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Friday, March 31, 2023

How a jute goods supplier founded Rs 500 crore brand Borosil that once suffered losses

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An Indian company that is almost 60 years old is known for its beautiful glassware as well as kitchen appliances. Borosil, which was established in 1962, currently employs 1500 people and has become a multi-crore company.

Shreevar Kheruka, who is managing director of Borosil Glass Works Limited, tells us about the journey of this brand which is now worth Rs. 500 crore.

He says, “My great grandfather worked as a jute goods dealer in then-Calcutta in the late 1950s, and B L Kheruka, who was my grandfather, later joined him in the business. The two put in hard work and built a thriving firm, which even started supplying jute goods to foreign countries. However, as the jute exchange closed, the firm struggled and sputtered. At the time, my grandfather had been dissatisfied with some of the decisions being made and felt he could have achieved a better result.”

It was this setback that drove Kheruka to look into a business, where he could control the result.

Kheruka travelled to several regions of the world in search of an industry in which he might establish a firm, including Japan and Germany.

Shreevar explains,“After much investigation, it came down to establishing a firm that worked with glass or paper.

They filed for both licences, and since they were granted one to start a glass firm, Window Glass Limited was formed.”

Window Glass Ltd, as Borosil was known in 1962, formed a partnership with Corning Glass Works USA to produce and market glass that is scientific and  industrial . While the choice to enter the glass company had been made, it was a major difficulty as the founders did not know much about the field.

“For nearly 12 years after Borosil was created, it continued to suffer losses,” Shreevar claims. But, Kheruka persisted with the venture.

My grandfather had this unwavering faith that things will start becoming better.  That was enough to keep them going.”

Borosilicate glass–a type of glass that doesn’t break when exposed to high temperatures, making it ideal for industrial and laboratory applications–became the company’s trademark brand.

This quickly spawned a new brand name – Borosil.

The well-known home and cookware brand that the world sees now did not exist at the time. The company was mostly a manufacturer of scientific products, with a couple of consumer products thrown in for good measure. In 1988, Kherukas purchased Corning’s portion of the JV and gained control of the business, launching their own adventure.

While the company is popular and lucrative now, it was not an easy road to get there. But, because of the resilience of its founders, Borosil is today a Rs.500 crore business.

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