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May 4, 2002 | 1515 IST
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'Biki' set to take charge of Oberoi group

BS Corporate Bureau

Mohan Singh Oberoi's mantle is expected to be taken over by his son, P R S 'Biki' Oberoi, currently the vice-chairman and managing director of the company.

There were three people who assisted M S Obeori in setting up his vast empire: his sons Biki and Tiki and his son-in-law Gautam Khanna. Tiki died several years ago. Khanna, who was looking after Mercury Travels, the travel wing of EIH Ltd, exited the company a few years back to set up his own business with Ananda in The Himalayas, India's first spa, in the Garhwal Himalayas.

The 73-years-old Biki has a son, Vikram, who looks after the operations of the group. Tiki's son Arjun is in charge of business development. Both Vikram and Arjun are on the board of directors of EIH Ltd.

For long, the succession plan in the Oberoi family has been a matter of great speculation in industry circles.

When the group first set the Trident chain of hotels, it was speculated that one of the two cousins would look after this chain, while the other would handle the Oberoi chain.

The pitch got queered subsequently when the group started executing super-luxury projects under brands like Amar Vilas, Uday Vilas, Vanya Vilas etc. Who would handle these brands?

However, things seem to be moving in the other direction with the Oberoi group contemplating amalgamation of group companies like EIH Associated, Indus Hotels, Wildflower Hall Resort Ltd, Rajgarh Opalace & Hotels Ltd and Kerala Hotels & Resorts Ltd into group flagship EIH Ltd.

A four-member committee comprising Biki Oberoi, Vikram, Arjun and EIH Ltd deputy managing director S S Mukherji is working on the project in association with DSP Merrill Lynch.

Amongst other things, the amalgamation will lead to a rise in the 40.57 per cent stake of the Oberois in EIH Ltd.

The Oberois are known to have raised their stake in the company in the last few months using the creeping acquisition route.

A couple of years ago, investment companies belonging to the ITC group -- which is a rival in the hotel business -- picked up over 10 per cent shares in EIH Ltd. This led to the Oberois looking at raising their stake in their flagship.

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