Company history


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Company history

  1. 1. COMPANY HISTORYRallis India, presently a Tata Enterprise, was established way back in 1851 as Rallis byPandias Stephen Ralli. It started its journey by buying full pressed jute bales from pressowners in Kolkatta. Rallis grew in stages and eventually took ownership of a large property atCossipore comprising cleaning and finishing equipment and powerful steam driven pressescapable of turning out 30,000 export bales of jute yarn a day. It earned millions of revenuefor the firm and jute continued to retain its prestige till the 1900s.Rallis India mainly deals in Agri Business and has emerged as one of the leaders in the IndianAgrochemical Industry.The company is also in the Institutional business providing technicaland bulk of various molecules to leading companies like Bayer, Syngenta, Excel, UPL,Gharda, Cheminova etc and has launched product for control of pest of public healthimportance.Apart from this the company is having significant presence in InternationalBusiness and Contract Manufacturing.In 1861, during the American Civil War, the Rallis established a firm in Bombay known asRalli Brothers, under the management of Pandias Theodore Ralli and Ambrose TheodoreRalli. The war, which ended in 1865, dealt a severe blow to the economic health of Bombay.While Rallis fledgling office survived and subsequently prospered, the family suffered asetback in the demise of Pandias Stephen Ralli. His successor, Stephen Avgousti Rallistepped into Pandiass shoes. The growth of Ralli Brothers in India continued with theopening of an office in Karachi.The cotton crisis of 1866 dealt a blow to the Rallis business in India. However, they survivedand expanded their establishment to cover North and North Western India by opening anagency in Cawnpore, in a large property they had acquired in a strategic location in themarket place. In 1866, the firm was re-constituted under a strong management established inLondon with its sights set on the India Trade.In 1882-83, opium exports picked up from Bengal. The Rallis gained leadership in this tradeand maintained this position until partition of the sub-continent in 1947. India reignedparamount in Rallis trade destiny. If anything had to be wrapped or bagged, the Rallis werethere to do it. Although jute continued to be their mainstay, the Rallis in Bengal also dealtextensively in Shellac, teelseed, turmeric, ginger, rice, saltpetre, borax and of course,Manchester piecegoods. Having thus established themselves, they decided to move South. Atthe turn of the century, the Madras Presidency was still, to Rallis, virgin territory.In 1902, Rallis began business in Pondicherry and Madras. In Madras and Pondicherry, theybegan dealing with groundnuts and thus extended their base to Gujarat and Kathiawar. Thebunch variety of groundnuts soon became the mainstay of exports from the West Coast underthe name of Khandesh Groundnuts, KG in Ralli parlance. Backed by a stabilized rupee, in thenext ten years the Rallis managed to double the volume of Trade in India.The American crash of 1929 led to a world currency crisis. The stagnation in the worldeconomy and the inflated value of the Rupee dealt a severe blow to Indias exports andconsequently to Ralli Brothers. The firm was converted into a Private Limited Companyunder the name of Ralli Brothers Limited. In late 1931, Ralli Brothers closed down in Indiaafter 80 years of existence and the business passed to Argenti and Co acting as agents sellingon commission for all of Ralli Brothers Limited.
  2. 2. Rallis was re-born in India on August 23, 1948 with George Euthymopoulo as the Chairmanand Managing Director. The company diversified into products such as tractors and Reynoldsballpoint pens, and also began to trade in fertilizers. A new Chilean Nitrate AgriculturalService was set up in Madras for educating farmers. The quick acting Chilean Nitrate washighly profitable and became big business. To offer complete plant protection services, Rallistied up with Bharat Pulverizing Mills for supply of pesticides. Agrochemicals as a businesshad thus come to stay.In 1951, Rallis India went public and the issue was oversubscribed. But 1952 was a bad year.Euthymopoulo passed away. The foolhardiness of an employee resulted in huge losses and adowngrading of the share value. For the next 2 years, Rallis posted losses and diversificationplans began going awry. Rallis tractors were dumped at a heavy loss and consignments ofReynolds pens had to be returned due to leakage problems. By the end of 1952, Rallis well-paying Kolkatta jute business was also on its last legs.In 1955, the Rallis Head Office was shifted from Kolkatta to Bombay. A 50:50 joint venturewas established in India for Wolf portable electric tools (Rallis Wolf Private Limited). In1957, Rallis took up a 100% holding in Rallifan Pvt. Ltd. and acquired the whole of the W.T.Suren/TCF equity.The branch activities in Kolkatta had been much reduced to only jute manufacturing,piecegoods and umbrella ribs. In Kanpur the once thriving Cawnpore Seeds and WheatAgency now dealt principally in bones and tanning material. The companys fertilizeractivities moved to Bombay under Tony Mango.From 1958 to 1961, the company made higher profits every year. A liver extraction plant wasstarted in Magarwara, giving birth to Rallimeal for the Fertilizer Division. The Companystarted manufacturing single super phosphate. A pharmaceutical company, Boehringer-Knollwas created in which Rallis had a 48% share.1960-70 was a decade of mergers and acquisitions. In June 1962, Fisons and Tatas becamethe chief shareholders of Rallis India. As per mutual understanding, Fisons took charge ofRallis management with Tatas reserving the right to nominate the Chairman. In 1962-63,fertilizers and pesticides became a full-fledged division. Ralli Brothers, the Black Sea andEast Indian Merchants, born in London inThe distribution of Gujarat State Fertilizer Corporations products and later of CoromandelFertilizers, also turned out to be profitable businesses. During the same period Rallis tiedhands with FMC (USA) for sale of its product Furadan, thus starting a long standingassociation.More acquisitions followed. Rallis promoted Protein Products of India (PPI) for themanufacture of ossein and gelatin. Searle, manufacturers of steroids and pharmaceuticals,came to India with the contraceptive pill. Searle India was incorporated in May 1967 withSearle and Rallis as equal partners. Rallis also took over the marketing of iron dextran, apharmaceutical product of another Fison connection, Martin & Harris.In 1969, due to losses, Fison merged with Rallis to become Tata Fison, a Rallis Company.The distribution of pharmaceutical products of Benger (a Fison Company), Searle,Boehringer-Knoll and Schering-Plough helped the Company consolidate its position after thetakeover.
  3. 3. Rallis also marketed fertilizers for Neyvelli Lignite corporation, SPIC, Madras fertilizers,Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers etc. during this period.Rallis returned to profit unexpectedly fast. From 1977-78 onwards there were no majorproblems and all divisions except pharmaceuticals were humming. Now that therehabilitation was complete the stage was set to take Rallis into a new orbit.In August 1981, the era of cotton trading came to an end. Rallis bought Indian StandardMetals to supplement the engineering base and three new units were set up, one underRalliwolf in Ahmednagar and two within Rallis India. A pharmaceutical factory wasestablished in Ankleshwar with license for 5 new drugs. Similar investments were made inAgrochemicals where units were set up in Dera Bassi and Ankleshwar. Fenvalerate, made atDera Bassi, was a Sumitomo product and being the first synthetic pyrethroid, was a winner.Rallis also successfully produced Captan and Captafol. Searle a Rallis subsidiary haddeveloped its own recipe for Fenvalerate and was successfully marketing it in India. This iswhen Rallis had a major decision to take due to MRTP rules i.e. to have only one of the unitsmanufacturing the product. Sumitomo offered to give Rallis the know-how for Fenvalerate soRallis sold its stake in Searle to the Goenkas. Except Coromandel and FMC, Rallis lost thedistributorship for all other manufacturers.By the early nineties, Rallis became the fourth largest seed company in India. TataChemicals fertilizer plant manufacturing Urea was set up, a boon for Rallis. Rallis has beenthe sole distributor of TCL urea ever since. Realizing the farmers need for balancedfertilizers, Rallis introduced the physical mixture of NPK in granulated form.The Companyhas set up Farm Management Services (FMS) to undertake Contract Farming and helpfarmers arrange finance for their inputs and a fair price for their harvest.Awards/ Achievements In February 2009, Rallis India was conferred with the Growth Strategy Excellence Award in the Indian Crop Protection Chemicals Market by Frost& Sullivan. In December 2008, Rallis’ Turbhe unit has won National Energy Conservation Award 2007 under the Chemicals category. In November2008, Rallis’ has won the CII Exim Bank commendation for Significant Achievement in Business Excellence. In April 2007, three Rallis units, located at Ankleswar, Lote and Turbhe, after undergoing independent evaluation by British Safety Council auditors for compliance with best practices, have been awarded a 5 star grading for health and safety performance. In March 2007, Rallis has been awarded a Commendation Certificate in the 2006cycle of the IMC Ramkrishna Bajaj national Quality (RBNQ) Award in the category – Manufacturing.Future plansRallis India’s additional manufacturing facility at Dahej in Gujarat is expected to startcommercial production by June 2010. The company is planning to set up additionalmanufacturing facility at Dahej in Gujarat. A Rs 150-crore investment in Phase-I will gotowards creating a state-of-the-art facility for the company.