Business Today
Companies that have survived 100 years in India

India has around three dozen century-old companies that are listed and still actively traded. Of these we have selected some that have done especially well at responding to change.

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.

1788: Breen & Co founded; to become Jessop in 1820
1838: The Times of India launched

1898: Calcutta becomes first city in India to get electricity

1902: Shalimar Paints sets up first paint factory in SE Asia


1902: Tatas open first hotel, Taj Mahal Palace

1910: Advent of electricity helps Britannia biscuits mechanise operations


1911: Shift of India's capital to Delhi announced; ITC gets stalls to advertise at Durbar

1919: Birlas defy Yule and other Scots to get into jute manufacture, WWI fuels boom

1926: Kirloskar makes first diesel engine in India

1929: TVS bags General Motors' dealership

1931: CESC builds tunnel under river Hoogly

1940: For the first time, The Times of India publishes news items

1945: Britannia sales surge, fuelled by contract to supply biscuits to Allied troops

1951: R.D. Birla acquires control of Century Textiles

1953: Bengal Chamber of Commerce completes a 100 years


1958: Godrej & Boyce makes the fi rst Indian refrigerator, in collaboration with GE

1969: Managing Agency system abolished


1975: ITC makes fi rst diversification, into hotels

1988: Jessop celebrates 200 years of existence

1998: Burman family hands over Dabur management to professionals

2007: Tata Steel acquires Corus

Century-old companies but still young

1.Bennett, Coleman & Co: Just in times
2.Britannia: Not by bread alone
3.Century Textiles & Industries: Century's century
4.CESC: Power to the people
5.Dabur: Growth tonic
6.Godrej & Boyce: Safe and sound
7.Indian Hotels: Halls of fame
8.ITC: Imperial touch
9.Kirloskar Brothers: Pump and Show
10.Shalimar Paints: Paintmaker iconic
11.Tata Steel: Nerves of steel
12.TVS: Cruise control
13.The 100-year old banks
14.Jessop & Company: Grandpa of them all
15.Web exclusive: Bombay Dyeing reinventing itself
16.Web exclusive: DCM hopes to thrive again
17..The others

ACKNOWLEDGMENT We thank and acknowledge the following for access to their records and permission to use images from their archives and publications: Allahabad Bank; Andrew Yule; Bank of Baroda; Britannia; Bennett, Coleman & Co; CESC, Century Textiles; Dabur; Godrej Archives; Indian Hotels; ITC; Jessop; Kirloskar; Saregama; Shalimar Paints; Tata Steel; TVS & Sons; The Statesman.
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