The making of an Era
The year was 1919. Chandulal Mothilal Kothari, a Gujarati from the Kutch region made Madras his home, and sank roots. He was one of the first from his community to become a professional with a law degree. He practiced for a while and was soon thinking about expanding into business – a rare lawyer with an entrepreneurial streak.
He set up Kothari & Sons, Share, Stock and Exchange Broker, one of the first firms in the stocks and share business in Madras. The Madras Stock Exchange was his brain child and he went on to head it, par excellence. Over the years, there were many firsts and pioneering ventures on his path – Madras Safe Deposit Company Ltd, Kothari Textiles Ltd et al. Growth came rapidly. These companies he started grew by leaps and bounds, as he kept adding new product lines and cannot-resist-offerings.
Often described as a philanthropist, impeccably well-dressed, extremely intellectual, his directorships demonstrated his range of interests and capabilities – He was one of the founders of the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Hindustan Chamber of Commerce, was Member of Commerce, Board of the University of Madras, a member of the Board of Industries, and, most significant of all, the first Indian Planting Member in the Madras Legislature. He was also a director of Amrutanjan Ltd., The Madras Publishing House Ltd., The Guntur Power & Light Co. Ltd., and the Vizagapatnam Sugar and Refinery Ltd.
To his peers and competitors, he was not an overnight success – Because they understood his resourcefulness, innovation, depth of knowledge, creativity and hard work. And so did his sons – Dr.D.C.Kothari and Mr.H.C.Kothari who joined him in 1930 to become the Partners of Kothari & Sons.
When he passed away at 64, his obituaries in leading dailies read as “the former President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and an ex-Sheriff of Madras,” – a pioneering entrepreneur who’s considerable contributions to the business world of South India, were driven by his simple motivation: To innovate and to make a difference.
Enterprise backed by Innovation
C.M.Kothari was all passion and energy, because he understood that every opportunity comes with a challenge. And every challenge has a solution. And every such solution will encompass discoveries and innovation that can help the creator and the user – the producer and the consumer. He shared with his sons that within finite resources, the world’s population must be fed, clothed and sheltered, and the world needed greater innovation and enterprise in agriculture.
It was the 1950s. His son Dr.D.C.Kothari shared his vision and expanded the business into Fertilizers, Textiles, Plantations – Tea and Coffee, Coffee curing works, Chemicals and Fertilizers. In less than 2 decades, they established separate undertakings for each line of business:
- Blue Mountain Estates and Industries Limited
- Waterfall Estates Limited
- Balmadies Plantaions Limited
- Kothari Textiles Limited and
- Adoni Spinning & Weaving Co. Limited
In 1961 a fertilizer factory was started at Ennore, a small town near Madras. Located in a sprawling 44 acre campus, the factory has a production capacity of 66,000 MTs per annum.
In 1970, with considerable progress under each wing, the brothers Dr.D.C.Kothari and H.C.Kothari, amalgamated all the five to form Kothari (Madras) Limited (K(M)L).
With expansion into power, coal, cement, fertilizers and chemicals, Kothari (Madras) Limited was a hugely successful dividend paying company. In 1984, the name of Kothari (Madras) Limited was changed to Kothari Industrial Corporation Limited (KICL). KICL took over fertilizers and agro chemicals in 1982 and 1990 were land mark years, as it’s shareholders rose to 50,000.
The 1990s saw expansion into building a manufacturing facility at Ennore for granites, adjacent to the fertilizers factory.
While the manufacturing facility at Ennore delivers Single Super Phosphate, the NPK Physical Mixtures are prepared across all KICL branches spread over four states, viz. Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, amounting to around 50,000 MTs per annum. In addition, NPK Granulated Mixtures are prepared in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and touch upon an annual sale of 40,000 MTs
Plant Protection Chemicals, Micro Nutrients, Organic Fertilizers & Bio Fertilizers are some of the off-shoot diversifications of KICL, committed to improving the lives of the farming committee – A legacy that Late C.M.Kothari would certainly be proud of.
Addressing the Challenge of Finite Land with Infinite Needs
The world of challenges has not changed from the times of C.M.Kothari. It has remained the same. And the concept of finite land and infinite needs too remains the same. So has our passion to help our world with unexpected innovations – To help producers (farmers) and consumers in all parts of India and the world.
KICL invests in R&D efforts to build up value-added biotech traits through fertilizers, agrochemicals, micro-nutrients and growth promoters. With its strong network of technology collaborations KICL has unique opportunities that can capitalize on future potential benefits of innovation in this space. The company has an outstanding base, both in terms of its market reach and its proprietary products and expertise.
KICL is now embarking upon an aggressive growth strategy. Apart from organic growth, strategic acquisitions are on cards, to achieve our objectives set for the next five years.
- As we brainstorm on the future of agriculture in India, we empower resources to create solutions that:
- Identify opportunities to save money for the farmer
- Enhance farmer productivity
- Lead the development of new knowledge and data about where, when, and how infinite needs can be met with finite resources.
- As we strategize on our market share, we add shareholders who share our passion to create these solutions.
- As we create solutions, we add more distributors and dealers who can reach out to embolden the dreams of the Indian farmer
- As we step in to this brave new world, our Corporate Social Responsibility programs work on the social, economic and environmental factors enabling all-round sustainability, in the long run.
We have done Late Shri C.M.Kothari proud in the last 100 years. We want to be a company that benefits India and the world, for another 100 years. At KICL, we believe these are plausible solutions.