Thursday 14 December 2017

The vast wealth of Pallonji Mistry and his family continues to outstrip the rest of Ireland's super-rich. Mistry, a reclusive Indian tycoon with an Irish passport, is dubbed ‘The Phantom' at Bombay House, the headquarters for Tata, the largest private conglomerate in India and the world.

Mistry, who has a fondness for whiskey and horses, gave up his Indian passport and became an Irish citizen in 2003, on the basis of his marriage to Dublin-born Patsy Perin Dubash. Their children, Cyrus, Shapoor, Aloo and Laila, are also citizens.

The bulk of the Mistry family wealth comes from an 18.4pc stake in Tata Sons, the holding company for the Tata group, which owns interests ranging from Jaguar, Land Rover and Tetley tea to vast steel works. The company, set up as a trading firm in what was then Bombay in 1868, now employs over 660,000 people in 100 countries.

Mistry's grandfather, a property mogul, bought the stake in the 1930s. His son Cyrus (50), who followed in his father's footsteps by studying at Imperial College, London, became chairman of Tata Group in 2012, the first chairman in the company's history not to be a blood relative of the Tata family.

However, the scion's role swiftly became the stuff of a Bollywood drama after he was ousted last October by the Tata board, but he refused to go quietly. His dismissal led to a bitter spat between him and group patriarch Ratan Tata, who had led the company for 21 years until 2012 and came out of retirement to serve as interim chairman after Cyrus Mistry's departure.

Tata claimed that Mistry was failing to make tough decisions to turn around ailing businesses in the conglomerate, while Mistry condemned a phase of debt-fuelled expansion that the company had gone through under Ratan Tata and claimed that his predecessor had interfered with his running of the company.

In January, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, the group's biggest cash cow, was named the new chairman. Among the challenges he faces are helping to cut Tata's 39bn worth of debt and taking on the UK steel market. In March 2016, Tata put its entire British steel business up for sale, saying it was unwilling to fund a turnaround of the business and wanted to quit UK steel as quickly as possible, but by December vowed to keep the UK steel plants open. The entire group had sales of over 98bn last year — roughly four times as much as Facebook's annual revenue.

The Mistry family's property interests include a White House-style mansion on an exclusive seaside stretch of Mumbai overlooking the Arabian Sea, a stud farm in nearby Pune, a stately home in Surrey, and homes in London, Dubai, Alibaug and Matheran.


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