A minute for your Feedback please

Monday, March 7, 2011

Google people's antecedents before investing or repent in leisure

Temptation Foods is a company ever in the news whether for
  • a failed takeover bid(for Kohinoor Foods)
  • an income tax raid(resulting in 9Crores+ additional accepted tax demand)
  • Failure to pay the EMI for acquired company(Karen Anand foods)
  • Doubts of windowdressing the books due to rapid growth(to its credit the company is clean..on paper)
  • Its annual report-full of irrelevant drivel, pictures and quotations. 
  • Its MD's flamboyant lifestyle(it IS none of my concern but has affected the company as appears below).
But when I thought  the company could sink no lower, the MD is arrested for his involvement in the home ministry bribery scam, and is accused of supplying call girls(!). He had nominated his girlfriend as an independent director  Another blogger & renowned trainer Gaurav has covered this here in amazing depth.

But having an independent director/key management personnel with doubtful antecedents is not unique to Temptation Foods. In several other Indian companies, you see some/all of these features
  1. 40-50yr olds, part of the key management, drawing salary<10Lakhs(or at times even below 5 Lakh Rs). And this is without any options...
  2. Independent directors with irrelevant expertise(for this purpose I would justify business expertise(in that industry), supplier/client experience, financial, legal and tax expertise as relevant). How can actors, ex police officers etc add any value?
  3. Directors independent in name only where a cursory internet search throws up details of their friendships with the promoter/CEO. I do not say that the two should keep an arm's length, but the independence is compromised due to friendship. 
  4. Not disclosing the remuneration statement of employees drawing>Rs 2Lakh/month-the shareholder must demand it from the company.
In all the above cases, Googling would help you
  1. Run a sanity check on industry pay scales to justify the low pay for KMP
  2. Resignations of directors(past and recent)
  3. Arrests/Tax Raids/Litigation against the company/its management
  4. Bulletin boards devoted to pumping and critiquing the company-BOTH are quite helpful specially the ones on moneycontrol, Rediff Money
  5. Blog posts written on the company
 Takeaway:- If we accept the hypothesis that a company's key to success is its people, then the cursory profile in annual reports do not tell us much about the company's core assets-its people. In this era of Linkedlin, Facebook, web media etc, we do not have an excuse for ignorance on this aspect.

No comments: