunes, Analjit had managed to turn the tide. His decision to enter into the telecommunications paid off handsomely. In 1998, he sold his 41% stake in telecom firm Hutchison Max to Hong Kong-based tycoon Li Ka-shing for Rs. 561 crore.

Backed by advice from McKinsey, Analjit entered four new, sunrise sectors: Life insurance, healthcare, IT enabled services and clinical studies, according to a news report.

The life insurance business was built through a joint venture with New York Life. It later tied-up with Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd from Japan.

it makes up one of the key components of Max India Ltd which is today listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the New York Stock Exchange (NSE). Analjit is the lead shareholder with over 39% holding, according to information on the company website.

Its other subsidiaries include Max Healthcare Institute Ltd. (a JV with a South Africa company) and Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Ltd. (a JV with UK  healthcare provider Bupa Finance Plc).

His daughter, Tara Singh Vachani, runs Antara Senior Living Pvt Ltd, which is in the midst of constructing homes for the senior in the Dehradun area. Antara is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Max India Group.

“I can’t hide my emotional connect to Dehradun,” she said in an interview with Forbes India (2 July 2015). “My mother and my grand parents are from here, so I have pretty much grown up in Dehradun.”

Now to Africa

Now, it seems, Analjit is training his sights further to Africa.

Amongst his private businesses, Analjit has invested in Mullineux Family Wines – now renamed Mullineux & LeeuFamily Wines, according to information on his profile provided by his company. The wine is situated in Riebeek-Kasteel in the Swartland, a wine region 50 km north of Cape Town, South Africa.

He acquired and amalgamted three farms in Franschhoek to develop Dassenberg Estates-an exclusive boutique luxury hotel, spa, winery and wine tasting facility that is set to open in latter half of 2015, it adds.

So, the Analjit story continues.

 

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[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Asia. How to reach us: Facebook message or WhatsApp +6017-335-1399. Our email: editor@asiasamachar.com. For obituary announcements, click here]

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