Kamalnayan Bajaj - page 37

33
KamalnayanBajaj –Architect of theBajajGroup
Bajaj Auto’s paidup
capital prior to its
IPOwasRs. 990,000
divided into 9,900
shares ofRs. 100
each. In the IPO
34,360 shares of
Rs. 100 eachwere
offered at par for
public subscription
and 25,740 shares
ofRs. 100 each at
par for the existing
shareholders.
TheController
ofCapital Issues
gavehis consent on
October 21, 1960.
AsDdayapproached, thedirectors –KamalnayanBajaj,
RameshwarprasadNevatia,VirenShah,Madanmohan
RRuia,RamnathPodar, ShantanuLKirloskar andMK
Firodia - tuned in to the gossipon theBombayStock
Exchange. BajajAutohad tenbrokers selling the issue,
six inBombay, two inDelhi andone each inMadras and
Calcutta.TheRs. 60.10 lakh issuewas oneof thebiggest
tohit themarket.Relief.The issuewas over-subscribed.
The shares of the companywerefirst listedon the
BombayStockExchange inApril, 1961.
Themoneywas promptly spent onmoremachineryat
theAkurdi plant. BajajAutohad some catchingup todo.
Kamalnayanwas not thefirst tomake scooters in India.
That honourwent toMAChidambaram, a talented
entrepreneur fromTamilNadu.Hewas handeda
two year leadandagreat brand, Lambretta, byaminister
in theNehruadministration, a fellowTamilian.Nor
was it certain that scooters, rather thanmotorcycles,
would turnout tobe the commonperson’s choice. In the
beginning, theNehruadministrationgaveout two scooter
licenses and twomotorcycleones. So exactlyhowdid
thePuneites overtake the champion?Andhowdid they
manage to stayon top for somanydecades?Andwhat
was the roleBajajAutoplayed in swinging India towards
scooterswhen the rest of theworld chosemotorcycles?
Looking backwards,management gurus andMBA
students have spent thousands of hours teasing out
and identifying the key decisions andprocesses that
went intomakingBajaj scooters the#1. Books and
case studies abound.On the ground, at the time, on a day-
to-day basis,Kamalnayan andRahul worked on a simple
principle –be the best at what youdo. The phrasewould
become amantra inAkurdi, driving the organisation.
AlthoughAPI initially dominated the scootermarket,
Bajaj Auto overtook it fairly quickly. Anumber of
government andprivate enterprises also entered the
scooter segment, but “almost all of themdisappeared
from themarket by the turn of the century,” noted
ArthurThompson, an industry tracker. “Bajaj Auto
stood the test of time.”
850 tonhydraulicpress
Inside thenewlyminted factory
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