Shriram group: Billionaire Ajay Piramal plans to step down from Shriram Capital

By Baiju Kalesh and P R Sanjai

Ajay Piramal said he plans to resign as chairman of Shriram Capital Ltd., the Indian non-bank finance company backed by South Africa’s Sanlam Group, as he works to sell his stake in Shriram’s parent group.

“I will step down in due course as I do not have much role in Shriram Capital,” Piramal said in a recent interview in Mumbai. He declined to share details.

Piramal, who was named chairman of unlisted Shriram Capital in 2014, is exiting the Chennai-based group after failing to consolidate his holdings into a non-banking financial behemoth amid a cash crunch in India’s financial system. He is now planning two funds to invest in embattled realty projects and lend to retail borrowers after announcing a $770 million capital raise.

The Shriram Group is urging Piramal to continue as chairman even if he doesn’t hold any shares, founder R Thyagarajan said by phone.

The Indian billionaire’s pharmaceuticals-to-real estate group Piramal Enterprises Ltd. sold its 10% stake in truck financier Shriram Transport Finance Co. in June and has started the process to sell its 20% in Shriram Capital.

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