The Book ‘Forging Mettle’ is written by Pavan C Lall and covers the story of Nrupender Rao, the Founder of Pennar Group.
Pennar Group, along with the Nagarjuna Group, were amonst the pioneering business groups from Hyderabad. The book explains the cultural, economic and political context in which these business groups evolved.
Nrupender Rao was brilliant at academics. He went to IIT Kharagpur and then to US for his Masters. At the insistence of his family, he returned to India to contribute to the Motherland.
He started his career with the Coromandel, then Union Carbide and later joined Mr. Raju who started the Nagarjuna Group.
After a few years in the Nagarjuna Group, Mr. Rao set up the Pennar Group which was into steel initially.
The author does a good job of explaining how the Group grew and then its financial woes due to diworseification and finally how the Group recovered.
One of the most interesting takeaway from the Book was how Eight Capital helped turned around Pennar Group and some of the things they check to ensure Promoters don’t siphon funds away.
Mr. Rao and other entrepreneurs of his generation were focussed on creating jobs & employment. Hence they rarely made detailed financial plans about new ventures etc. They considered themeselves as industrialists first and business people later. This lack of focus on profits ensured many of their diversifications were not successful. But there is no denying the stellar role they played in the industrialisation of India
I would recommend this Book to those interested in Indian business