Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Power of thinking Big Shri Hemendra Kothari, Chairman, DSP Merrill Lynch

Shri Hemendra Kothari, Chairman, DSP Merrill Lynch
Mukeshbhai, Anilbhai, friends sitting on the dais and admirers and friends of Dhirubhai.
Today we all are meeting to pay our homage to Dhirubhai. I just want to recollect few
of my experiences with Dhirubhai and my impression of the years with him. When I
came here, Mr. Shah, our Stock Exchange secretary for many years, gave me an
article, which came in The Times of India, on 17th of March. I think it is very apt that I
read it. The paragraph in the article quotes Dhirubhai saying, “I started my business
career in Mumbai with a chair and a table at a sum of Rs.150 per month. I didn’t even
have a phone then. When I needed money to set up an industry, I went to the Bombay
Stock Exchange. There I learnt the process of generating wealth and creating assets.”
It was at the BSE where he learnt his life’s basic philosophy to win people’s trust and
share wealth. So apt for him, he shared his wealth with four million shareholders,
which is a record in the world.
I recollect the first time I met him, which was 25 years ago. It was just after the issue,
the first IPO; my company must have sold some few thousand shares, he calls me to
tell that whoever has sold the share is forgetting that the share is going to be ten times.
Actually it went on to become more than a few hundred times.
The second incident I recollect, as Deenaben was talking about raising 100 crores,
which was absolutely unheard of in the capital market. There were very few issues, 9
to 10 crores to sell in the early 70s was a record. Not only was he himself convinced,
but he also convinced all of us that he could sell the shares, whether it was convertible
or non-convertible issues or shares. He inspired brokers to go to small towns and
villages and sell his shares. To have a general meeting in a football stadium was
unheard of. He thought of his shareholders all the time. I think that created a lot of
confidence in the people around.
Coming out of his office was coming out inspired and recharged. That’s the kind of
enthusiasm he created when you talked to him. Once we (Merrill Lynch) were
discussing with Anilbhai about raising 100 years bond, which was never heard of
before. And I think the only company that Merrill Lynch thought could raise money was
Reliance. And this is the type of confidence that he created with investors, whether
local or international. He was thinking really mega. Today in Asia if any industrialist is
thought of as number one, then that is Dhirubhai.
We all will miss him. Mukeshbhai and Anilbhai, we believe that with the experience
given to you by Dhirubhai, your company will go very far. We wish you all the best and
also remember Dhirubhai as a great man.
Thank you.