Aditya Birla Group hires top deal-makers from StanChart, Goldman

Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group. Photo: Mint

Kumar Mangalam Birla, the dealmaking tycoon who controls India’s biggest cement maker, hired bankers from Standard Chartered Plc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for senior roles at his conglomerate, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The billionaire’s Aditya Birla Group appointed Standard Chartered dealmaker Sandeep Agrawal as head of corporate finance, according to the people. He will be responsible for mergers and acquisitions as well as capital raising, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Agrawal had been with Standard Chartered for about 16 years, most recently as managing director for global corporates covering Indian business houses like Birla Group and Tata Group. He succeeds Ashish Adukia, who moved to Birla Group’s Grasim Industries Ltd. as chief financial officer last month.

Birla Group has been one of India’s most active dealmakers of late. Last year, the conglomerate completed the merger of its wireless business with Vodafone Group Plc’s local unit and it recently hired banks to offload its fiber network. It has been bidding for distressed cement assets and agreed last July to buy U.S. aluminum producer Aleris Corp. for $2.6 billion including debt.

The conglomerate has also hired Manish Dabir from Goldman to be its head of investor relations, the people said. The banker, who was an executive director in Goldman’s strategic transactions group, joined Birla Group earlier this month, one of the people said.

A representative for Standard Chartered confirmed Agrawal is leaving to pursue other opportunities, while a representative for Goldman said he has no immediate comment. Birla Group hires externally for about 20% of its senior positions while the rest go to internal candidates, Santrupt Misra, director of group human resources, said in an emailed statement.

Birla is India’s 11th-richest person with a net worth of about $5.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His group, with business from metals and cement to financial services and telecom, employs 120,000 people in 34 countries, it said in a June presentation.

Bloomberg