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Liver surgeon Kanoria turns banker in Europe

Buys Austrian lender as brothers, of Srei group, await fate of banking licence application

Dev Chatterjee  |  Mumbai 

Sanjeev Kanoria
Sanjeev Kanoria

When graduated from Kolkata's RG Kar Medical College in 1988, he probably never imagined that one day he would end up owning a bank in Austria, by paying close to ^65.5 million (Rs 556 crore).

On Thursday, Austrian bank AG announced its sale to Pte Ltd, owned by Sanjeev. "I was looking for an opportunity in the financial services business from quite some time, and this was the right opportunity at the right time," he said, speaking over phone from London.

According to the agreement, Sanjeev will take over as the vice-chairman of It was a part of the group, nationalised in 2009 following the global financial crisis. The regional retail and business-banking businesses of Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank AG were split; the unit achieved positive annual results in 2011 and 2012.

Sanjeev (50), second of the Kanoria brothers of Srei Infrastructure Finance, left for London soon after he completed his MBBS. Later, he did an MBA from in 1997. He completed his PhD in 2009 from University College, London. "Soon after my MBA, I was consulting with McKinsey & Co in strategy and finance. Then, I went back to set up my own healthcare business, called Advinia Health Care, which employs 1,000 people in the UK as of today," said Sanjeev, on the nomination list of the Queen's Birthday Honours in the UK.

His younger brother, Sunil Kanoria, said the family consults among themselves before every major decision.

"The family helps each other and we consult each other," said Sunil Kanoria, co-founder and vice-chairman of Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd. Srei Infrastructure has applied for a banking licence to the Reserve Bank of India and might look at synergies, if necessary. "We will definitely talk to each other or (explore) various opportunities if Srei gets the licence," said Sanjeev.

Among the Kanoria brothers, Hemant and Sunil set up Srei Infrastructure Finance. Sanjeev went to the UK to specialise in liver transplants. The youngest of the family, Sujit, is in New Delhi looking after an infrastructure development business. "This (Alpe-Adria) is Sanjeev's own venture and he is steering this on his own," Sunil clarified.

The bank has assets of around Euro 3.5 billion and services 56,000 clients from 14 branches in the southern region of Carinthia and via two subsidiaries in Vienna and Salzburg. The acquisition, Kanoria said, has been financed by banks and owns funds. His health care business in the UK is said to be doing well. So, where will Sanjeev spend more time - with his patients or clients? "I don't perform liver transplants on a daily basis. I will have plenty of time for the bank. I do have management teams across all the businesses and I'm helping in ensuring a strategy is in place and is implemented well," said Sanjeev, as he gets ready to take a flight to Mumbai to consult for Hiranandani hospital.


* 1988 MBBS from University of Calcutta

* 1992 Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, (England & Glasgow)

* 1997 MBA (London Business School)

* 2008 FRCS (transplant) from intercollegiate board of UK

* 2009 PhD (University College, London)

First Published: Sat, December 21 2013. 00:58 IST