Jain learnt all the tricks of the trade on the job since his previous work experience couldn't have prepared him for it. After completing his chartered accountancy course at his home town, Jaipur, Jain joined Tata Exports in Devas, Madhya Pradesh, in 1990, as a financial consultant. After two years, he shifted to Biophil Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals in Indore as a financial manager. "I worked at Biophil for five years before I was offered the post by the Kabra Group. The salary was only Rs 50,000 a month, but it was the challenge that intrigued me," says Jain.
Obviously, the first step for Jain was to conduct a study of the financial aspects of the company. "At that time, Kabra was indebted to 16 banks and the staff strength had reduced from 50 to five," he adds. Jain went to each bank to try and convince it to give the company more time to repay. Within the firm, he concentrated on pruning down costs and focusing only on the core competencies of the company. "It took five years for the Kabra Group to start making profits, and two years later in 2004, it registered a profit of Rs200 crore. That's when I decided to start something of my own and offer consultancy services to bankrupt companies," says Jain.
He rented an 800 sq ft office space in Ahmedabad and set up Atishya Consultancy with four employees to handle the backend operations. He spent Rs1 lakh to lease the area and buy basic office furniture and equipment. "My success at Kabra ensured that my name was established in the field and through wordof-mouth publicity, I started getting cases for consultancy," adds Jain.
His first client was Dairy Den, a Gujaratbased company that manufactures machines and ingredients to make ice cream. "Within one year of starting Atishya, I got three clients whose combined debt was Rs50 crore. By then, I had managed to build a rapport with the banks and managed to extend the repayment time for the companies. I also outlined a strategy for each company, focusing on their strengths to help them revive their businesses. Within a year, I managed an income of Rs10 lakh," says Jain. He is paid a percentage of the profit that a company makes within the first year.
The first step in Jain's strategy is to break the vicious cycle that leads a company to bankruptcy. "If there is negative news about a company, nobody is willing to give it a loan. Clients lose confidence and are unwilling to pay an advance, so orders dry up. The company is unable to pay its employees and sacks them because of which its productivity falls. This is why arranging for credit is so important to get a company out of trouble," he adds.
Currently, Jain has 35 clients and is handling a total debt exposure of Rs350 crore. His own firm earned about Rs1 crore last year. Meanwhile, Jain has expanded operations to Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi and is busy setting up an office in Dubai. Eight months ago, he launched NPAsource.com, which aims to bring together investors from across the world, who are willing to put their money in sick companies. "I have invested Rs2 crore in this venture and have employed around 90 people.
By the end of next year, I am expecting a turnover of Rs25 crore," says Jain.