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TMCNet:  Sun Pharma co-promoter gets top gun for financial services business [India Business] [Times of India]

[July 05, 2014]

Sun Pharma co-promoter gets top gun for financial services business [India Business] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MUMBAI: Sudhir Valia, who hit the spotlight for a stake-purchase in mobile service operator Uninor, has roped in a top money manager to build a full-fledged finance business. Vikram Kotak, an investment veteran and Deutsche Asset Management's chief investment officer, is joining Fortune Financial Services, a Rs 116-crore market cap company, in which Valia has acquired significant interests.


Valia is the brother-in-law of pharma tycoon Dilip Shanghvi, and executive director and co-promoter of the world's fifth largest generic drug maker, Sun Pharmaceuticals. He, along with a couple of high net-worth individuals, bought Fortune Financial Services from original founders -- J T Poonja and Nimesh Shah -- a few months ago.

A chartered accountant by training, Kotak will help Valia bolster Fortune's business as the over two-decade-old firm readies to convert itself into a full-fledged financial services powerhouse.

Kotak will spearhead Fortune's foray into asset management and wealth management businesses, said a source in the know of things. The source said Valia is betting big on financial services and is putting in place the building blocks for a financial services empire. As a first step, he is recruiting high-profile executives to helm Fortune's existing businesses as well as lead the company into several new businesses like private equity. He is also looking for acquisitions to scale up the business.

When contacted, Valia declined to comment on Kotak's appointment but said that Fortune is strengthening its team as it is consolidating and growing into various business segments. "We want to expand the scope within financial services sector." Established in 1991, Fortune offers broking and SME loans through its 50-60 branches and franchisees across India. The company had earlier acquired ITI Financial Services and Antique Stock Broking, as part of its consolidation strategy. Valia said Fortune would sport a new name, which the source said could be Investment Trust of India.

Valia is the major shareholder of Fortune, followed by Vijay Choraria, Vijay Parekh and Paresh Parekh. While Fortune's founder, Poonja, completely exited the company, Shah continues to hold a miniscule 1% in the firm.

The 57-year-old Valia has been a director of Sun Pharmaceuticals since its inception in 1983. Valia and his wife together hold 2.42 % in the company, which in a $4-billion deal acquired Ranbaxy Labs recently, catapulting it to be a top player in the generics market. The low-profile Valia hit headlines in 2012 for becoming Norwegian telecom giant Telenor's local partner. Recently, Telenor said it will acquire Valia's 26% stake in its India unit, Uninor, for Rs 780 crore.

(c) 2014 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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