10 oldest companies in India
updated on 5 Sept 2016
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Year of Inception 1879 Headquarters Mumbai Promoters Public shareholders and Nusli Wadia Family

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 has managed to stay afloat over 100 years, despite competition, cut-throat price wars and emergence of low-cost upcountry manufacturing centres across the country.

However, Bombay Dyeing has not been a great performer - in terms of corporate earnings - over the past few years. 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. The company management blames economic sluggishness as one of the reasons for the poor show.

Bombay Dyeing's real estate vertical - Bombay Realty - has had problems securing clearances for its residential projects. The textile division is facing headwinds from cheaper substitutes manufactured by the unorganised sector. Bombay Dyeing's polyester division was dogged by falling crude prices and the resultant drop in polyester prices.
Year of Inception 1902 Headquarters Gurgaon Promoters Public shareholders and 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. The company recorded profit of Rs 5.2 crore on a sales turnover of Rs 403 crore last fiscal.


Year of Inception 1863 Headquarters Mumbai Promoter Public shareholders and 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.

In the early 1900s, BBTC diversified 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 currently engaged in plantations (tea and coffee), auto electric components, healthcare, real estate and weighing products businesses. The company recorded a loss of Rs 33.15 crore in the last financial year.

Adverse weather conditions and increase in wages eroded earnings in the company's tea business. Slowdown in the auto industry and real estate verticals also hit the bottom line last year. The company has started taking measures to improve its earnings. It has started replanting tea bushes to improve yield; BBTC also intends to launch a retail brand of special tea in India.

BBTC is also looking to unlock in its land parcel value over the next few years. The auto-parts and healthcare  ..

In India since 1892 Headquarters Mumbai Promoter United Technologies Corp

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 company has a manufacturing plant in Bengaluru, which produces 10,000 units every year. Otis has 2,600 employees in India.

Year of Inception 1907 HQ Vadodara Promoters Publicly shareholders and 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 Pharmaceuticals reported profits of Rs 698 crore last fiscal. The company's international generics vertical reported 75 per cent Y-o-Y growth, driven by strong traction in the US.


Year of Inception 1839 Headquarters Chennai Promoters Public shareholders and Murugappa Group

Like all free traders, the lure of commodities brought Thomas Parry, an English trader, to India. Parry & Co started off as a general trading company dealing in sugar and spirits.

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

EID Parry reported profits of Rs 25.34 crore in the first quarter of this fiscal compared with the corresponding quarter loss of Rs 138 crore in the previous year. The standalone sugar business of the company logged a PBIT (profit before interest and tax) of Rs 56 crore. The bio-products division (comprising pesticides and nutraceuticals) registered a PB ..

EID Parry, along with its units, has nine sugar factories having a capacity to crush 39,000 tonnes of cane a day, generate 160 MW of power and four distilleries having a capacity 230 kilolitres a day.
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.

In the last financial year, Kamarhatty recorded profits of Rs 1.5 crore. The company has also diversified into newer product segments like non-woven jute and linen yarns.

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.
Kamarhatty faces stiff competition from Bangladesh-based jute mills, which sell their wares 30- 40 per cent cheaper than Indian companies.

Year of Inception 1841 HQ Kolkata Promoter Bharat Bajoria

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.
Despite the regimented work method, the company ran into rough weather post Independence, when demand (for tea) and prices declined globally. Weather also played havoc on the crop in 1950, 1953 and 1955. In the mid-60s and 70s, the company faced problems from trade unions.

Year of Inception 1876 Headquarters Kolkata Sector Stock trading, NBFC operations Promoters A group of individuals

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.

Public sector 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.

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. Allahabad Bank is the oldest public sector bank in India while Punjab National Bank is the first bank to be purely managed by Indians. Freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai was actively associated with the creation of Punjab National Bank.

The formation of RBI in 1935 and the promulgation of the Banking Regulation Act 1949 and amendment to the Act in 1965 helped these banks to operate in a regulated environment.

Some of these banks are facing severe stress of bad loans (NPAs) currently.