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Monday, July 22, 2024

Historic Split: Godrej Family Announces Division After 127 Years

The 127-year-old Godrej Group, whose businesses include everything from soaps and home appliances to real estate, has come to an agreement to divide itself. Adi Godrej and his brother Nadir will retain Godrej Industries, which consists of five listed companies, while cousins Jamshyd and Smita will receive unlisted Godrej & Boyce and its affiliates, along with a land bank that includes prime real estate in Mumbai.

The group has been split between two branches of the founding family, with Adi Godrej (82) and his brother Nadir (73) on one side and their cousins Jamshyd Godrej (75) and Smita Godrej Crishna (74) on the other, according to a statement issued by the group.

Godrej Enterprises Group — comprising Godrej & Boyce and its affiliates that have a presence across multiple industries spanning aerospace and aviation to defence, furniture and IT software — will be controlled by Jamshyd Godrej as chairperson and managing director. His sister Smita’s daughter Nyrika Holkar, 42, will be the executive director.

Their families will control this arm that also will hold the land bank, including 3,400 acres of prime land in Mumbai.

Godrej Industries Group — which includes the listed companies – Godrej Industries, Godrej Consumer Products, Godrej Properties, Godrej Agrovet and Astec Lifesciences — will have Nadir Godrej as chairperson and will be controlled by Adi, Nadir and their immediate families.

Pirojsha Godrej, 42, son of Adi, will be the executive vice chairperson of GIG and will succeed Nadir as the chairperson in August 2026, the statement said.

In the statement, the Godrej family termed the split as “an ownership realignment” of the shareholdings in the Godrej companies.

“The realignment has been arrived at in a respectful and mindful way to maintain harmony and to better align ownership in acknowledgement of the differing visions of the Godrej family members,” it said.

“This will help maximize strategic direction, focus, and agility, and will accelerate the process of creating long-term value for shareholders and all other stakeholders.” Both Groups will continue to use the Godrej brand and are committed to growing and strengthening their shared heritage.

Lawyer-turned-serial entrepreneur Ardeshir Godrej and his brother in 1897 succeeded at locksmithing after failed ventures into hand-fashioned medical devices.

Ardeshir did not have any children, and so the group was inherited by his younger brother Pirojsha. Pirojsha had four children – Sohrab, Dosa, Burjor and Naval.

Over the years, the helm of the group came to the children of Burjor (Adi and Nadir) and Naval (Jamshyd and Smita) as Sohrab had no children while Dosa had one child Rishad, who had no children.

To enable the split, the two sides quit the boards of companies in rival camps. So, Adi and Nadir Godrej resigned from the Godrej & Boyce Board, while Jamshyd Godrej left his seat on the boards of GCPL and Godrej Properties.

Unconfirmed reports say Adi and Nadir Godrej will divest their stakes in Godrej & Boyce to the other branch. Jamshyd Godrej and his side of the family will transfer interests in Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL) and Godrej Properties to their cousins through a family arrangement.

Real estate worth crores of rupees, mostly in prime land in Mumbai suburbs, will remain under Godrej & Boyce (G&B), and a separate agreement will be worked out to govern the ownership rights.

It owns 3,400 acres of land in Mumbai, including a 3,000-acre parcel in Vikhroli, Mumbai. The Vikhroli land by some estimates has a development potential of over ₹ 1 lakh crore. It can develop 1,000 acres, while about 1,750 acres are covered with mangroves and is the destination of rare plants and birds. About 300 acres of land have already been encroached upon.

The Vikhroli property was bought by Pirojsha at a public auction from the Bombay High Court receiver in 1941-42. It was previously owned by a Parsi merchant Framjee Banaji, who bought it from the East India Company in the 1830s.

Adi is currently chairman of Godrej Group. His brother Nadir is chairman of Godrej Industries and Godrej Agrovet. Their cousin Jamshyd is chairman of the unlisted Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing company. His sister Smita Crishna and Rishad Godrej also hold a stake in Godrej & Boyce, which owns most of the property in Vikhroli.

A couple of years back, Jamshyd roped in investment banker Nimesh Kampani and lawyer Zia Mody to advise him on separating the land ownership. Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Uday Kotak and Cyril Shroff of legal firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas were assisting Adi.

According to the statement, the realignment will be implemented after the relevant regulatory approvals have been obtained.

“Godrej Enterprises Group (GEG) comprises Godrej & Boyce (G&B) and its affiliates, which have a presence across multiple industries spanning aerospace, aviation, defence, engines and motors, energy, security, building materials, construction, green building consulting, EPC services, intralogistics, healthcare equipment, durables, furniture, interior design, architectural fittings, IT, software as well as infrastructure solutions.

“This group will now be controlled by Jamshyd Godrej, chairperson and managing director, Nyrika Holkar, Executive Director, and their immediate families,” it said.

Godrej Industries Group (GIG), which includes the listed companies, Godrej Industries, Godrej Consumer Products, Godrej Properties, Godrej Agrovet and Astec Lifesciences will have Nadir Godrej as Chairperson and will be controlled by Adi Godrej, Nadir Godrej, and their immediate families.

“Pirojsha Godrej will be the Executive Vice Chairperson of GIG and will succeed Nadir Godrej as the Chairperson in August 2026,” it said.

Commenting on the future outlook, Jamshyd Godrej said: “Since 1897, Godrej & Boyce has always been driven by the strong purpose of nation building. With this future-facing family agreement now in place, we can further drive our growth aspirations with fewer complexities and focus on leveraging our core strengths in high-tech engineering and design-led innovation across our strong portfolio of strategic, consumer and emerging businesses”.

Nadir Godrej said, “Godrej was founded in 1897 to help build economic independence for India. This deep purpose of innovating for a cause – the values of trust and respect and the belief in trusteeship and making communities that the companies operate in stronger and better – continue to form the bedrock of who we are 125 years later. We look forward to building on this legacy with focus and agility”.

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(Source: NDTV)

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