PNC Menon, the founder of Sobha Group of Companies, with an estimated fortune of USD 600 million plans to give half of his personal wealth to charity, a news report says. Dubai-based Menon, a first generation entrepreneur who began his professional career by setting up an interior decoration firm in the Sultanate of Oman in 1976, told Arabian Business that he plans to open education institutes in India and Oman. "Once you make all of the money I don't think you should keep all of it for your family, a large portion of it should go to society. I have decided that 50 per cent of mine should go to society," he was quoted as saying in the report.
"My view is very simple; I am lucky to have made my money. After a certain point in time, money cannot make a difference in your life. I feel that its not even called charity, it's about accountability and the responsibility of society," he said. Menon was ranked the Gulf Cooperation Council's 21st richest Indian with a fortune of USD 600 million, in a list published last month by Arabian Business. His firm established Sobha Heritage and Sobha Academy in 2006 to provide education and social welfare to around 2,500 families in two villages in India, Vadakkenchery and Kizhakkenchery.
Realty firm Sobha Developers, where Menon holds the position of Chairman Emeritus, was listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange in 2006. Bangalore-based Sobha Developers was founded in 1995. The Sobha Group employs 28,000 people across the Gulf and India. There are plans to expand operations across India and the GCC, Menon said. Sobha will also expand its business to include a three- star hotel management company called Strada.
"There is a huge market if we can manage such a group and manage it very well, there is a huge potential. We are looking at building up 50 to 100 hotels. "We'll be managing but initially some of the investments will be done by us and then over time we'll only manage the hotels," Menon said. Last month, giving more to philanthropy IT czar Azim Premji had announced transfer of 295.5 million equity Wipro shares worth Rs 12,300 crore at that time held by certain entities controlled by him, to an irrevocable trust. The trust will utilise the endowment to fund, various social, not-for-profit initiatives of Azim Premji Foundation, that are expected to scale significantly over next few years. The Shiv Nadar Foundation has invested close to Rs 1,800 crore till date and billionaire Shiv Nadar of HCL Technologies has committed to spending 10 per cent of his wealth for these activities. PTI