What would be the changes in the management of the company?
There will be two boards. Today, there is a separate MD for Chola Finance, there is a MD for Chola Insurance and a MD for TII. Tomorrow, there will be a board on top of Chola Finance and Insurance. Its constitution will be decided in due course of time. The TII board will continue. Perhaps we will get some new people and some of the existing members might go to the board of the financial services company. From a management perspective, this would give more focus to the respective businesses.
You have formed the Corporate Strategy Group, which acts as an incubator for new business ideas. What do you expect from it over a period of time?
I am not able to put a number to it, which we might do after an year or so. We are looking at opportunities which require a lot of detailed study. We did the Brooks Bicycle online business from scratch, looking at various aspects of the business. Similarly, we could look at other sectors also, such as the manufacturing side. We have various skills in TII with tubes and metal forming and we can look at offering products to other businesses with this. Largely, we cater to the auto industry, but we are also looking at the agricultural sector — in mechanisation, where we can make some parts. While we do not know much about it, the group will do the market research, consumer research and the skill sets required. Once that is done, they will hand it over for execution and investment.
Chola Finance has recently invested into a start-up. Is TII looking at investing in start-ups?
We don't mind if it is going to add some value to us. In terms of technology or market reach, if it is going to add value, we will look at it. We have looked at a few in the service side, automotive and others, but we have not finalised anything. That could also be part of the Corporate Strategy Group.
How will the goods and services tax (GST) regime help you and what are the preparations for the transition?
Generally, we expect next year should be better. I think, except for the initial implementation problem, GST would be good for us. This is because procedurally, it will become easier. We have not yet estimated its benefit, but I think we will indeed benefit from it. There could be some initial teething problems but I think we can overcome that. For instance, component makers in the bicycle industry are not very sophisticated or organised and they are not an excised commodity. We are doing a lot of training now. We are conducting workshop for them on how and what they should do and how it will benefit them.