Soon after announcing his plans to list Essar Energy in London, Essar Group CEO and Essar Energy Vice Chairman Prashant Ruia in a telephonic interview with The Hindustan Times from London shared the group’s strategy. Excerpts:
On the London listing strategy
The idea was to get access to a very liquid and deep market. Besides, it is an opportunity for international investors who were earlier not in a position to participate in the India growth story unless they were emerging market funds. Funds that are based here can now participate in the Indian growth story.
On the funds investing in India
The UK funds and many other large international funds cannot invest in India. Only emerging market funds can invest here. But the percentage of emerging market funds among large international funds is very small. Only 10-20 per cent of the world’s money goes to emerging markets.
On listing Essar Power in India
We have no such plans. International investors of Essar Energy will own 100 per cent of the power business today.
On the bigger picture of Essar’s buyouts over past 12-18 months
We have built a significant amount of scale in our businesses over the last few years. For instance, if you take Essar Energy, we have invested in excess of $2 billion (Rs 8,900 crore) in various projects. We have also attained global footprints by focusing on synergies. But as far as the group is concerned, majority of our investments are still in India, which will continue to be the growth area for us.
On restructuring the Essar Group
After going through a difficult patch in late 1990s, in 2002 we started rebuilding the balance sheets and growing the business. The Vodafone–Essar transaction helped us a lot in bringing significant amount of capital to the group. We then restructured our businesses, built a global footprint. Many of those efforts have now come into the public domain.
On driving this personally
For me, this journey has been very exciting. All these years have been a great learning for me and both papa (Shashi Ruia) and chacha (Ravi Ruai) continue to provide the vision and the direction for the group.