Hindujas in Court Over Ownership

The Hinduja Group, owner of several lubricant businesses, is embroiled in a dispute between the four aging brothers who control the parent company. The eldest has asked a London court to nullify a 2014 agreement that the siblings control the company’s assets collectively, clearing the way for different parts to be separated.

Hinduja Group is headquartered in London, though much of its operations are based in India, and its heritage has been largely in India and Iran. Among its assets are Gulf Oil Lubricant India Ltd., one of the largest private lube suppliers in India; and Gulf Lubricants International, an expanding supplier operating in dozens of countries. Hinduja is also the largest shareholder in Quaker Houghton. Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based Quaker Chemical completed a merger with Houghton in August last year.

The parent company and its divisions are headed by four Hinduja brothers – Srichand, Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok, aged 84, 79, 75 and 69, respectively. The document at the heart of their dispute is a 2014 letter, signed by each of them, stating that the assets held by each of them are held by all and that each brother would appoint the others as executors.

According to press reports, Srichand has asked the London court to declare the letter not legally binding and to conclude that the company’s assets may be divided.

Gulf Oil, including all lubricant operations of the conglomerate, are chaired by Sanjay Hinduja, son of Gopichand Hinduja. According to a June 25 article published by Indian news site The Tribune, the family’s stakes in Gulf Oil, IndusInd Bank and truck manufacturer Ashok Leyland, are owned by promoter group entities, so the shares of individual members are not known publicly.