Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ravi K. Mehrotra

Ravi K. Mehrotra, Founder and principal shareholder of Foresight Limited and the Foresight Group
January 26, 10 am

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Mr. Ravi K Mehrotra, founder and principal shareholder of Foresight Limited and the Foresight Group, began his career in 1963 with The Shipping Corporation of India, after obtaining a marine engineering degree in India.

He held many senior positions in India with SCI until 1975 when he was seconded to Iran to help set up the Iranohind Shipping Company Ltd in Tehran, a joint venture shipping company run by the governments of Iran and India.

After holding various executive positions at Iranohind, Mr.Mehrotra became principal adviser to the Government of Iran after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

He was responsible for developing Iranian Shipping from training seafarers by establishing a Marine College to developing the national shipping line and a new port at Chah Bahar on Iran’s border with Pakistan.

Mr. Mehrotra’s moulding of the policies to adapt them to Iranian trade and shipping needs, ensured that Iran took its place as a leading maritime nation – illustrated by the fact that today Iran has the largest merchant shipping fleet in the Persian / Arabian Gulf with 7 million tones deadweight.

From 1982 to 1984 Mr.Mehrotra was also the Managing Director of Iranohind Shipping Company and, in addition to his advisory duties, oversaw an expansion programme which involved the acquisition of 85 vessels to the Iranian fleet. These vessels which were bought for Iran under his guidance were both new and second hand and totaled nearly three million tones deadweight.

During this time he was responsible for the initiation of a Reefer Service from New Zealand to Iran, which was introduced against fierce international competition. He was also appointed as a government adviser to the Ministry of Commerce which exposed him to the international trading scene.

In August 1984 on the expiry of his term of office as Managing Director of Iranohind, he decided not to return to India but to set up the Foresight Group in London. In this decision he was encouraged by all his contacts in Iran and around the world.

Foresight Limited, London was established in September 1984 as an International shipping and trading company as the nucleus of the Group. Since then, despite the difficult prevailing market conditions, it has developed rapidly and has achieved considerable success.

Since starting operations, the Foresight Group owned a fleet of ten dry cargo vessels, refrigerated vessels from ship yard and a jack up rig. It has owned two VLCCs, one was sold in 1988, the second in 1990, and one of its dry cargo vessels was sold in 1989, realizing a substantial profit to the Foresight Group.

In 1989 the Group decided to invest in new ship construction and took delivery of two refrigerated vessels for long term charter in world trades in 1990. The two vessels have successfully worked in the Cool Carriers pool of ships since then.

In another development, the Group diversified into the offshore oil drilling market and purchased a jack up rig and a dynamically positioned drillship. The jack up rig worked in the Persian Gulf successfully for twelve months prior to moving to Bombay High where it worked for the Oil & Natural Gas Commission of India.

In 1991, Mr. Mehrotra was responsible for the formation of the Oman National Shipping Line, which was started following an idea of his. Foresight was invited to take a 25% stake in the line as the only non Omani Shareholder.

Foresight Limited acts as project manager for the National Iranian Oil Company for the purchase of VLCC tankers and chartering activities which also organized Iran’s shuttle service between Kharg Island and Hormuz island during the Iran /Iraq conflict.

To set up and maintain this service, Foresight acquired for the Government of Iran 17 ULCC’s and VLCC’s in the years 1986 to 1988.

Foresight has also placed for various owners, including BP Shipping, the CH Tung Group, GP Livanos, Pegasus, Papachristides and Y K Pao, a total of 25 ULCC / VLCC’s in this shuttle service on six months to one year period charters from 1985 to 1988.

In addition to the London base, the Group established by Mr. Mehrotra now encompasses companies in Cyprus, Mumbai and New Delhi in India, Sharjah in UAE and Shanghai and Beijing in China.

Amer Shipping of Cyprus with its associated company at Bombay is one of the first companies in the world which offers a “Total Package” to banks and small ship owner. This package helps them to use shipping as an investment vehicle and avoids drudgery of day to day complex ship operations.

During 1999 the Group sold its interest in Dry Cargo Ships and concentrated on Product tankers and Refrigerated ships. Today the Group controls eight large Reefer ships, two Chemical tankers, one Jack-up rig and five restaurants mainly in China in a joint venture with the Shanghai Government. The Group has also acquired two Container ships of 1700 TEU capacity, these will be added to the fleet in August 2004.

In 1996, as a JV with Government of Shangai, Mayor of Shangai invited Mr. Mehrotra to open 5 hi-end fine dining restaurants in China.

In 2006, FSV launched Indian Ocean Cruises (IOC) from Goa. Now, IOC is concentrating on Port Louis as its home port for Mauritius operations which began in December 2008.

Mr. Mehrotra has been the Honorary Professor at Cambridge University of Management for the past 10 years teaching the students of Transport batch.

Queen of England had conferred CBE (Commander of Business Excellence) on Mr. Mehrotra in 2006. Today, the Group is well diversified and runs an operation encompassing investment worth about US $220 million. The Group celebrated its twentieth year in operation in September 2004.
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http://www.foresightltd.co.uk/html/homepage.html
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Source:
Vishnu Kumar
Sr PR Executive

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