Two World Wars, the Great Depression, India's independence struggle, the Hindu rate of growth, the licence-permit raj, controls on foreign exchange and expansion, and the reforms of the 1990s: a handful of Indian companies have seen it all, and adapted along the way to do well. India has around three dozen century-old companies that are listed and still actively traded. Of these we have selected a dozen that have done especially well at responding to change. "Response to change is the first condition for survival in business," says Dwijendra Tripathi, a former IIM professor who authored The Oxford History of Indian Business. A hundred years is a long period. Dive into the exciting journey of these intrepid survivors.
BOMBAY DYEING COMPANY: New knots in business..
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.
It can therefore be surmised, Bombay Dyeing flourished along with the domestic textile industry in Bombay," says corporate historian Raman Mahadevan.
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.
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.
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 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 ..
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.
The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is a "Heritage Grand" class five-star hotel in the Colaba region of Mumbai, Maharashtra India, next to the Gateway of India. Historically it was known as the "Taj Mahal Hotel" or the "Taj Palace Hotel"or simply "the Taj".
Part of the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, this hotel is considered the flagship property of the group and contains 560 rooms and 44 suites. There are some 1,600 staff including 35 butlers. From a historical and architectural point of view, the two buildings that make up the hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace, and the Tower are two distinct buildings, built at different times and in different architectural designs. In 2017, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel has acquired an image trademark. It is the first building in the country to get intellectual property rights protection for its architectural design.
In 1892, Prafulla Chandra Ray rented house at 91 Upper Circular Road, Kolkata and founded Bengal Chemical Works with a capital of ₹700 (US$11). Ray founded the company as an individual initiative with the intention with fostering a spirit of entrepreneurship among the Bengali youth, and provide an alternative to jobs from the colonial British government. The company presented its herbal products the 1893 session of the Indian Medical Congress in Kolkata.
Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (BCPL), formerly Bengal Chemical & Pharmaceutical Works Ltd. (BCPW), is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU). Established in Kolkata, West Bengal in 1901 by Prafulla Chandra Rây, it is India's first pharmaceutical company. The company manufactures such household Indian products as "Hospitol", "naphthalene balls", and "Phenyl". Following over 6 decades of losses, BCPL posted a profit of ₹4 crore (US$610,000) in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The Times Group is India’s largest media conglomerate, according to Financial Times as of March 2015.
The Audit Bureau of Circulations reported in May 2014 that the Times of India had the largest circulation of any English-language newspaper in the world, with 3,321,702 average qualifying sales. The company remains a family-owned business as the descendants of Sahu Jain own a majority stake in The Times Group. The Times Group has over 11,000 employees and revenue exceeding $1.5 billion.