Singapore: Tata Sons Ltd chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran said on Friday that the conglomerate is focusing on “simplification, synergy and scale" that may eventually lead to the creation of 32 holding companies.
“We are moving and in some verticals, it would be easy because the companies are unlisted. The way to look at it is that overall, we will have 32 companies which will be holding companies and we will see how we can either consolidate or synergize," Chandrasekaran said in Singapore at the Hindustan Times-Mint Asia Leadership Summit.
Chandrasekaran, who took over as group chairman in February 2017 after Cyrus Mistry was ejected in a boardroom battle, is seeking to reinvent the Tata group.
The group is consolidating its various businesses across the aerospace and defence verticals, expanding capacity at Tata Steel, which is also setting up a joint venture with Germany’s ThyssenKrupp, and cleaning up the balance sheets of some of its businesses.
As part of the group’s move to bring down cross-holding among group companies, its power business is selling its stake in Tata Communications and its holding firm Panatone Finvest to Tata Sons, the group holding company.
“If you look at the group, our biggest strength is the brands we do have and primarily they follow a pattern. All companies, you can classify them into eight different industries. Every different company has its own verticals—financial services, consumer and retail and others. We are trying to see how we can bring all these together," Chandrasekaran said in a conversation with Shereen Bhan of CNBC-TV18.
Asked whether the group was interested in bidding for loss-making national carrier Air India, Chandrasekaran declined to comment.
The group already has two airline businesses in joint ventures with Singapore Airlines and Malaysia’s AirAsia.
On India’s potential in the information technology space, Chandrasekaran said, “I think this business has enormous potential... The extent of automation that we will see will also grow more opportunities. Maintaining margins and growing is something that the industry can do."
The group’s Tata Consultancy Services is India’s largest IT services company.