Mapping Sanjay Dalmia’s Success in Textile retailing, Soda Ash & Tobacco Business

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The career graph of ace industrialist Sanjay Dalmia holds a testimony to his laudable achievements and milestones of success. It was in mid-1990s that his subsidiary GTC Industries, a tobacco company, emerged as a lucrative option for the investors.

The company even garnered the interest of Rothmans, the renowned British tobacco manufacturer. However, with Dalmia not willing to give up the control, the talks fell through. Thereafter, BAT acquired Rothmans and GTC landed upon the operating table of the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).

Soon thereafter, Soda ash fetched immense success to Sanjay Dalmia. His company Gujarat Heavy Chemicals even survived the takeover bid by Nirma. His unprecedented zeal to excel further made him invest his resources in Dalmia textile, which eventually emerged as one of his biggest ventures.

“Nothing can stop me,” Mr Dalmia said back then. His belief that the future of Dalmia textile lies in retail, not production, laid the foundation for his expansion plans across the globe. He invested around $100 million for acquiring a retail chain in the United Kingdom (Rosebys) and three firms in the United States, specialising in institutional sales (hospitals, hotels and retailers).

Dalmia further acquired Bega Upsom, a leading soda ash producer in Romania, for $20 million. “I came close to sewing up together an acquisition each in the US and China, but the deals fell through at the last moment over valuation,” he said.

Later focussing on his tobacco business, Sanjay Dalmia, chairman of Dalmia Group came up with a breakthrough technology — Lo Tobac, which cuts toxicity in cigarettes by nearly 50 per cent. It is worth noting that Dalmia has tried his hand at nutritional products in the past, but with limited success. However, even at the peak of his career, Mr Dalmia still shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to venturing into new domains and attaining success.

Last modified: March 5, 2019

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