RPG Group patriarch Rama Prasad Goenka dead

Kolkata, April 14 (IANS) Renowned industrialist and RPG Group founder Rama Prasad Goenka, a doyen of Bengal industry, died Sunday morning at his residence in Kolkata after a brief illness.

He was 83, and is survived by wife Sushila and two sons Harsh Vardhan and Sanjiv.

While Harsh is now RPG Enterprises chairman, his younger brother is the chairman of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, after the tycoon amicably divided his entire business between them about three years ago.

Regarded as “takeover king”, Rama Prasad Goenka established RPG Enterprises in 1979 with Phillips Carbon Black, Asian Cables, Agarpara Jute and Murphy India as constituents, with an annual turnover of around Rs.105 crore.

In the 1980s, he made a series of acquisitions, the first being tyre company CEAT in 1981.

The group then went on to acquire Searle India, now RPG Life Sciences (1983), Gramophone Company of India Ltd, now Saregama India (1985), Harrisons Malayalam (1988), and finally CESC and Spencer (1989).

The take over spree of RPG created a national media buzz.

The industrialist, who had been close to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was a Rajya Sabha member between 2000 and 2006.

Goenka, a past president of the Federation of Indian Chambers Commerce and Industry (FICCI), received from the Emperor of Japan “The Order Of the Sacred Treasure Gold and Silver Star”.

In 2010, the RPG Group patriarch declared the formal split and division of assets between his two sons, who were running all the companies within the umbrella brand.

The next year, RPG’s younger son Sanjiv launched a new group corporate identity RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group for the companies controlled by him.

The new group includes CESC, Philips Carbon Black, Spencers and Music World, Saregama India, and infrastructure entity CESC Properties Limited.

The Harsh-controlled companies are tyre maker Ceat, power transmission company KEC International, RPG Life Sciences and Zensar Technologies, an IT and BPO services company, among others.

Goenka was chairman emeritus of both the groups, which have a combined turnover of around Rs.30,000 crore.

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