Corus in handen van Indiase weldoener, Het Financieele Dagblad,
The Netherlands,
11 November 2006

English Translation: Corus in handen van Indiase weldoener
Newspaper: Het Financieele Dagblad, The Netherlands
Date: 11 November 2006

The Indian Tata Group, which is about to take over the British–Dutch company Corus, is praised for its business ethics.

Brussels – According to Mr. Doongaji, the managing director of Tata Services, ethical business practices constitute a part of the Tata Group’s heritage.

This Indian business concern was founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868. His credo, Doongaji explained, was that in business, the community is not just one of the interested parties but the purpose of its existence.

Jamsetji Tata’s descendants have wholeheartedly adhered to the credo by placing 67% of the Tata Group shares in a foundation. It earmarks 67% of the dividends for humanitarian causes such as school projects and flood relief assistance.

Doongaji spoke about the “cycle of wealth” whereby over the years, billions of dollars have been funnelled back into the community.

The conglomerate is listed on the Bombay stock market, trades, among other things, in steel and real estate, and has a market capitalisation of $47.6 billion. In the 2005-2006 fiscal year, it generated a $21.9 billion turnover and $2.1 billion in earnings. The group has about 203,000 employees and operates in 54 countries.

Last week, the Tata Group received the Corporate Culture and Spirituality Award for Ethics in Business, which the former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers presented to Doongaji at the European Parliament in Brussels.

In his presentation speech, Lubbers stated, “When it comes to business ethics and responsible business practices, we in the West can no longer claim that we have lessons to teach to the rest of the world about this. There is so much to learn on this topic from other parts of the world, as the example of Tata demonstrates.”

Enlightened business practices

Lubbers’ friend confers an award on Tata

* The Indian Tata conglomerate receives a new award for business ethics

* Two-thirds of Tata’s dividends are allocated for good deeds

* The award was initiated by Ravi Shankar (photo), an influential spiritual leader

* The award was presented by former Dutch prime minister Ruud Lubbers

The Tata Group announced a surprise €6.4 billion take-over bid for the British–Dutch steel concern Corus last month. The Corus board agreed to the offer and this now needs to be approved by the shareholders.

Tata’s managing director Doongaji did not doubt that the shareholders would approve the bid. After he was presented with the ethics award, a futuristic looking cup, he talked to the press. He spoke about the Corus acquisition as an accomplished fact, “We have taken over Corus with the idea of a partnership.”

The award, the first one of its kind to be presented for business ethics, was an initiative by Ravi Shankar. He is an influential Indian spiritual leader and founder of the International Association for Human Values. Shankar and Lubbers know each other well. They are working together to promote the Earth Charter, whose objective is sustainable development.