West News Wire: The Indian-born billionaire Pallonji Mistry, whose engineering empire constructed opulent hotels, stadiums, palaces, and factories throughout Asia and whose family’s epic showdown with the Tata Group sparked India’s biggest corporate feud, passed away in Mumbai. He was 93.

After the news spread on social media, a company spokesperson confirmed the Indian tycoon’s demise.

According to its website, Mistry and his family are in charge of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, which was founded more than 150 years ago and currently employs more than 50,000 people in more than 50 countries. The Reserve Bank of India, the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, and the blue-and-gold Al Alam palace for the Sultan of Oman are just a few of its iconic projects.

Mistry accumulated a net worth of almost $29 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him one of the richest men in India and in Europe. He surrendered his Indian nationality and became an Irish citizen in 2003 through his long marriage to Dublin-born Patsy Perin Dubash.

Most of the family wealth, however, derived from being the largest minority shareholder 18.5% as of early 2022 in Mumbai-based Tata Sons Pvt., the main investment holding company for India’s largest conglomerate.

That stake proved to be a double-edged sword for the media-shy Mistry when the shock ouster of his son Cyrus as Tata Sons chairman in 2016 triggered a very public, years-long courtroom and boardroom battle between two of India’s most-storied corporate clans.

The country’s top court ruled in 2021 that Cyrus’s ouster was legal and also upheld Tata Sons’s rules on minority shareholder rights, which made it difficult to sell shares without board approval. That meant the stake, worth almost $30 billion in early 2022, was basically illiquid.

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The family business was founded in 1865, when Pallonji Mistry’s grandfather started a construction business with an Englishman. The initial project was the first reservoir in Mumbai, then known as Bombay. The company began doing business with the Tata family in the 1920s; both families are Zoroastrians whose ancestors fled Persia to India to escape religious persecution.

Mistry was born on June 1, 1929, in Mumbai. His father, Shapoorji Mistry, worked for the family company, which the son joined in 1947.

He led the company’s expansion into the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai, in 1970. It won a contract to build the Sultan of Oman’s palace in 1971 and many ministerial buildings there.


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