How AM Naik saved L&T from takeover attempt by Ambani and Birla group without losing them as customers – Times of India

by The Technical Blogs

Anil Manibhai Naik’s journey with L&T began in 1965 as a junior engineer and he steadily climbed the corporate ladder, eventually becoming the chairman emeritus in 2023. Last September, he handed over the reins of this engineering-to-IT-to-financial services behemoth to SN Subrahmanyan. But, did you know that at one time Birla group and the Ambani group wanted to take over Larsen & Toubro?
During his tenure, Anil Naik faced challenges from fellow Gujarati businessmen Kumar Mangalam Birla and Dhirubhai Ambani, who attempted to take over L&T.Defending L&T against these takeover attempts was a difficult task. “On one hand I had a role to play to save L&T. On the other hand, I also had a role not to lose them as our customers,” Naik told ET in an interaction. He didn’t lose either – Naik successfully protected the company while also maintaining good relations with the Reliance Group and Birla, who remain valued clients of L&T.
Anil Naik’s management style was characterized by being tough yet respectful. Despite the conflicts in the L&T boardroom, he never lost his cool and always remained gentle with his opponents. This approach not only helped him navigate difficult situations, but it also strengthened his relationships with industry leaders like Mukesh Ambani, Kumar Birla, and others.
“It’s all about being tough yet being respectful. In 2003, Mr Birla and I finally shook hands. He got up from his seat and so did I,” he was quoted as saying. “Be it Mukesh Ambani or his father or Kumar Birla, I never lost my cool,” he said. “In fact I was gentle with them even when I was fighting them in the L&T boardroom for over two years. Each one of us were doing our jobs.”
Recently, L&T received a remarkable single order worth Rs 25,000 crore from Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, to construct a refinery in Saudi Arabia. Anil Naik, who received the Economic Times Award for Lifetime Achievement, expressed his pride in this achievement. L&T’s success extends beyond Saudi Arabia. The company has also secured a petrochemical order worth Rs 10,000 crore in neighboring Qatar.
In 1993, AM Naik made a strategic decision for Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to expand its offerings by adding an Engineering, Project construction, procurement, and Construction vertical. This move proved to be successful as within four years, L&T qualified for seven out of the twelve clean fuel tenders it had applied for.
Over the past 58 years, Anil Naik has played a pivotal role in transforming L&T into a true Indian multinational corporation. The company’s projects span across countries like UAE, Kuwait, Netherlands, Algeria, and the UK.

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