A Voyage with Confidence : T.A. Joseph
Kerala is not what it certainly was 10 years ago, as in the past few years it has developed as many business, luxury apartments, and high end restaurants have popped up everywhere and the pace of modernization has taken up the state in a high end level. Amongst the numerous companies which have come up ,which have contributed to the vast development of the cities not only in Kerala but in Karnataka, Dubai and overseas Confident Group has been one which has climbed it’s way to the top of the business world in just a few years time.
Headed by Dr. ROY C J, Confident group entered into the world of business in the year of 2006. The company is headquartered in Bangalore and has offices in Trivandrum, Kochi, Trichur, Calicut, Dubai and overseas. The company is into many sectors of fields such as Education, Real Estate, Entertainment, Health Care, Airlines, and Hospitality. Today the company has many gated communities of townships, villas, apartments, commercial towers, malls, software towers & parks, hotels and resorts. Confident Group strives to achieve their initial goal to become the number one builder in Kerala and Karnataka initially and now getting ready to spread it’s wings into Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradhesh to meet the requirements of all sectors of the society. In Kerala, the company is headed by Managing Director. Mr. T.A. Joseph, with whom Unique Times has a talk with to find out what is the secret behind the success of a company
What is the secret behind the success of the company?
We ensure a successful business because we are sincere to our clients and we always provide good quality products . The hard work and discipline which is maintained by the company is the ultimate strength of Confident Group which also helps to ensure success in the company. We also follow the traditional business rule of Kerala where the forefathers did their business with the capital which they had, rather than borrowing from the banks. For example to put it in this way, in the olden days when housewives would be maintaining their homely duties, their husbands would give them only a certain amount of money, and they managed everything with that certain amount of money, and saved a portion of money which they were given, we also follow the same basic principle in managing the company
How do you maintain the different sectors of business such as hospitality, airlines, entertainment, education and health care in a successful manner?
It’s all about diversification and investment in different baskets. If one basket is not performing the others will perform and this will result in the growth of business without affecting it’s pace. Just like an investor in stock market would prefer to invest in multi nature stocks so that depreciation in one stock will be compensated with appreciation in another stock
What are the present ongoing projects for Confident Group and the plans for the future?
As always our core strength is in apartment projects however at present we are focusing on multiplex and commercial malls also. We are coming out with two malls in Calicut, one in Trichur, one in Chalakkudi and one plot has been identified in Kottayam. Our core business remains to be in building apartments. Right now we have 18 projects that are ongoing across Kerala. In the aviation industry we are planning on buying two more six seated aircrafts. On the entertainment front we are focusing on multiplex and malls. We will be having 40 multiplex screens in Kerala shortly and are still debating on whether to run the multiplex in our own brand names or to lease it out to other operators. And on the lifestyle front we are launching a mega perfume showroom on the 6th of February 2014 in Damascuss Street in Dubai where we will be selling 30,000 bottles of branded perfumes . We will be spreading our wings by opening 50 more outlets across the globe. In the Hospitality Division we have 2 five star resorts and a four star Hotel in Banglaore , which are marketed by U.S. based Best Western Group. In Education front, Confident- GEAR Creative Leadership School is an initiation in association with “The GEAR Foundation”. The GEAR Foundation runs one of the finest School’s in the South Bangalore. Confident-GEAR Montessori Plus is another initiative from Confident Group to provide exemplary education. In the health sector we are starting a 120 bedded super specialty hospital in Bangalore named British Royal Hospital.
Confident Group is responsible for the success of the biggest budgeted film in Kerala; Casanova, what is the reason behind the success of this film and the challenges which were faced?
The principal and the reason for the success of confident group is discipline and hard work. In the film industry, the very nature of the industry depends on various factors that are not in the our control. This was one of the challenge we have face in Casanova
What are some of the challenges which Confident Group faces?
We face the normal challenges of the real estate industry such as the availability of land and Stringent regulations . This is something which becomes a major concern for any builder in Kerala . The rest of the world is growing vertically except few countries in Europe whereas in Kerala the vertical growth is limited due to government regulations. For example , if confident group can build 100 apartments vertically in one acre of land , it requires 5 acres of land for same number of Villas if it goes Horizontally .Looking at statistics, Total area of Kerala is 38000 sq. kilometers with a population of 3.3 Crore. Kerala Coastal area is approximately 600 Kms and there are 40 odd rivers and 34 lakes/backwaters and then comes Paddy fields,Filtration Ponds, Plantations, Roads, Railway lines, western guards,Wet lands etc. All the above are consuming a major portion of land and hence it leads to scarcity of land for Projects. Over and above this constraints, the various zones of CRZ rules and Kasthuri Rangan regulation makes the story more tougher. Then comes the permission from various local bodies. The permission from Panchayath, Municipality, Fire and safety department etc is highly time consuming. For example if we invest 20 crore for a land for Projects in Kerala, after all above said permissions , it will take minimum one and a half year to start getting returns. In the present scenario with a very narrow profit margin it is very difficult to manage business. As I understand few bigger players from North India who has started projects in Kerala could not sustain here due to stringent rules,conditions and political issues. After all ,real estate business is all about construction and we are not in to the business of space shuttle manufacturing. Hence my opinion is ,to get rid of these delays/constrains, government should open a single window approval matrix which will definitely benefit the state, as well as the public
What is the secret behind being able to maintain a 0 debt level?
We do not have a CFO in our company. The chairman Dr. Roy C J and I look into each financial aspect of the company on a daily basis and the funds are managed in the best way. In the last six years we have issued more than 1.5 million checks and we have never had a check bounce. This is possible only because of our direct involvement in fund management on a daily basis
What is one aspect which you like about business?
One aspect which I like about business is the dynamic nature of the business which Confident Group maintains.
What is the motivation behind the success of the Confident Group?
Our motivation behind our business is our chairman Dr. Roy C J whose dynamism drives us. A well supported team is another factor and motivation behind the success of Confident Group
When did you begin working at Confident Group?
I have been with the company since the beginning.
How did you enter into the field of business?
I was initially in Merchant Navy, and during my preparations for Masters competency exam in UK, I got involved in the real estate business. Later I met Dr. Roy C J and was influenced by his passion for business and dynamicity and joined the Confident Group as Director, later moved onto being the Joint managing Director and presently I am the Managing Director .
How supportive is your family of your career?
My family is very supportive of me and my career.