Cracks in Hinduja Group as conglomerate faces family feud
London – Hinduja Group, a 107-year-old group that is one of the world’s largest conglomerates, is facing a rather bitter family feud that is risking a messy separation of the group. Hinduja Group holds dozens of companies, including six publicly traded entities in the country. The closely held Indian conglomerate has 150,000 employees across 38 countries in multiple sectors like truck manufacturing, chemicals, making, power, healthcare and media.
The head of the group, 85-year-old SP Hinduja is now suffering from dementia. His grandson Karam Hinduja, his sister, mother, aunt, and grandmother are in a battle with other Hinduja family members over $18 billion British – Indian group. Karam’s side of the family is pushing for group assets to be broken into all members. While three brothers of SP Hinduja, Gopichand, Prakash, and Ashok, want the group must stick to its old motto that “everything belongs to everyone and nothing belongs to anyone”.
Clashes between members are piled up in courts of Switzerland and London. “They seem to have reached a point of no return,” said Kavil Ramachandran, a family-business expert at the Indian School of Business. He added, “It’s most unlikely to go back to the socialistic philosophy of everything for everybody.”
The four brothers have always presented a strong collective front when it came to the net worth of $15 billion – not much was evident about the group’s internal dynamics behind the doors. But last year it all came to light through a London judgment. Gopichand, Prakash, and Ashok were defending the validity of a letter that was signed in 2014 by all the four Hinduja brothers. According to the letter, assets held by one will belong to all. SP is seeking the London court to rule that the letter has no “legal effect”. A decision on that is not due for a while, but if it comes in his favor, his assets could pass to his daughters Vinoo and Shanu after his death.
“SP had one mantra that nobody owns anything, everybody owns everything,” Radhamohun Gujadhur, an advisor to the brothers, said in an interview. “Anyone doing differently is speaking under their own illusions or to further a selfish private agenda. The group structure has withstood the challenges of Shanu and Vinoo Hinduja who disagree with their own father’s vision of the group,” he added.