Kailash K Agarwal
Kailash K Agarwal
An eminent business leader and a global entrepreneur, Kailash Kedarnath Agarwal epitomizes the moniker of a self-made man who has built a multinational conglomerate on the twin pillars of professionalism and ethics. Mr. Agarwal is an Indian national holding Non-Resident Indian status for the past 34 years, having made UAE his permanent home, with business interests spanning continents.
Mr. Agarwal’s career graph ascended at a young age when he handled the late Ashok Birla’s International Business Division, overseeing Group offices in Singapore, Taiwan and UK, besides the trade offices in Africa. He handled trade, collaborations and international finances for the Group in India’s controlled regime of the times. Kailashji, as he is fondly called by his friends and associates, went on to establish several successful businesses over the next 40 years, in sectors as varied as Trading, Shipping, Commodities, Petroleum, Finance, Manufacturing and Real Estate.
The Early Years
Branching out on his own, Mr. Agarwal founded Nishant Import Export LLC in 1987 and ventured into international trading. A few years into the business, he embarked on trading of Indian paper’s financial instruments in the international markets. His sharp acumen foresaw the high interest rate regime of those years migrating to the present-day low interest rate regime, yielding significant gains on the SBI Bonds that opened for subscriptions at 8% per annum and eventually dropped to 3% ahead of maturity.
Mr. Agarwal then made an upstream foray into Shipping to complement his international trading in oil & gas products The company owned 18 liquid tankers, shipping large quantities of kerosene and furnace oil from the Middle East to India, till the demand dropped notably on opening of domestic refineries. His deep knowledge in ships enabled him to acquire retiring ships from international shipping companies and then either selling them to scrap yards in India or getting the ships disintegrated for value-creation through sale of the retrieved parts.
When India opened up to the global markets in the 90s, there was huge demand for gold and silver. Meeting this avalanche of demand, Mr. Agarwal successfully facilitated the import of huge volumes of the precious metals into the country, while his trading businesses grew and emerged as a name of repute in the international markets.
Even as he enjoyed tremendous success internationally, he always harboured an intense desire to give back to his motherland. Be it setting up businesses back home to generate employment for his fellow countrymen or contributing to social causes for the betterment of society, Mr. Agarwal followed his heart to make his contribution to his homeland India.
Return To Roots
Being a global citizen for decades and having witnessed the high quality of life in the West and the Middle East, Mr. Agarwal always wanted to emulate these global standards in India. The insufficient infrastructure, poor civic amenities and the dangerous condition of buildings in the country’s financial capital Mumbai caught his attention and inspired him.
When the Government of India opened up FDI investments in the country’s real estate sector and encouraged cluster redevelopment projects to give dignified life to its citizens living in dilapidated homes, Mr. Agarwal forayed into Mumbai’s real estate sector with the setting up of a dedicated real estate company – Avighna India.
Mr. Agarwal’s meticulous attention to detail and commitment to quality in all his ventures has won him the unwavering support of his clients and associates. In a span of less than a decade, Mumbai’s real estate sector widely recognized him as someone who redefined the standards of developing high-value niche projects.
Recognizing the importance of developing large parcels of land in the city rather than focusing on smaller individual developments, Mr. Agarwal took up the challenge of developing Mumbai’s first large-scale cluster development scheme in the heartland neighbourhood of Parel. Where Mumbai’s top developers refused to take up this daunting project, as an NRI he took up the redevelopment of Haji Kasam Chawls, which housed three generations of more than 600 mill worker families in crumbling homes and dangerous conditions. Today, the 6.5-acre compound has transformed into Avighna Estate, a sustainable urban renewal development of 4-million square feet that has not only set the benchmark in successful cluster redevelopment in Mumbai, but also enshrined Mr. Agarwal’s reputation as the city’s premier developer.
With deeply-instilled family values and solid exposure to a principled, values-driven approach to business early in his career, Mr. Agarwal is a champion of ethical wealth-creation. It is his philosophy that ethical wealth creation is not just about legal and corporate compliance, but also about conforming with the moral compass. Even as he has worked hard and explored every opportunity as an entrepreneur to generate tremendous wealth across sectors and across continents, he has always engaged in businesses and ventures that he has been proud to be associated with.
Maintaining high standards of ethics came with its own set of challenges – be it in the form of a reluctant bureaucracy or motivated detractors, but Mr. Agarwal never compromised on his ethics, convinced that honesty may delay an outcome, but the success is soul-satisfying. Not the one to cow down to a wrongful or unethical demand, Mr. Agarwal has fiercely contested wrongdoers even at tremendous mental and financial costs, but he never compromised on his principles to overcome a tough situation. Mr. Agarwal’s flawless track-record of 35 years is a testimony to his commitment to ethical wealth-creation, even as he has taken pride in giving back to the Society by way significant tax payments to governments and through philanthropic initiatives for direct outreach to the needy and underserved.
Committed To Causes
Throughout his journey of personal successes, Mr.Agarwal always remembered to give back to his people and the Society. Being an avid Rotarian, he has actively contributed his time, effort and resources to their endeavours – be it the rebuilding of an earthquake-struck village in Gujarat or continuous educational initiatives for underprivileged children.
Being a resident of the UAE, he single-handedly facilitated the return of over 700 Indian expatriate workers who were granted pardoned through an Amnesty Scheme. Mr. Agarwal has been a regular patron of the Indian community’s social activities in the UAE. His deep love of Indian arts is also widely recognized, given his dedicated support for literary and cultural festivals in the Middle East.
Living his life by the principal of “Do Good unto All” he continues to navigate uncharted realms of business and life, mindful that a kind heart is essential for holistic development of a nation and its people.
The Family Man
For Mr. Kailash Agarwal and his wife Mrs. Hansa Kailash Agarwal, who divide their time between their Dubai Emirates Hills villa and the South Mumbai penthouse, spending time with their grandchildren is one of the greatest joys of life. While Mr. Agarwal’s daughter is married and settled in Mumbai, his son Mr. Nishant Agarwal is carrying his legacy forward. Gifted with his father’s sharp business acumen and armed with an American management education, Mr.Nishant Agarwal is taking the business to new highs, executing landmark developments that are redefining the skyline of Mumbai.
Being an avid golfer, Mr. Agarwal is often spotted on the greens during weekends, being one with nature while catching up with friends. An avid cinema buff, he spends his leisure time watching the latest releases with his loved ones. Truly a man of the world, Mr. Agarwal takes off for holidays to exotic destinations at least once in a year to return refreshed for the next exciting challenge.