Wednesday 21 March 2018

Mumbai-based industrialist Pallonji Mistry (86) and his family remain Ireland's richest citizens for another year. They'll take some catching, too. The bulk of the family's wealth comes from an 18.4pc stake in Tata Group, one of the world's biggest conglomerates.

Mistry's grandfather, a real estate mogul, bought the stake back in 1930. Tata now has interests ranging from Jaguar cars and Tetley Tea to vast steel works, chemical factories and a huge IT consultancy wing. The company, which was set up in 1868 now employs more than 610,000 people in 100 different countries.

Pallonji's son Cyrus (47), educated at Imperial College, London, became chief executive of Tata Group in December 2012. Shares in the 30 separate listed companies that make up the group have dramatically outperformed the stockmarkets, rising 56pc since he took over, boosting the family's bank balance.

It hasn't been without its challenges though. The steel and motors division of the business has struggled in the face of weak international and domestic demand, and Mistry has also been trying to reduce high debt levels at other units. Overall, the group had sales of more than €101.4bn last year. That's about six times as much as Facebook.

Pallonji Mistry's wife Patsy Perin Dubash was born in the Hatch Street Nursing Home in Dublin in 1939 (Ryanair's Michael O'Leary was also born there). It's now the Ombudsman's Office. Pallonji took Irish citizenship in 2003, while golf mad Cyrus and his brother Shapoor and sisters Aloo and Laila are also citizens.

Although Ireland is extremely handy for cutting inheritance-tax bills, it is believed that the Mistrys remain tax resident in India. Ireland has come increasingly on the radar for the family, with another wing of the business - the Shapoor Pallonji construction and real estate group - inking a major deal to sponsor Irish cricket. Tata has also ramped up its Irish operations.

The Mistry family are extremely low profile in India, with Pallonji known as 'The Phantom of Bombay House', in reference to his irregular appearances. They do own some prime real estate including a mansion modelled on the White House in an exclusive seaside stretch of Mumbai. There's also a stud farm in nearby Pune, a stately home in Surrey and properties in London, Dubai, Alibaug and Matheran. Cyrus is a bit of a petrol head and recently sought permission to import a rare 1971 Jaguar E type sports car into India.

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