Connect with us


Tracing the success story of Ravi Pillai and the growth of RP Group of Companies as a brand



Ravi Pillai

Hailing from a farming family in Kerala, Ravi Pillai is today a construction tycoon with a net-worth of around $1.7 billion

The story of Ravi Pillai and how he established the multi-billion dollars-worth business empire are something that are worth listening to especially by aspiring entrepreneurs. Leaving his hometown Kerala in search of riches in the late 1970s, he has positioned himself to be one of the richest business magnates not only in India, but across the world today. From starting a chit fund on borrowed money and then foraying into engineering contract business in Kerala to moving to Saudi Arabia to try his luck in business there, his is no less than a rags-to-riches story. Today he is the founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Middle East based RP Group of Companies.

For Pillai, it was partnership that stood the test of time

For someone who has never been abroad and add to it the fact that he didn’t know anyone there, it wasn’t easy for Pillai to start out. During his first two years in Saudi Arabia, he worked in partnership with a businessman Abdullah Jufan.

Soon afterwards, joined hands with Nasser Al-Hajri. Nasser Al-Hajri Corporation is today one of the largest general construction contractors in the Middle East. With over 50 percent partnership in the company, Pillai later formed RP Group of companies.

Making right move at the right time

The venture started with merely120 employees. At a time when Indian companies would hardly get noteworthy projects in the Middle East, it was Pillai’s determination and hard work that garnered RP group several infrastructure and defence related construction projects. Among his early wins include construction projects for the Royal Air Terminal at Riyadh Airport.

That was a time when oil price was down but when industrialisation hit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the price of oil shot up, Pillai grabbed the opportunity to get into industrial contracting including petrochemical projects. Being a firm believer of diversification, his vision for business growth transcends sectors.

Acquisitions and investments

Despite the tremendous success, there is no stopping Pillai. Over the past three decades, he has been making lucrative investments in Kerala, his home state, some of which include Upasana nursing school, Raviz Hotel & Resorts, K Mall in Kollam and RP Mall in Kozhikode. In 2011, he also purchased Leela’s Group’s Kovalam beach property in Kerala.

Apart from his business, Ravi Pillai has always remained ahead in philanthropy. RP Group allocates around 30 percent of its profit for CSR activities including staff welfare.

Focus on human capital and ethical business value

Ravi Pillai is not in any way, the typical rich businessman. For him, more than profits, his first priority is his employees the number of which stands at around 120,000.  “Money is not everything, most important is to have a kind heart,” he says. He credits the tremendous growth of RP Group of Companies to his people’s trust and commitment.

Pillai has been quick in transforming any challenge into an opportunity. His current lines of projects span across hotel, medical tourism, health and wellness and education.

Key projects by RP Group under the leadership of Ravi Pillai

  • Jubail Export Refinery Project
  • NCP Project
  • Barzan Project
  • Saudi Kayan Phenolics
  • Clean Fuel Project (Kuwait)
  • Alba Potline 6 (Bahrain)
  • NRP-TR (Kuwait)

List of awards and honours received by Ravi Pillai

  1. Pravasi Bharatiya Sammann Award (2008)
  2. Padma Shri Award (2010)
  3. Honorary doctorate from Excelsior College, New York



This content was last updated on 12 November 2020.


Editor's Pick