Shapoorji Pallonji group chairman and billionaire industrialist Pallonji Mistry passed away in Mumbai, company officials said. He died mid-sleep at his south Mumbai residence on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, the officials said. He was 93.
Mistry accumulated a net worth of almost $29 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him one of the richest in India. Most of the family wealth, was derived from being the largest minority shareholder in Tata Sons.
Shapoorji Pallonji group has a presence in Engineering & Construction, Infrastructure, Real Estate, Water, Energy and Financial Services. With a employee base of over 50,000 people, the group deliver end-to-end solutions across 50 nations, according to its website.
The Pallonji family own 18.4% stake in Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group. Founded in 1865, the SP Group has built some of Mumbai’s landmarks, including the Reserve Bank of India and and The Taj Mahal Palace hotel buildings in Mumbai.
Pallonji Mistry led the group’s expansion into the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai, in 1970. It won a contract to build the Sultan of Oman’s palace in 1971 and many ministerial buildings there.
Under his watch, the business developed into a conglomerate that included real estate, water, energy and financial services.
Mistry took a backseat after Shapoor, his eldest son, took over as chairman of SP Group companies in 2004.
Last year, Shapoorji Pallonji Group had sold its consumer durables business under the Eureka Forbes label to the American private equity fund Advent International. Eureka Forbes operates with brands like Aquaguard and Forbes.
Pallonji Mistry and his family were thrust into the spotlight in 2012, when his younger son Cyrus Mistry was chosen to helm the Tata group. He had taken over as the chairman in December 2012 after Ratan Tata announced his retirement. The bonhomie ended with his son’s ouster in October 2016, which triggered one of India’s worst corporate showdowns.
Last year, the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of Tata Sons Pvt. in its years-long dispute with Cyrus Mistry, dealing a blow to his family that owns about 18% of the nation’s biggest conglomerate.
The top court had said the 2016 ouster of Cyrus P. Mistry as chairman of Tata is legal, rejecting the former executive’s allegations of mismanagement by the group that makes products from salt to software and luxury Jaguar cars. The court also upheld Tata’s rules on minority shareholder rights, making it difficult for investors to sell shares.
In May this year, the Supreme Court had dismissed the review petition by Cyrus Mistry in the Tata versus Mistry legal case. The Supreme Court today dismissed SP group’s plea seeking review of 2021 verdict upholding removal of Cyrus Mistry as head of Tata Sons. N Chandrasekaran is currently the executive chairman of Tata Sons.
In addition to his two sons, Pallonji Mistry had two daughters, Laila and Aloo. The latter married Noel Tata, the half-brother of Ratan Tata.
(With Agency Inputs)