Nawaz Modi Singhania, 53, estranged wife of billionaire industrialist Gautam Singhania has sought for 75% of his reportedly $1.4 billion net worth for her two daughters Niharika and Nisa and herself, as part of a family settlement, following the couple’s separation said people in the know.
While Singhania is believed to have largely agreed to the demand, he has suggested setting up a family trust and transfer the family’s wealth and assets in it where he would be the sole managing trustee. Upon his death, his family members would be allowed to bequeath the assets after him, the people mentioned above said. This is believed to be unacceptable to Nawaz.
People familiar with trust laws said, there are three main parties in a trust: a settler, who puts money in the trust, a trustee who acts as an administrator and a beneficiary. One of the three has to be different. “A trust is about a relationship first, law second. A settler can also be a trustee. But not all three. That would defeat the purpose,” said a Mumbai based tax specialist on condition of anonymity. “These come under contract law provisions.”
There are already several trusts within the group for example, JK Trusts, Smt Sunitidevi Singhania Hospital Trust that also owns 1.04% of Raymond Ltd. Gautam Singhania is the Chairman and Managing Trustee of it and Nawaz Singhania a trustee.
Haigreve Khaitan, senior partner at Khaitan & Co has been appointed as a legal advisor for Gautam Singhania while Mumbai based law firm Rashmi Kant is believed to be roped in by Nawaz. Family friends of the Singhania’s’ that ET spoke to said, Akshay Chudasama, Managing Partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. who is close to both sides has been trying to mediate between the couple to agree to a possible reconciliation or a mutually acceptable situation. "There is no further development on what is seen as an initial stand. Family matters are unpredictable, especially couple estrangements where both sides are concerned about the welfare of their children" an official said seeking anonymity.
Gautam Singhania did not respond to an email seeking comment. Messages sent to Nawaz Singhania too did generate a response till press time Sunday.
The discussions, though ongoing for past few weeks, are still at an early stage. No decision has been reached as yet.
"It is an extremely fluid situation and both sides are adamant about their respective stands,” said a source close to the matter. “After the initial stand taken by both sides, things could move in a totally different direction or take an unpredictable turn. It is too early to talk about a wealth split at this point of time. Both Nawaz and Gautam are keen to secure the future of their daughters. That’s priority one. As with such family feuds, no can foretell the direction of the dispute" the official added.
After 32 years of being together as a couple, billionaire industrialist Gautam Singhania publicly announced last Monday his separation from his wife, Nawaz Modi Singhania, on X (formerly Twitter). The chairman and managing director of Raymond didn't reveal much detail regarding the reason behind the separation but said “as I reflect over the unfortunate developments in the recent past, there has been a lot of unsubstantiated rumour mongering and gossip surrounding our lives fanned by “not so well wishers”. It is my belief that Nawaz and I will pursue different paths from here on ….”
Apart from running a chain of fitness centres called Body Art, Nawaz Singhania, one of the first aerobics and wellness experts in South Mumbai, is also on the board of directors of the listed flagship company Raymond Ltd which has a market value of ₹11,875.42 crore as on Friday. The company in FY23 had annual consolidated income of ₹8214.7 crore and profit after tax (PAT) of ₹536.9 crore, as per data from BSE.
Led by Gautam Singhania as its chairman and managing director, as on September 2023, the promoter holding is 49.11 per cent held through Singhania family members, trusts and promoter companies. Within the promoter group J K Investors (Bombay) Limited owns the single largest shareholding at 29.83%. Another promoter group entity J K Investo Trade (India) Limited owns 12.43% of Raymond.
In her individual capacity Nawaz Singhania owns just 2500 shares of Raymond while Gautam Hari Singhania owns 29 shares only, as per BSE data.
In all Nawaz is on the board of 11 companies including unlisted Raymond Consumer Care and JK Investors Bombay Ltd among others.
Diversified business interestsWith a global geographical footprint ranging from Indonesia, UK, USA, Switzerland, Raymond Group is a diversified conglomerate that is into a wide range of businesses but is most well-known for its brands in textiles, apparel, denim and consumer care. It is also into Engineering and real estate as well as education (Singhania schools).
From suiting, shirting, garmenting, high end cotton shirting, ethnic wear to retail, Raymond is among the top 3 leading players in the menswear industry with a strong portfolio of four powerful brands- Raymond (Ready-To-wear), Park Avenue, ColorPlus and Parx. It has further diversified with ethnic wear, Ethnix by Raymond, custom made tailoring, as well as home furnishing segments.
Group company Ring plus Aqua has three state-of-the-art facilities for manufacturing of ring gears, flex plates, integral shaft (water pump) bearings & machined components located in the industrial belt of Sinnar-Nashik, Maharashtra-India. Similarly JK Files and Engineering Ltd, another Raymond Ltd subsidiary is into tools and hardware engineering items for industrial uses and automotive components. On November 3rd, Raymond Group, announced the acquisition of 59.25% stake in Maini Precision Products Ltd (MPPL) for ₹682 crore, to venture into precision engineering in aerospace, EV and defence sector. Raymond in an exchange filing said it will consolidate its existing engineering and automotive components businesses under JK Files & Engineering Ltd and Ring Plus Aqua Ltd (RPAL), with MPPL, in order to form a new subsidiary called “Newco" where Raymond will hold 66.3%, RPAL will hold 5.2% and MPPL Group will hold 28.5%. The proforma consolidated revenue of Newco as of FY23 is estimated to be around ₹1,600 crore with an operating income of around ₹ 220 crore.
Raymond had ventured into real estate in 2019 by launching a residential real estate project on its factory land at Thane, near Mumbai. The factory was shut over a decade ago and the company has been monetising the land bank by constructing residential units on it. In Thane alone, the company owns a 100-acre land parcel which is plans to develop. Raymond Realty also plans to launch a premium apartment projects in the Bandra micro-market in Mumbai. Overall, the company is expecting a top line potential of around ₹27,000 crore from real estate alone, with a lion’s share coming from Thane, where it is expecting revenues of close to ₹25,000 crore, of which ₹9,000 crore has been launched, and half of that has been booked, Harmohan Sahni, CEO of Raymond Realty, told Moneycontrol in October.
As a 98-year old brand, Gautam Singhania told shareholders in the annual general meeting of shareholders earlier this July that the group aims to be “future ready organization with a sharper business focus.” As part of that, the group sold the FMCG business of Raymond Consumer Care (RCCL), a subsidiary of Raymond Ltd to Godrej Consumer Products Ltd in April this year via a slump sale for ₹2825 crore in an all cash transaction. This helped Raymond become net debt free at the group level. The business had marquee brands such as Park Avenue (for the consumer products category), KS (deodorants), KamaSutra, and Premium. Park Avenue as a clothing brand will remain with Raymond. As per RoC data, Raymond Consumer Care Ltd in FY23 had ₹621.7 crore revenues and PAT of ₹36.02 crore.
The group in future had identified two major growth areas lifestyle and real estate and was demerging the lifestyle businesses into Raymond Consumer Care Limited will create a listed entity with a pure play B2C-focussed lifestyle business.