The payment of spouse salary and pension for parents is not a big deal, says the Indian billionaire in the UAE Sohan Roy

Dubai: Sohan Roy is still not sure what the fuss is about. It was earlier this year that the holding company of the Indian businessman, Aries Group, announced in Sharjah that he would pay a ‘salary’ to the spouses of the employees who did not have their own careers. The only criterion was that the employee had to complete three years at Ram, and that the spouse would pay 25 percent of the salary. They must also have been married for three years. (Note that there is no gender bias in passing this on – men of Aries staff members who found themselves unemployed were given roles at group companies.) Ram employs about 1,000 in his Sharjah base and the spouse payments – made on the 28th of each month – reach more than 200 households. Roy’s wife, Abhini, also receives a monthly check. And her mother receives three pension payments per month – with three children associated with Aries.) “I do not see why outsiders should regard it as a cash burn on our part. We have made savings on internal processes, and improved our margins to COVID-19, “said Roy, whose group specializes in marine and non-marine project inspections. The oil and gas industry remains a key customer of the group, which 57 companies exist. “Senior management – that certainly includes me – has not done business for a long time, and employees have made their own contributions to help the cash flow to support spouse’s payments. “Let us not forget that Aries was also the first company to pay monthly support to the parents of employees – we started it 13 years ago. But it did not cause much uproar then. ”

Not immune

The fact that Aries has incurred the additional costs, even though businesses are recovering from the impact of COVID-19, does not necessarily mean that the Group has gone through the crisis. The first few months after the pandemic broke out, the group’s operations hit 40 percent. “Our work is based on sending staff to do project investigations in more than 100 countries, maybe for weeks and even a year or so, depending on the project length,” Roy said. ‘They offer their skills to present design adjustments where necessary, ensure that the project work meets the quality parameters, etc. “But COVID dropped almost all the overseas activities overnight.”

EMIRATI TODAY - Emirati News, the UAE Daily News

Change direction

After the initial shock, it was just that Aries embarked on more local projects – even those that would not go on in the past. “We had to change strategy and accept more local work,” Roy said. “We did it because we had to involve our employees. In those weeks and months, the focus was on making sure rather than chasing profits. That means doing work where operating margins were lower than in the days before COVID-19 – but it worked. “We have devised an internal efficiency improvement management program that has helped to increase efficiency and save cash where possible.” Aries operates an extensive base in Sharjah, where much of the marine services and inspections are done. In total, the Group has approximately 1900 employees. “We are well on the way to designing ‘green’ ships and have done about 250 such projects in 2020 alone,” Roy said. ‘The competition would not have done more than 20. “There’s a subdivision that does a lot of work with AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) for 3D mapping, underwater inspections, etc. It’s about expanding the possibilities – we’re getting there.”

Fit at the cinema

One thing no one can do is Roy’s ambitions … or areas of specialization. If anyone were to ask you to name an Indian businessman who is also a film director, Roy was there and did it. Name the Indian businessman whose film – DAM999 – was a choice for the 2011 Oscars? You guessed right. Filming is a passion of Roy, and where he has strong sayings. “It’s an industry where a few individuals play and there are no centralized standards in the industry,” is a lament of him. ‘There is so much valuable content in Indian films – Aamir Khan films are making more money in China these days. Malaysian films are becoming increasingly popular in South Korea. But are we doing enough to make Indian films bigger and more universal? ‘ One of Roy’s group companies is integrated copying systems, which help to dub Indian films in thirty foreign international languages. The stated goal is to reach up to 100 international languages ​​over the next two years. “We are still very far behind with all the possibilities we have to create with Indian films,” Roy said. “Despite every effort, ‘epic’ 4K quality films are still rarely made – this is what is needed to get the public back into cinemas and make them aware of the full potential of 4K technology. The strange Bahubali or KGF is not enough. ” While Roy continues to wait for the 4K cinema revolution to take hold in India, he still produces one Malayalam movie a year. He also occasionally takes on a role in a movie as the mood swings. As for his next directing venture, he still has not made a clear point on it. For now, he is anchored to chart the next round of growth of Aries … and ensure that his workers function as one big, happy family. If that means you still have to travel in Economics, then so be it. “If it’s Ram’s business, I’m doing it …”