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Kerala businessman draws Gulf investors at daughter’s wedding


Thiruvananthapuram: An Indian-origin billionaire from Kerala is so much in love with his roots that he wants his fellow businessmen in the Middle East to realise why this place is described as God’s own country.

B. Ravi Pillai has invited hundreds of them to Kerala for his daughter’s wedding later this month so they can see for themselves why Kerala should be their favoured destination for investment.

“I am bringing in guests from over 40 countries and it includes CEOs and presidents besides numerous Royal family members from the Middle East. Most of them are coming to India for the first time. They will stay in Kerala for a week,” he told reporters here on Monday.

“My main aim is to sell Kerala to them as a destination for their investments,” said Pillai.

Pillai, 62, who hails from Kollam district near here, is based in the Middle East and has been ranked by Forbes in the World’s Billionaires list at 988 and at 30 in India.

Ahead of his daughter’s marriage, to be held at Kollam on November 26, Pillai has launched a massive charity programme to benefit over 10,000 people at places where he has business interests at Kovalam, Kollam and Chavara in the state.

“Rs.10 crore have been set aside for the charity and it would include financial assistance to cancer patients. I have been working in the Middle-East for 35 years and I am spending my hard earned money and not availing a bank loan to celebrate the wedding of my daughter,” said Pillai.

Ranked as the fourth most powerful Indian in the Middle East in 2014, Pillai owns the R.P. Group and today he provides direct employment to 85,000 people, mostly in the Middle-East countries.

“By March next year the total employees would cross one lakh. In two years, my $1.5 billion hospitality project in Dubai will be commissioned,” added Pillai.

Of his projects in Kerala, Pillai said he is concentrating in the hospitality and IT sectors.

He already owns two five-star hotels in the state and a third is to be opened early next year.

“I would be willing to invest in PPP (public-private partnership) projects in Kerala as there is huge potential in mineral separation projects. There is tremendous demand for products like titanium and similar products, obtained from the sea sands, in certain parts of Kerala,” Pillai added.

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