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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

It pays to be tough! Tata Group's security partner in UK rich list

Tejeesh Nippun Singh Behl, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, May 06, 2012
First Published: 21:22 IST(6/5/2012) | Last Updated: 21:33 IST(6/5/2012)

Securing people's lives, limbs and property may sound an onerous task, but it doesn't hurt too much if it helps catapult you into the list of Britain's 1,000 most loaded people, with a net worth of £ 168 million ( Rs. 1,450 crore).

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Ask Rahul Nanda, chairman, Topsgrup, who secures not just the various properties of the Tata Group across their 25 different business units - including the group headquarters at Bombay House - but also group chairman Ratan Tata's residence in south Mumbai.

"I am not going to be diplomatic - it's a good feeling to become part of (The Sunday Times) Rich List," the Mumbai-bred, London-based Nanda told HT. However, he says, the wealth is all notional, locked up as it is in the company, which closed the 2011-12 fiscal with revenues of Rs. 900 crore.

The Tata Group may have been among his foremost marquee clients in a list that includes Infosys and the India Premier League (IPL), but they are certainly not his highest revenue generating client anymore. Though they are still among the top five, "IBM is our biggest client, in terms of revenue generated," Nanda said.

This, despite Topsgrup deploying nearly 10 times the number of personnel at various Tata properties - between 10-12,000 - as compared to 2,000 personnel deployed at IBM.

Nanda's association with the Tata Group began during a union trouble at TCS in the 1990s, for which his assistance was sought. The successful handling of the issue saw Topsgrup becoming the preferred security provider for the Tatas, though Nanda downplays his association and is certainly guarded on questions related to Ratan Tata himself. "I have only met Ratan Tata once in my life," he reveals.

Nanda's business has certainly benefited from corporate India's paranoia, especially after the 26/11 terror attacks across private sector establishments in Mumbai that has seen the private security industry size balloon to Rs. 13,000 crore - an annual growth rate of 25%, according to a recent FICCI report.

All that has helped Nanda personally, and his company, but it may not be so good for his 93,000 personnel, whose cost his clients Rs. 20,000 a month on an average.

This compares even more poorly when juxtaposed with the average pay of a private security guard in UK, at £1800 ( Rs. 1.55 lakh).


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