Tata Sons’ Chandrasekaran to present 5-year Vision Plan tomorrow
Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran will present his five-year vision plan for the group’s larger listed companies, updates of various mergers and acquisitions, and progress on the creation of different business verticals at a two-day board meeting starting Tuesday in London.
The vision presentation, the first by Chandrasekaran, who took over the reign of the diversified conglomerate in February last year, will also brief the Tata Sons board on the possible returns for Tata Steel from the acquisition of Bhushan Steel from the bankruptcy court as well as the benefits of the proposal to purchase Bhushan Steel and Power.
The proposal to merge Tata Teleservices with rival Airtel and its financial implications will also be discussed, people close to the development said.
“Chandra is expected to present his vision plan to the board....it will be a long haul meet,” a person close to the development said.
This week’s board meet will be the first for former Hindustan Unilever chairman Harish Manwani, who was inducted into the Tata Sons board as an independent director last month, and the last for current Tata Trusts nominee director Vijay Singh.
Singh, a former union defence secretary, will retire as he reaches 70. He could be replaced by former foreign secretary S Jaishankar who joined the group two months ago as president, global corporate affairs, one of the sources said. The board may also take up the proposal of Vistara airline, an equal joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, to purchase 50 additional planes to expand its fleet along with future growth plans of other group companies.
The full service domestic airline has already received Singapore Airlines’ nod for the purchase. The board is also likely to be briefed about the Central Bureau of Investigation’s ongoing investigation into low-cost carrier AirAsia India, said the person quoted earlier.
Tata Trusts managing trustee R Venkataramanan, who holds 1.5% stake in AirAsia India, has been booked by CBI for alleged involvement in a scheme — involving consultants and AirAsia officials as per the probe agency’s version — to bribe government officials to waive off some of the conditions for local airlines to fly overseas.
AirAsia has denied the CBI’s charges. Venkataramanan is the nominee of Tata Sons on the board of AirAsia India where Tata Sons and Malaysia’s AirAsia own 49% stake each. The rest 0.5% in the airline is owned by AirAsia chairman S Ramadorai. A Tata Sons spokesperson declined comment in response to a questionnaire.
The vision statement by the chairman is critical for the future plans of the group as Tata Sons is the largest financial supporter of the group companies and in some cases stands as the guarantor to loans availed from lenders.
Former chairman Cyrus Mistry, who was sacked in October 2017 after he lost confidence of the board, had not presented his five-year plan for the group even after four years at the helm. This became the bone of contention between Tata Trusts, which owns two third of the holding company, and Mistry, whose family owns 18% stake in Tata Sons
Tata Sons typically holds two two-day strategy meetings — one in the middle of the year and the other at the end of the year. All other routine meetings are conducted in Mumbai and last around three hours. Chandrasekaran, popularly known as Chandra, is widely seen as earning the trust and confidence of the board as well as shareholders in the past 15 months
“He has identified the group’s issues and addressed it in the best possible way under the current environment,” said the person quoted earlier. An example of this, the person said, was using TCS shares as the currency to clear debts of the group companies, a plan which was floated around two years ago.
Tata Sons, with 73% stake, was the biggest beneficiary of the share buyback plans of TCS — mopping up Rs 12,000 crore in the first buyback announced in February 20 this year to purchase 2.85% of the total paid up capital not exceeding Rs 16,000 crore.