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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

Many people dream big… But only a few dare to chase their dream and make it come true. The founder Chairman of this Rs 5000 plus crore business empire had no business knowledge when he set forth the journey. Neither did he belong to a business family and nor did he come from an extremely rich family who can back him financially or provide the seed capital. He does not fit in to any of these categories. Dr. Anil Jindal, Chairman of SRS Group is a first generation entrepreneur who is the be all and end all of the group, which he started at the age of 21. One may find his meteoric rise from a milk deliveryman to billionaire entrepreneur a stuff of dreams. But his success story is a testimony that hard work, ambition, honesty and clarity of vision is rewarding. He dreamt big and worked with full dedication to turn it into reality.

Dr. Anil Jindal has a great zeal to learn new things and invests a lot of his time on industry research and building up his knowledge. He has gone a long way in academics too. He holds a doctorate degree in Commerce in Services Marketing with special reference to bank marketing from Chaudhary Charan Singh University Meerut, D Litt in Commerce from Chaudhary Charan Singh University Meerut, MBA from National Institute of Management, CCA from National Institute of Management, M.Com from Agra University and B.Com from Aggarwal College, Maharshi Dayanand University.

The initial struggles...

Dr. Anil Jindal is from a middle class family of milkmen. During his school days, he used to deliver milk in the neighbourhood and during college days, he took tuition classes. After graduating in commerce from Aggarwal College, Faridabad, he joined the same college as an accounts lecturer and worked there for an year. But he felt that it was not what he wanted to do.

It was around the time when the economy had just entered a new phase of growth and the consumption-led spending was growing. He sensed an opportunity and started a financial solutions business in 1985 with Rs. 10 lakh, which was his savings from the tuition classes. The firm financed two and three wheelers, television sets, then cars and gradually diversified to all kinds of financial intermediaries. The first year closed with a turnover of Rs 45 lakhs. In 1990, he formally incorporated the company as Bansla Finlease Ltd which became the first pillar of the SRS Group. Bansla Finlease Ltd then became a DSA of the Citibank. Following the success of his first venture, he started another company called BTL Investments Ltd in 1995. He started investing in land and by 2000, the company had 40 acres of land.

In 1997, he started another company called BTL Industries Ltd and started manufacturing and marketing of Edible Oil & Tea. By this time, the group, then the BTL Group, was established in the market with good reputation. Success followed him for the next few years til the increased number of market players and unhealthy competition resulted in a steep fall in their internal rate of return and a rise in the default rate. Spotting the changes in the economy, he was on a lookout for greener pastures to tap. A close look at the emerging market dynamics, consumer trends, shopping and lifestyle trends, all pointed towards the lifestyle segment as the country was at the doors of westernisation. He trusted his gut feeling that a more modern, consumption oriented society is emerging. The number of people with higher disposable income and an attitude of self-indulgence rather than saving up for future is going to be on a rise. He personally went abroad to get familiarised with the mall culture, which was about to hit the town.

Founding SRS Group...

In 2000, SRS Group (SRS stands for Sab Rahen Saath), which later became one of India's leading conglomerates, was incorporated with synergistic verticals of consumer entertainment and lifestyle businesses - SRS Cinemas, SRS Value Bazaar, SRS 7dayz, SRS Jewells. A diversified enterprise, the group focused on providing a complete package of services to meet all their needs in the lifestyle segment. This was the inspiration behind building SRS Malls in Faridabad, which became operational in 2006. From cinemas to fashion to grocery, the mall had it all – SRS Cinemas runs multiplex for entertainment, SRS Value Bazaar for retail stores for food, SRS Fashion Wear for apparel shopping, SRS 7dayz for food courts and restaurants for a fabulous meal and SRS Jewells for fine gold and diamond jewellery. SRS Cinemas was Haryana's first and highly impressive multiplex. Though there were many early-mover advantages, it was no cakewalk. They had to face several hiccups in aligning consumer habits. It was difficult to find trained staff for store management. So they had to hire the available manpower and train them extensively. Not having enough funds to finance brand building and promotion, attracting people to 'expensive looking' stores etc were some of the other issues in hand. Eventually, the people warmed up and embraced the initiations whole heartedly. Their hard work really paid off at the end and they could put up a great show.

The property prices rocketed and the value of land which he bought a few years back grew exponentially. The group launched their first realty project, SRS Residency in Faridabad. The group also started designing and marketing jewellery. In short, the group thrived on diversification concentrating on tier II and tier III towns, where there were less options for people to spend. Though the market was not favourable for IPOs, Anil's efforts in the right direction made SRS Ltd's IPO in August 2011 a huge success, following which the company got listed in NSE and BSE. SRS Real Infrastructure Ltd also got listed in both the exchanges and SRS Finance Ltd in BSE in 2013.

Further growth...

In 2015, the group sets up SRS Worldwide, a global commodity trading company in Sharjah and entered the e-commerce space by launching an online food & groceries portal called srsgrocery.com. SRS Jewells is also planning to enter the online retail segment soon. The number of stores went up year by year with multi city and multi domain presence now. While the company has wide presence in North India, the group is slowly expanding to South India. Along with financial services, the brand has stepped into a number of areas like real estate, retail, gems and jewellery, cinema exhibition, education, food and beverages, healthcare, commodity trading etc. With his multi-domain experience spanning over three decades, he stays in the forefront to provide best experience to all of it's customers through over 120 touch points spread across seven states and 31 cities across India, with exports to international markets as well. Headquartered in Faridabad, the group now consists of SRS Limited, SRS Real Infrastructure Ltd, SRS Real Estate Ltd, SRS Finance Ltd, SRS Portfolio Ltd, BTL Holding Company Ltd and SRS Social Welfare Association.

Personal life...

Dr.Anil Jindal stays fit and active through practicing yoga, meditation and morning walks. He is also passionate about reading and travelling. A firm believer in god and an enthusiastic philanthropist, apart from leading CSR initiatives at the corporate level, he contributes generously in his personal capacity also.

In 2003, the company partnered with French peer Michelin to make radial tyres for trucks and buses. However, it had to terminate the JV in two years as it never took off in Indian market as expected. In 2006, Apollo acquired Dunlop Tyres International’s South African operations and Netherland’s bankrupt tire maker Vredestein Banden in 2009, making strong roots in Africa and Europe. He later sold South African factory to fund his biggest buyout in 2013. The company also started an Rs 2,500 crore radial tyre plant in Sriperumbudur near Chennai in 2007. In 2009, Apollo began selling its Indian made products in Europe. It opened its Global R&D Centre in Netharlands in 2013 and in Chennai in 2016. Two years back, Apollo bought Germany’s Reifencom for €45.6 million. It has recently inaugurated its new $500 million consumer and commercial tire plant in Budapest, Hungary crossing another milestone in their global growth journey. It will continue its focus on India, even while strengthening its operations in Europe. The company also ventured into two wheeler tyres market last year.

Back in late 80s, when Apollo Tyres was just at 3 billion, Onkar met the Chairman of U.S based tire maker Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and expressed his desire to buy Cooper's technical collaboration, he shooed away saying “Apollo Tyres? Big company! Never heard of it’. Cut to 2013, he was almost going to seal the biggest deal of his business career by buying Cooper Tire & Rubber in an all-cash deal worth about $2.5 billion. However, he lost the deal following a highly charged courtroom battle in the United States.

Other initiatives...

Onkar Kanwar is always high about giving back. He is always enthusiastic about bettering the lives of people around. He treats his employees as assets and has some of the first employees of the company still with him. He is highly interested in education and healthcare. The company has won many awards for its CSR initiatives. Well travelled and an avid reader, he is very keen on learning about modern management practices and its successful implementation in business.

His interests in health have led to the establishment of super specialty hospitals under the Artemis brand in northern India. Apollo Tyres Foundation's Health Care Centres is another initiative from the group. The centre provides HIV-AIDS awareness and prevention programme for the commercial vehicle driver community.

His two cents for the next gen...

Show full dedication towards work. Make it your passion.
Use only the best quality products and always deliver the projects on time.
Exercise financial prudence.

Associations and memberships...

Member of Board Directors of SRS Real Infrastructure Limited, SRS Limited, SRS Entertainment Limited, SRS Value Bazaar Limited, SRS Smart Retail Limited, SRS Modern Retail Limited, SRS Holdings India Limited, , BTL Holding Company Limited, SRS Knowledge & Technologies Private Limited, SRS Cinemas & Entertainment Limited
Trustee of Faridabad Navchetna Trust
Advisory Board member of Prayas Social Welfare Society

Awards and accolades...

Bhartiya Nirman Shiromani Puraskar by Dr. Bhishma Narain Singh
Indira Gandhi Sadbhhavna award by H.E. Dr. A. R. Kidwai
Rajiv Gandhi Shiromani award by H.E. Dr. A.R Kidwai.

Quotes

Having a mentor enhances your leadership skills and also broadens your horizons for better opportunities. I always surround myself with knowledgeable people who can challenge my thinking and provide me valuable advice in my time of need.
Keep the ego and other frivolous things aside and stay committed, focussed, patient and take quick decisions. I believe that no job is too small. Therefore, one must pay attention to detail.
We did nothing that was extra ordinary. We just went ahead with an extraordinary belief in God, our good intentions and our focus.

Hope readers caught up the spark …

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