Finolex Group inducts third generation into business, Gayatri Chhabria joins family firm

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Updated: December 15, 2020 7:29 AM

With a lineage that boasts of Pralhad P Chhabria, the founder of the Finolex Group on one side and Gopichand P Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja Group on the other, joining the family business was a logical natural extension for her.

Finolex Industries is India’s largest manufacturer of PVC pipes and fittings company with its manufacturing plants at Pune and Ratnagiri in Maharashtra and Masar in Gujarat.

The Finolex Group has inducted the third generation into the business. Gayatri Chhabria has joined the family business and will start with marketing and communications as well as CSR in her portfolio. She will, like her father Prakash Chhabria, work across all functions and departments before taking up more responsibilities.

With a lineage that boasts of Pralhad P Chhabria, the founder of the Finolex Group on one side and Gopichand P Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja Group on the other, joining the family business was a logical natural extension for her.

Gayatri is the older of the two daughters of Prakash and Ritu Chhabria. She is not the first woman to join the family business. Her aunt, Aruna Katara, has been involved with the family enterprise in education, (ISquareIT) as well as their Hope Foundation. Her younger sibling too is getting ready to enter business with her own start-up focused on sustainability.

Chhabria, 28, is aware of the legacy that she is carrying forward and she says her grandfather and founder of Finolex, wanted her to work her way up and not come with a sense of entitlement and enjoy the privileges.

The other grandpa (Hinduja) told her to focus on work and not worry about designation and positions. So after her Masters from the Warwick Business School in the UK, she started out as a management trainee at Finolex Industries.

“My interests lay in marketing and strategy and every department is interconnected so it is not just about marketing,” says Chhabria. Finolex is an established brand and has a rich legacy so the pressure is to maintain this and not slacken a bit, says Chhabria.

Finolex Industries is India’s largest manufacturer of PVC pipes and fittings company with its manufacturing plants at Pune and Ratnagiri in Maharashtra and Masar in Gujarat. It is among the few companies to have its own PVC resin manufacturing facility and the first of its kind in the private sector, open sea cryogenic jetty.

What Finolex has is an enviable network of over 23,000 dealers, sub-dealers and retailers with customers in the agriculture segment actually asking for Finolex and not pipes, points of Chhabria. While 70% of the revenues from the business comes from the agri sector, which is a B2C business, Finolex has expanded into the urban segment which is a B2B business, points out Chhabria. Finolex was a late entrant in the non-agri market comprising housing and water segment, but the company plans to be a significant player in that market too in five to ten years, she says. Chhabria says she is keeping a close watch on the oil prices that impact PVC prices and keeping a track of these prices has become an everyday thing for her.

She comes into the company at a time when there is a battle brewing in the Chhabria family between her father and his uncle’s family. The family have gone to court against each other over disputes regarding stakes in the Finolex Group companies and especially the holding company.

Father Prakash Chhabria says his daughter played a big role in shifting to the virtual world during the pandemic and ensured that everyone felt connected and nobody felt left out. So whether it was dealer meets, to plumber training or engaging with retailer, she played here part. During weekends, dealers, retailers and employees along with their families joined her for Zumba and yoga sessions. The foundation delivered food kits to 70,000 families during the pandemic lockdown. Food support was taken to one lakh plumbers.

She has been closely involved with CSR activities of the family’s Mukul Madhav Foundation as a trustee on the board. If Finolex does well them the foundation gets more resources as the company contributes between 3% to 5% of the profits for the foundation. Finolex Industries had a turnover of Rs 3,016 crore in FY20 with net profit of Rs 324 crore and in H1FY21 total revenues were at Rs 1,188 crore and PAT at Rs 175 crore.

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