“We are poised for a very aggressive expansion,” Group Chairman Sanjiv Goenka (pictured) told Bloomberg TV on Wednesday, saying the Kolkata-based conglomerate was looking to acquire more retail chains and related infrastructure after buying niche sector player Nature’s Basket in 2019. The intent, he said, is to “gain more critical mass” and “greater mass” when asked how he’ll take on sector giants such as billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries and American e-tailer Amazon.
The group, with $4 billion in annual revenues, is also scouting for targets in power utilities as well as IT-enabled services, where it has already bought three companies in the past 12 months. Goenka, however, eschews debt-fueled expansion and prefers to rely on internal accruals. “Theoretically, we could have been more aggressive,” he said. “We could have taken more debt. But we prefer not to grow by debt.”
Beyond expanding the group’s power distribution business, which includes listed utility CESC, Goenka is looking to secure more electricity from renewable energy sources. “We are not investing at all in the thermal power business,” he said. “It’s a conscious decision the board has taken.”
The tycoon is optimistic that the current inflation triggered by the global energy crisis will be a short-lived phenomenon. He expects the infl- ationary pressures to “balance out” in the next six months.
“We do see an impact of oil prices and there’s a mismatch in the supply scenario. In the short term, there’s a definite impact,” Goenka said. “We do believe it’s short term and won’t be significant in the long term.”