ABOUT ANDREW YULE
History of Andrew Yule is not only about its business empire but also about the immense contributions it made towards socio-economic and industrial development of the country. It all started in 1863 when Andrew Yule, a young entrepreneur from Scotland arrived in Calcutta, the then imperial capital of India and founded the Company as a managing agency at a time when the railways, telegraph and postal services made a beginning in the country. By 1875 the Company established substantial business interest in jute, tea, cotton, coal and insurance.
George Yule, the elder brother of Andrew Yule, took the reign of the Company in 1875. He was a typical exponent of liberal school of thought and took a leading part in public affairs. He became the Sheriff of Calcutta in 1886 and was elected the President of Indian National Congress in 1888, one of the only two Europeans who have the said honour.
Sir David Yule assumed the full control of the business of the Company after George Yule’s death and by 1902 the Company managed more than 30 businesses which included Jute Mills, Cotton Mills, Tea Companies, Coal Companies, Railway Company, Printing Press and even a Zamindari Company in Midnapur District of West Bengal where the Company promoted agriculture, forestry, fisheries, roads, schools, hospitals and dispensaries.
The elegant ‘Yule House’ at 8 Clive Row, Calcutta, the corporate centre of the Andrew Yule Group since 1907 was built by David Yule. David Yule was conferred with Knighthood in 1912 when King George V and Queen Mary visited India. He was the only non-official to be honoured for providing food and employment to more than 2,00,000 people.
Sir David Yule continued to expand the business to power, paper, engineering, shipping and so on and by In 1913 Andrew Yule was the largest managing agency house in the country with 37 companies under its hold. In 1919, the goodwill and business of Andrew Yule was sold to a new Private Limited Company namely Andrew Yule Company Pvt. Ltd. and subsequently in 1946 it was converted into a Public Limited Company.
At the time of independence in 1947, the Company was at the zenith of its prosperity and influence. The Group managed about 57 Companies, provided employment to about 86 thousand people and in addition indirect employment to many more. The turnover of the Group in 1947 was Rs.23 crore, but what is more remarkable that the amount paid to the exchequer of Rs.1.80 crore was one sixtieth of Government’s total current revenue at that time.
Andrew Yule celebrated its centenary year in 1963. However, post-1963 era had been a period of dramatic change both in structural fabric and fortunes of the Company. Managing agency system was abolished in 1969, coal and insurance were nationalized, jute business was sold in early 70s and the Group shrunk considerably. There was great deal of uncertainty about the future of the Company. It was in this background that the Government of India decided to acquire its 49% foreign shareholdings to provide stability to the organization. Government subsequently acquired another 2% from the market and thus, Andrew Yule & Co. Ltd. became a public sector enterprise in 1979.
The present business of the Andrew Yule Group includes Tea, Electrical, Engineering, Lubricant, Printing, Digital Communication etc. Various changes in the economic situation as well as socio-economic conditions for 150 years could never dampen the tradition and heritage of the Company and its business growth. The Company always had the resilience to withstand the vicissitudes and the test of time. The recent example was the remarkable turnaround by the Company in 2007 for which it received the SCOPE Excellence Award for the turnaround category. Today, the Andrew Yule Group has a turnover of Rs.1,200 crore and it employs about 16,500 people.