The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Business and little else at Birla Corp

Calcutta, July 20: The fortune feud over Priyamvada Birla’s purported will did not spill over into the boardroom of Birla Corporation, the MP Birla group flagship that met here today for the first time after her demise.

The most keenly watched meeting in recent years, which began with a condolence to the departed soul, was chaired by co-chairman R. S. Lodha. It gave managing director of K. C. Mittal a fresh three-year term.

A senior board member said the session that lasted over an hour was “very cordial” with Lodha telling the directors that it was best to focus on first-quarter results and other pressing matters of business, given that it was hardly a month since Priyamvada passed away.

The placid state of affairs inside the five-star hotel off the E.M. Bypass — where the meeting was shifted at the eleventh hour in an unsuccessful effort to put media off the trail — was matched only by the scrum outside as scribes scrambled for the latest in the Birla will war.

Sources said the nominees of financial institutions felt an adequately empowered board committee should be set up to oversee day-to-day operations of Birla Corp until the row over Priyamvada’s will is settled.

J. K. Roy, who represents IDBI on the board, refused to divulge what transpired at the meeting, saying everything discussed inside the boardroom should stay within, at a time when the inheritance tussle has turned sensitive. Vikram Swarup, another director, said three to four issues were raised and resolved unanimously.

Birla Corp has posted a first-quarter net profit of Rs 29.4 crore, up 45 per cent from Rs 20.2 crore in the same period of the last financial year. Total income (net of excise) rose from Rs 260.6 crore to Rs 301.7 crore.

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