Murugappa group sells tiles, cassette units

The diversified Chennai-based Murugappa group has sold its ceramic tiles unit to the Rajan Raheja group''s Mumbai-based H & R Johnson. And it is in the process of disposing of Meltrack, its cassette and electronic unit, to the RPG group, a major player in the music business with its Calcutta-based Gramophone Company of India.

The Murugappa management has not divulged the price it has got for each unit. The group will receive a total of Rs 25 crore for the two units.

The group has also hived off the seeds division of EID Parry into a separate company, and is selling 51 per cent of its equity to Monsanto Holdings, a unit of the US-based Monsanto group.

Some other businesses are on the chopping block on the advice of McKinsey & Company. But, if you thought that the group would reduce the number of businesses in its fold to two or three, you''d be wrong. It will retain as many as 10 - 12 of its businesses, including bicycles and bicycle parts, plantations, sugar and related businesses, confectionery, abrasives, chains, sanitaryware, financial services, and insurance.

By the year 2005, all non-core businesses will be sold off, or the group will reduce its stakes in them to a minority level.