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Auditing firm RSM forays into energy services business

According to reports, RSM Astute Consulting Group, which ranks among the top six accounting and consulting players in India, has acquired a majority stake in General Carbon, a sustainability and energy advisory service company, marking its foray into this fast developing sector.

RSM Astute Consulting is the Indian member of RSM International, the seventh largest network of independent audit, tax and advisory firms in the world with an annual combined fee income of $4 billion. While it competes on all counts with the big four – EY, PwC, KPMG and Deloitte – it was not present in the energy and sustainability service business. One of the main reasons for acquiring General Carbon is to get a ready presence in this sector.

“RSM in India has taken a strategic stake in General Carbon (GC), which now becomes a subsidiary of RSM in India and will be called RSM GC Advisory Services,” K H Viswanathan, executive director, RSM Group in India, told TOI.General Carbon provides strategic, technical and financial services across major energy and environmental commodity markets. It is said to be the third largest company in the carbon asset management sector, where EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young) and Emergent Ventures are the leading two.

General Carbon is promoted by P Ram Babu who, in his 35-year experience in this field, has helped governments and multilateral agencies define policies on sustainable development and plans to address environmental issues.

Although the financial aspects of the deal were not revealed, the acquisition presents an opportunity for RSM to enter a new field which has a huge growth potential while, on the other hand, it provides General Carbon the leverage to grow globally on the back of RSM’s global network. According to Viswanathan, RSM plans to build on GC’s business in India and expand it globally to compete with the big four.

Ram Babu, who will continue as CEO of the RSM GC Advisory Services, said, “The sustainability sector is currently of the order of Rs 150 crore but is slated to grow to Rs 500 crore in the next two to three years, given the mandatory requirements for companies to follow under the Companies Act and other regulations on the energy efficiency and sustainability front.” Companies, big and small, have been relying on such speciality service providers to help them adopt best practices on sustainability and carbon emission reduction fields. This is generating a huge demand for services in energy and sustainability advisory business.

Two years back, when carbon credit prices had crashed, many advisory businesses in India had either closed down or restructured their operations to diversify into other environment advisory-related services. General Carbon was one such company which morphed itself to emerge as an energy and sustainability advisory service.

RSM Astute Consulting Group has a team of 1,100 people in India.

With a team of 1,100 people in India, RSM Astute Consulting Group offers services in internal audit and risk management, taxation, corporate advisory and structuring, operations consulting, financial process outsourcing, information technology (IT) solutions, labour law compliance review and risk management.

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