Five firms of Kirloskar Group to carry out 'refresh' exercise to  evolve into customer-focused solution providers

Five firms of Kirloskar group led by brothers Atul and Rahul on Friday announced a 'refresh' exercise of their respective businesses, with an eye on evolving from engineering-led firms into customer-focused solution providers.

Under the exercise, Kirloskar Oil Engines, Kirloskar Chillers, Kirloskar Pneumatic, Kirloskar Ferrous Industries and Kirloskar Industries will 'refresh' their respective vision, offerings, technology, brand articulation and employee practices as a step towards becoming a fully integrated conglomerate.

Without disclosing details, the group said there will be significant investments in new consumer-facing ventures, such as the realty business Avante Spaces and non-banking finance company Arka Fincap.

The development comes at a time when the feud over the deed of family settlement over the assets of the more than 130-year old Kirloskar group reached the Supreme Court, with Sanjay Kirloskar, CMD of Kirloskar Brothers Ltd, knocking at the doors of the apex court against an order of the Bombay High Court that had relegated the dispute to arbitration.

Announcing the 'refresh' exercise, Kirloskar Oil Engines Executive Chairman Atul Kirloskar said, "We have undertaken the journey towards becoming a fully integrated conglomerate. Our new vision keeps the changing needs of the customer in mind, reorienting us from manufacturing to solutions around it." In a virtual address, he further said, "We are going from a solid, engineering-driven firm to a future-ready firm, geared for an enhanced customer experience. We are looking at the adoption of new-age technology solutions and digitisation, a future-ready team that is exposed to the best people practices and recognises and rewards performance." Under the reorientation, the firms have set a new slogan 'Limitless' spanning over eight business areas, laying the foundation for aggressive plans in the B2C domain whilst continuing to power growth in the B2B companies.

"This will include large investments over two to three years across all business lines. This also involves infusion of new technologies, apart from new offerings including real estate and NBFC," the group said.

Among the new consumer-facing businesses, there will be significant investment in the realty business Avante Spaces and Arka Fincap, the non-banking finance company (NBFC), it added.

Avante Spaces is developing the first of its land parcels and it is looking at a mixed-development offering that includes retail and commercial space in smart buildings.

Arka Fincap, which was established last year as a subsidiary of Kirloskar Oil Engines, had started operations with a seed capital of Rs 1,000 crore.

It is focusing on structured term financing solutions for corporations and loans to MSME borrowers and the real estate sector. In three years, Arka Fincap will expand into retail lending and consumer finance, the group said.

Explaining the rationale behind the focus on customer-oriented business, Kirloskar Pneumatic Executive Chairman Rahul Kirloskar said, "We are now expanding our horizons and have made leaps from just products to solutions, to customer centricity and now to digital architecture." On a question why the new businesses Avante Spaces and Arka Fincap haven't used the Kirloskar brand, Atul said, "We have retained the Kirloskar brand for our core manufacturing businesses. Kirloskar has long been synonymous with engineering excellence, and for our non-manufacturing businesses, that is the new ones -- real estate and financial services. We have chosen new names as we believe they have enough potential to stand on their own." Replying to a query on what happens to the old slogan of 'Kirloskar -- Enriching Lives', Rahul said, "All the trademarks and copyrights in respect of the brand kirloskar belong to Kirloskar Proprietary Ltd and continue to be owned by it as the sole owner. Kirloskar Proprietary licenses such trademarks and copyright to its licensee companies for use. Therefore Kirloskar Proprietary decides what to do with all its marks."

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