By: Chandrashekar Bhat
MEGHRAJ GROUP has reaffirmed its commitment to business growth and contribution to society as the international financial services and consulting organisation celebrates its centenary.
Headquartered in the British Isles, the group’s main businesses include Meghraj Capital, focused on investment banking advisory and MTC Trust & Corporate Services which provides fiduciary services.
The group has its origin in Nairobi where an Indian-origin teenage entrepreneur – Meghji Pethraj Shah – founded his first business in 1922. The entity, Raichand Brothers, was then involved in wholesaling and retailing.
Shah expanded his business into manufacturing, trading, plantations, finance and logistics.
Notable businesses he owned in East Africa included Kenya Tanning Extract Company and Kenya Aluminium Works. Many of his businesses were founded and grew through his partnership with Premchand Vrajpal Shah.
In the 1940s and early 1950s, the entrepreneur expanded his operations into the country of his origin – Shah was born in Gujarat, India from where emigrated to Kenya at the age of 15.
He moved his family from Kenya to India in 1953 to focus on his charitable work in healthcare and education. Four years later, he shifted to the UK where the second phase of the family’s business began.
In 1973, Shah’s sons – Vipin and Anant – started a financial services group. It grew over the decades to include Meghraj Bank in London, Meghraj Bank (IOM) in the Isle of Man and Minerva Trust & Corporate Services headquartered in Jersey. Meghraj Capital and MTC Trust & Corporate Services are also part of the group.
“This is a very important landmark for our family and our business,” group chairman Vipin said, referring to its centenary.
“My brother Anant and I wanted to follow in our father’s footsteps… We are also happy with the way we have managed our succession and transition of the business across generations.”
The Meghraj family continues to focus on charitable work. Since the death of the group founder in 1964, their charitable trusts have donated funds to many institutions founded by him, and other institutions, mainly in the UK, India and Kenya.
The late Shah, who was also a member of India’s parliament, had donated money to build more than 100 hospitals, medical facilities and schools. Donations were made to build institutions including the MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi and in Gujarat the MP Shah Medical College, MP Shah Cancer Hospital, and the MP Shah Municipal College of Commerce & Law.
The current value of the donations, land and buildings of the institutions the family has established exceeds $250 million (£185m).
Group managing director Binoy Meghraj, who joined the family business in 1990, said, “we have developed an effective balance between our professional management team and the role of the family. We also take very seriously our responsibilities to contribute to society as we learned from my grandfather.”