Kamalnayan Bajaj - page 18

KamalnayanBajaj –Architect of theBajajGroup
Listening toNehru,Kamalnayan reviewed the events
of the past five years. Aminimum ofRs. 60 lakhworth
of assets hadbeen lost toPakistan. Several properties
had tobe sold topay debts.He had to shut down the
stock-broking firmbecause of heavy losses.On the
positive side of the ledger, almost everyone from the
Karachi branchwhowanted to leavePakistanwas safely
back in India. They still had the steel rollingmill in
Bombay, and a bit of real estate. The trading, ginning
andpressing, and sugar businesseswere profitable.
Hismanagement teamwas experienced.He had good
partners and strong family support. Young andfit,
Kamalnayan felt capable and ready to acceptNehru’s
challenge tobuild the temples ofmodern India.
His energy transformed theBajaj group. In 1964,
twelve years under his leadership, the government drew
up its first list of ‘monopolistic business houses’. The
BajajGroup found itself ranked 19thwith assets under
management ofRs. 29.25 crore.UnderKamalnayan’s
leadership, between 1942 to 1972, sales climbed from
Rs. 67.60 lakh toRs. 76.24 crore; gross profit from
Rs. 12.77 lakh toRs. 8.41 crore.
Kamalnayanused all routes to growth known at the
time.He expanded the businesses startedby his father,
diversified intonewbusinesses, constructed greenfield
plants, acquired companies, entered into joint ventures,
introducednewproducts, anddevelopeddistribution
networks in India and outside.
These achievementswere crafted in an eramarkedby
shortages. Shortage of rawmaterials and electricity,
of foreign exchange needed to importmachinery.
Frequent communal riots disrupteddistribution. Bank
nationalisation and the rupee’s depreciationwere serious
dislocations. The benefits of technologies seededby the
1960s’ green revolution took time and the threat ofmass
hungerwas never far.
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