Corporate & Industry

Indian companies which survived the test of time

Indian companies which survived the test of timeBCCL
Indian companies which survived the test of time
Text: Shailesh Menon, ET Bureau

The life expectancy rate of companies is shrinking rapidly world over.

According to leadership guru Steven Denning, the life expectancy rate of Fortune-500 companies has reduced from around 75 years in the 1950s to less than 15 years now.

Defying this average, a list of Indian companies have been in existence for over 100 years and several of them are still going strong.

Lets have a look at them.
Teesta Valley Tea Company
Teesta Valley Tea Company
Year of Inception: 1841

Headquaters: Kolkata

Promoter: Bharat Bajoria

Teesta Valley’s special teas are plucked from gardens facing the Kanchenjunga Peaks, at 6000 sq ft above sea level.

The cool breeze adds to the flavour, according to company officials.

Kaamjaari, the traditional way of distributing work among garden employees, is still practised at Teesta Valley tea gardens.

Every evening, after the day's work, garden supervisors are handed out chores which workers have to complete the next day.

When 900 workers come for work the next day at 7.30 am they are fairly well aware of the tasks at hand.

The 850-hectare-tea estate is divided into several sections are manned by a pool of supervisors, whose job is to walk around and inspect the work.

Fifteen minutes after 4 pm, when workers file out for their homes, supervisors walk back to the estate office to get their next day's mandate.

The 175-year old company exports special teas to Japan, Germany and the UK, among other developed markets.
Shalimar Paints
Shalimar Paints
Year of Inception: 1902

Headquarters: Gurgaon

Promoters: Public shareholders & Jindal family

Shalimar is billed as the oldest paint company in South Asia.

A clutch of government agencies such as Central Public Works Department, NTPC, Indian Railways, BPCL and IOC feature in its long list of loyal clients.

The company has made rapid strides in the recent past, moving from ubiquitous distempers to emulsion paints, water-based colours, weatherproof paints and new-age decorative colours.

Today Shalimar boasts of giving 55,000 colour options to its clients.

According to company officials, the Rashtrapati Bhavan and Howrah Bridge are always given a fresh coat using Shalimar Paints.
Parry & Co(Now Eid-Parry Ltd)
Parry & Co(Now Eid-Parry Ltd)
Year of Inception: 1839

Headquarters: Chennai
br>Promoters: Public shareholders & Murugappa Group

Thomas Parry, a British trader and founder of Parry & Co, landed on the shores of Madras in 1788.

In 1962, Parry & Co merged the two companies to become EID Parry.The Murugappa group acquired control over EID Parry in 1981.

EID Parry, along with its units, has nine sugar factories having a capac ity to crush 39,000 tonnes of cane a day, generate 160 MW of power and four distilleries having a capacity 230 kilolitres a day.
Kamarhatty Company LtdBCCL
Kamarhatty Company Ltd
Year of Inception: 1887

Sector: Jute

Headquarters: Kolkata

Promoter: BP Agarwal

The fortunes of Kamarhatty Company hit a downward spiral in the early 1980s, when plastic became more accepted in the packaging industry.

Labour unrest, lower demand for jute and rising cost of production crippled the company even further in the subsequent years.

This was around the time when most jute companies downed their shutters across India.

The company ownership changed twice before the current management took charge in 1987.

Kamarhatty is among the few jute companies that are using technology to reduce labour and increase production efficiency.

The company manufactures close to 30,000 tonnes of jute every year using almost 75 per cent of its installed capacity.

Kamarhatty has reduced its head count from over 6,000 a few years ago to about 5,000 now.

It intends to round off total workforce to about 2,500 in three years.
Bombay Dyeing Company
Bombay Dyeing Company
Year of Inception: 1879

Headquarters: Mumbai

Promoters: Public shareholders & Nusli Wadia Family

Bombay Dyeing Company started off as a small dye house, dyeing cotton yarn manufactured in large spinning mills in Bombay.

Bombay Dyeing Company turned to textile only after it started suffering huge losses in its dyeing business in the early 1900s.

This was around the time when Indian cloth merchants stopped importing cloth from Chinese manufacturers.

The company's profit margins have shrunk significantly since 2013 ­ 14.

In the last financial year, Bombay Dyeing suffered a loss of Rs 85.24 crore.

In the near future, the company intends to outsource textile manufacturing to reduce cost.

Strengthening of the 'Bombay Dyeing' brand is also on the cards.
Otis Elevator Company
Otis Elevator Company
Year of Inception:In India Since 1892

Headquarters: Mumbai

Promoter: United Technologies Corp

The first elevator in India was installed by Otis, at Raj Bhavan (Kolkata) in 1892. It was manually operated.

About this time next year, Otis would have installed its fastest elevator in the country, ferrying passengers 2.5 metres every second or about 500 feet per minute.

This, in itself, is not a big achievement because Otis has set up speedier lifts elsewhere in the world.

The company's elevators in Burj Khalifa-the world's tallest skyscraper hurtle from ground level to 124th floor in 59 seconds at 10 metres per second.

Otis started actual production some six decades ago. The com pany has a manufacturing plant in Bengaluru, which produces 10,000 units every year. Otis has 2,600 employees in India.
The Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation
The Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation
Year of Inception:1863

Headquarters: Mumbai

Promoter: Public shareholders & Nusli Wadia Family

Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation (BBTC) was established in 1863 by Wallace & Company, a firm controlled by a Scottish family of six brothers based in London.

By early 20th century, Bombay Burmah had emerged the largest teak exporter in South-East Asia.

In the early 1900s, BBTC diversi fied to raw cotton, textiles and oil as well.The Wadias seem to have picked shares of the company post 1930 ­ and tightened its grip on the company only in the post-Independence era.

BBTC is also looking to unlock in its land parcel value over the next few years.

The auto-parts and healthcare divisions too have plans to expand their products and service offerings.
Amluckie Investment Company
Amluckie Investment Company
Year of Inception: 1876

Headquarters: Kolkata

Sector: Stock trading, NBFC operations

Promoters: A group of individuals

Amluckie (short for ‘I-am-lucky’) started off as a tea manufacturing company.

The previous management of Amluckie sold their tea gardens in the late-1960s when business became tough for the industry.

The next two decades were pretty staid for Amluckie.

When the current management took over reins of the company in mid-90s, it just had a capital base of Rs 20 lakh and a functional non-banking finance company (NBFC) licence.

The company, owned by a group of individuals, does proprietary stock trading and SME lending these days.

Amluckie has a loan book of Rs 10 crore.
Joint Stock Indian Banks
Joint Stock Indian Banks
Promoters: Public shareholders & India Government

Banks: Allahabad Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Canara Bank, Indian Bank, Bank of Baroda, Punjab & Sind Bank, Central Bank and State Bank of Mysore.

The Presidency banks, namely Bank of Bengal, Bank of Madras and Bank of Bombay, were established by the East India Company more than a century ago with a view to manage its finances in the country and also lend money to the Indian mercantile class.

Racial prejudice towards Indian businessmen resulted in the formation of 10 Indian banks between 1865 and 1913.

However, these banks (managed by the Brits) were not comfortable lending money to Indian businessmen, mainly because they found it difficult to understand the `HUF-way' (Hindu Undivided Family) of doing business.

They failed to even grasp the 'chopda' system of book-keeping, prevalent among traditional Indian business families then.

Among the three Presidency banks, Bank of Bombay was more liberal in terms of offering loans to Indians, albeit at higher coupon rates.

This resulted in the setting up of banks like Allahabad Bank (1865) and Punjab National Bank (1895), with many influential Indians of those times on the board.
Alembic Pharmaceuticals
Alembic Pharmaceuticals
Year of Inception: 1907

Headquarters: Vadodara

Promoters: Publicly shareholders & Chirayu Amin family

Alembic's factory, in the mid-1930s, was so technologically advanced that it manufactured its own internal combustion engine running on 'power alcohol' ­ a product that mixed alcohol with petrol in a 4:1 ratio to increase engine performance and efficiency, while reducing pollution at the same time.

Later, in the 1940s, when public sentiment turned against alcohol in Gujarat , Alembic moved on to making cough syrups, vitamins, tonics and antibiotic drugs.

Alembic started its journey manufacturing alcohol for consumption. It was an 'industrial bootlegger' then.
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