The Essar Group may have cleared its debt and ushered in greater transparency in operations, but the promoters have a long way to go before they shed the baggage of the past.
The Essar Group’s performance over the last decade doesn’t make for a pretty picture. The slide in revenue is unlike any other, going from a peak of $27 billion in 2012 to $13 billion in 2019, though there was a marginal recovery to $15 billion in 2022.
The personal wealth of Shashi and Ravi Ruia, the co-founders of the Mumbai-based group, has seen a similar slide. In the 2000s, they were regulars in the top 10 of the Forbes India Rich List of the country’s 100 wealthiest people. But, over the last few years, the two brothers have slipped down the ranks. They were at 67 in 2020, only to go out of the list altogether in the subsequent years.
These would have rankled the brothers, who started out in 1969 with a small project in Chennai and went on to build an empire straddling steel, power, ports and refinery sectors. But it was a price they were willing to pay for a reset of the group, which despite a decent top line was bogged down by a mountain of debt. At
Prince leads coverage for our Business section at The Morning Context. A fascination with the written word has taken Prince to some of the leading newsrooms across the country, including The Economic Times, Dow Jones Newswires, Forbes India and Moneycontrol. In a career spanning over 18 years, Prince has led teams, managed pages, projects and special editions, and has authored The Consolidators, published by Penguin Random House in 2017.