Ravi Rishi’s Vectra Group is the largest shareholder in Tatra Holdings, which owns Czech truck manufacturer Tatra, accused of supplying trucks at exorbitant prices to the Indian Army. The Vectra Group did not respond to an emailed questionnaire sent by Business Standard, though it has stated elsewhere about being “deeply concerned and anguished by the false and unfounded allegations of attempted offers to bribe, levied by Gen V K Singh”.
The Group stated it does not require a selling agent or agency or any person for canvassing and that it has received no formal complaint regarding the quality or performance of the Tatra truck in the past 26 years, either in India or elsewhere. Denying that Tatra trucks were priced exorbitantly, chief executive officer Ronald Adams said, “Tatra is a vehicle specially designed for severe Army use. It is unique in its construction and not a vehicle simply converted from civilian use to military use. We remain competitive globally."
Ravi Rishi, chairman of the Vectra Group, runs 18 companies, mostly in India and Eastern Europe. These have interests in aviation, heavy engineering, real estate, security systems, exploration and production of oil, automotive and information technology, and services industries.
A graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Rishi moved to Singapore in the late 1970s. He settled in London in 1985 and soon after, decided to look east and started investing heavily in Eastern European companies.
The Vectra Group on Friday operates eight manufacturing facilities in India, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Britain. An electrical engineer by qualification, Rishi believes in investing in business ventures which require specialised knowledge and technological expertise. In 2004, the Vectra Group acquired a helicopter operating firm in India, to provide offshore transportation services to oil and gas companies. Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd, with a fleet of 23 copters, has on its clientele Reliance Industries, British Gas and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation. The copters are manned by pilots recruited mostly from the defence services.
Rishi has also evinced keen interest in oil exploration. The Vectra Group is said to have bagged a licence under New Exploration Licensing Policy-VII in the Gulf of Cambay, Gujarat.
Through Indocopters Pvt Ltd, the Vectra Group sells and supports the advanced range of Eurocopter helicopters in India. The company has MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) facilities in Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh), Bhubaneswar (Odisha), Mumbai and Bangalore.
Rishi, who maintains that the Vectra Group is always in an acquisition mode, is on the look-out for companies in the machining industry. The Group wants to acquire companies which can manufacture high-end components for the aviation industry. It is also the largest shareholder in India Exposition Mart Ltd, which aims to be a one-stop shop for cottage industry products.
The Group has three joint venture agreements globally - with Kamaz of Russia for manufacturing trucks in India, with Orad of Israel in the field of security and with Eurocopter of France for distributing and maintaining helicopters.