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50 Golden Years of Driving Up the Road of Success

  • Wednesday, July 13, 2011 8:00AM IST (2:30AM GMT)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India: Armed with his legendary one man one truck and one vision, back in 1959, Patel led the entity effectively to make it one of the leading National Carriers of India. By starting from the grassroots, Patel visualised companies, studied them in detail and believed that to run & manage companies one needed the best & right manpower available. Nursing companies into profits and divesting them at a premium has become the order of the day for Patel. Vir Glass Work, an opal glass manufacturing company, was started in 1967 in Chennai. Patel grew & augmented this company into profits and then exited from the same at a premium to the famous Chesbourough Ponds, the makers of Ponds Cream in India. What makes him differ from the quintessential entrepreneur to a privy visionary was that he was fully aware of the importance of having trained professionals in the transport industry. He believed that for a business to grow the people running it must also grow, so to this end, he went on to conceive and establish the Patel Institute of Transport Management in 1975. Hundreds of professionals trained at this institute and form the backbone of many a leading transport undertakings besides holding high positions as Logistic & Supply Chain Heads both in large National & Multinational companies. When asked how the icon of the House of Patels came to be, Patel answered, "I was inspired to use the kangaroo as the House of Patels logo because I envisaged my business as carrying goods safely, securely and with speed across the length and breadth of India. A kangaroo hops at a speed of 40 miles per hour with a joey safe and secure in it's pouch. Also, the kangaroo only moves forward, never backwards. Below the ‘P' with the kangaroo stands our tagline ‘The symbol of trust'. I always believe trust begets trust. And so the logo came into being". Back in the 80s, retail courier business grew in leaps and bounds augmenting with it a corresponding need for consolidation of cargo for the string of courier companies across India. Not one to let an opportunity go by, Mr. Asgar Patel decided to seize this opportunity to become a cargo consolidator for courier companies. This gave birth to the legendary ‘Patel On Board Couriers Limited' (POBC) in 1988. The concept of ‘On board Couriers' was born & quickly accepted by domestic as well as International courier companies operating across India. In 1994, he decided to go public with the flagship company Patel Roadways Limited (PRL) through an IPO. The success of the IPO of PRL urged Patel to come out with another IPO for POBC in the same year. With these strategic moves, Patel garnered his excess funds & used them for expanding and diversifying his other businesses. This once again reiterates Mr. Patel's knack of picking the right business at the right time. Around this time, Patel's dynamic & charming son Areef entered into the arena. In a very short time from taking the baton, Areef amalgamated PRL & POBC for better synergy, to become Patel Integrated Logistics Ltd., which is a dependable & cost effective One-stop Logistics provider today. "Despite all the challenges being faced by the Cargo/Logistics Industry, I have no doubt of my son's capabilities in continuing to keep Patel Integrated Logistics Ltd. on the ‘high-way', says Patel. Whilst the Middle East & Gulf areas began to develop as a hotspot of business activity, Patel swiftly grabbed the opportunity & entered into the financial sector by setting up Wall Street Exchange Centre in Dubai in 1982. With the opening of the Exchange Centre, he successfully met the demand for foreign exchange which facilitated repatriation by millions of expatriates who made a beeline for these destinations. Wall Street Exchange Centre grew into an international organisation with a network of branches in UK, USA, Hong Kong, Canada and till date, remains one of the most leading, trusted and profitable companies in the foreign currency business. In 2005 when Emirates Post, a Federal Govt. of UAE Enterprise wanted a major stake in Patel's business, Patel's keen & far reaching vision saw this as an excellent opportunity to grow the Exchange Business in leaps and bounds, and therefore, sold 60 per cent of his stake in Wall Street Exchange Centre. In order to capitalise on the demands of an imminent boom in the Indian financial sector, Mr. Patel in 1986 established a finance company - Wall Street Finance Ltd.,(WSFL). WSFL was the first company in India to be given a full-fledged Money Changer Licences by the RBI. The other necessary licenses from RBI including additional licences at all international airports and two mobile licences soon followed suit. WSFL is one of the few Money Changers who was granted AD-II Licences by RBI, one notch lower than a Bank. Further, WSFL was one of the few Non-Banking Financial Institutions registered with RBI, empowering it to accept deposits from the public. Besides creating the brand of "Patel Roadways Limited" with the ‘kangaroo', the ‘Wall Street'-India and ‘Patel On-Board Couriers Ltd.' brands, Asgar Patel also introduced the ‘Instant Cash' & ‘Construction' brands. Instant Cash was a Global Instant Money Transfer Service launched for the ever-growing Money Remittance Market. This company was sold to Emirates Post at the time of divestment in 2005. Construction was another business which Patel felt would touch the skies. And, in keeping with his instinct, he established a Construction division and initiated Wall Street Construction Ltd. (WSCL) in 1986 & added on Natasha Construction Private Ltd. to it subsequently. The properties created by these companies in and around Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune & Goa etc., bear testimony to Mr. Patel's foresight in identifying lucrative business opportunities. Mr. Patel's business acumen can be fathomed by his milestones that include change of total ownership of WSCL to Reliance Money in 2008 to give them a stake in WSFL. Patel then transferred his entire stake in WSFL to Spice Group in October 2009. Mr. Patel has been silently performing and notching successes over the decades. From trucks, to construction business, to finance, Patel has been building his empire block by block. Patel has faith in his products and actively participates in his businesses till date. Even though only an advisor to his son Areef, Patel is very fond of his "very first baby-Patel Roadways Ltd". Similarly, he is ever willing to render advice & support to Wall Street Exchange Centre, where he is till date the Vice-Chairman and 40 percent partner. When asked who was behind his success, Patel says "the key to the success of our Institution is none other than my wife Yasmin. She is the anchor and Mother Teresa behind us all. She has always been there, nurturing and encouraging the teams, be it an office inauguration, picnic, or managers meeting. Without her spirit and inspiration to each and everyone across the organization, Patel Roadways Limited would not have been in existence. Yasmin has kept us united as one big ‘Patel family' with her munificence, and inspires us even till today". Patel further added, "I would also like to bestow a special thanks to my team. Yes, one may say it was my vision, but to make it a reality was the missionary zeal with which my teams worked and performed. Even today, we have in our midst many employees who have completed over four decades, besides a few others who have been there from inception itself. We also remember many others whose candles have burnt out, but certainly not their legends." This year makes it the Golden Year for the Patels. To have a successful 50 years for any entrepreneur is a long haul, particularly when Patel, a far-from-flamboyant man, started with one truck and one vision'. It would also be noteworthy to mention the Group has employed over 10,000 people during these five decades in India and abroad. The turnover of this enterprise is well over millions of dollars including it's overseas businesses. Little wonder then that the catchy 80's jingle "Patel Roadways Patel Roadways Kangaroo HaiNishani, JaniAurPahchani, Patel Roadways, Patel Roadways," is yet recalled with a sense of nostalgic fondness across the nation. Now, Patel having completed 72 years and having seen the Golden Jubilee year of the Patel Empire, will Patel hang up his boots and stick to his longtime passion golfing? Infact, just last month, Asgar Patel achieved another feather in his cap – he now proudly broadcasts his once in a lifetime achievement of a ‘hole-in-one' on the Majlis course in Dubai. Or will we see the yet ever-vibrant and zestful Asgar Patel notch a few more brands to his name before hanging onto his golf boots only? Only time will tell! For more information, please visit http://www.patel-india.com/ To view the photographs, please click on the links given below: Mr. Asgar Patel - Chairman & Founder of Patel Roadways Limited Asgar Patel - Teeing Off to Victory at the Patel Roadways Invitational Greensome Asgar Patel with his charming wife Yasmin Patel. "My pillar of strength & good luck charm", says Asgar Patel at his home 'Meadows' in Dubai

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Mr. Syed Husain, Patel Integrated Logistics Ltd, husains@patel-india.com, +91 (22) 26552459

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