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From the toughest to the best year
The company which started with an annual capacity of 6000 tonnes of PVC now has an aggregate capacity of 3.66 lakh tonnes.

Sanmar Chairman Sankar’s grandfather Sankaralinga Iyer, promoted the India Cements and the Indo-Commercial Bank. His son K S Narayanan and that brilliant find of Sankaralinga Iyer, T S Narayanaswamy, launched spectacular expansion of the group’s activities. In the 1960s. Chemicals and Plastics India Ltd (Chemplast) pioneered the production of PVC from the renewable agriculture resources of molasses, a by-product of sugar mills. Sankar joined Chemplast on his return after taking MS in chemical technology from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He pithily described the transformation from the day he joined Chemplast on 4 May 1967 to its golden jubilee celebrations on 4 May 2017: “it has sustained its growth while being true to its culture of a fair deal for all, innovation and excellence in implementation. If its first year of operation was among the toughest, the company’s 50th year performance is the best in its history with record production and sales. The company which started with an annual capacity of 6000 tonnes of PVC now has an aggregate capacity of 3.66 lakh tonnes,” he said. 

The demise of Narayanaswamy in March 1968 put a lot of load on the young shoulders of Sankar who steered it through the tough, uncertain, controlled years and the more challenging competitive, liberalised era after 1991. 

A major decision was the acquisition of Mettur Chemicals and Industrial Corporation from the Seshasayee Group that was supplying the vital chlor-alkali chemicals needed by Chemplast and also the Metchem that pioneered production of Silicon wafers in the country. Sanmar group contributed richly to the prosperity of the Mettur-Salem region with its cluster of factories, constantly expanding capacities and focusing on technology. Production activities in diverse fields extended to Cuddalore and Chennai. 


Zero liquid discharge...

At the function special mention was made of the focus on zero liquid discharge by the group. This focus has sharpened and expanded through the decades. As part of the Golden jubilee the company donated a crore of rupees to the IIT-Madras to set up a zero liquid discharge laboratory and to research on this vital concept. 

Speakers at the golden jubilee from the international collaborators Cabot Corporation and Fairfax and from the longstanding customer, M P Taparia of Supreme Industries and TVS’ Venu Srinivasan referred to the several ethical practices of the group. 

Taparia, a large consumer of PVC said that  the present consumption of PVC is 3 mn tonnes and local production is just 1.3 mn tonnes. The industry has been registering a 12 to 15 per cent growth annually and thus Chempast Sanmar has potential to expand capacity to a million tonnes in quick time.” 

For 2016-17 Chemplast Sanmar group had a turnover of a billion dollars with the flagship company  clocking  nearly half of this. The group is well-poised for quantum growth. - SV 

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