Seven Indian conglomerates have topped in investor returns in India, according to latest study, but the names don’t include household names such as Tata Sons, Aditya Birla Group or even Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries.
Seven Indian conglomerates have made it to top 15 companies in Asia, drawn by Bain & Co, but what may come as a surprise to many is the absence of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd, Tata and Aditya Birla groups companies on the list. Seven Indian conglomerates — Bajaj, Lalbhai, Wadia, Murugappa, Emami, Godrej and Torrent — have delivered superior stock returns of between 22% and 32% to their shareholders in the last 15 years, a study by Bain & Company has found. The study features Asia’s conglomerates in the order of best total shareholder returns over a 10-year period during 2007-2016.
The results assume significance, as for the first time in 15 years of tracking performance, conglomerates in Asia, including India underperformed pure plays (single industry focussed firms) in their markets on core financial performance, notes the study. “From 2007 to 2016, total annual shareholder return (TSR) dropped to 11 percent for conglomerates— slightly less than the 12 percent for pure plays, but enough to signal changes ahead and raise questions about whether Asian conglomerates have reached the end of the road,” Bain said in its report.
According to Bain, initially Southeast Asia’s conglomerates had many things working in their favor, including easier and earlier access to opportunities, particularly rights to natural resources; the foundation of many conglomerates in the region; and advantage in regulations, talent, and capital. “However, in 2014, as Asia’s markets developed, those benefits steadily diminished and the conglomerate premium compressed,” Bain said in the report.
“In India, and in Asia at large, given conglomerates have always played a larger-than-life role in our everyday lives, their recent underperformance relative to pure plays has a large impact. It’s not all doom-and-gloom, though – there still are conglomerates in top-quartile performers – but what they need to focus on is different, and the bar they have to clear is higher,” Nikhil Prasad Ojha, Partner from Bain office in Mumbai and co-author of the report said.
However, the sutdy says that conglomerates can take action to improve their core business growth, which depends on a company’s ability to create a transformational roadmap in which they excel in four distinct areas– Find a compelling ambition; maintain a parenting advantage; enable growth across the portfolio and make the best financial choice.