The historic 182 year old Assam Company Limited, is staring at bankruptcy as its owner B R Shetty is caught in the middle of a massive financial fraud involving billions of dollar putting no less than 45,000 employees future at stake in dozen countries.
The Indian billionaire BR Shetty has reportedly flown to India as legal problems continue to mount in his UAE-based companies NMC Health and UAE Exchange. The 77-year-old was one of the first Indians to make his fortune in the UAE’s healthcare industry when he set up NMC Health in the 1970s and grew it to become the country’s largest operator of its kind before listing it on the London Stock Exchange in 2012
Mr Shetty bought the Assam Company at around Rs 700 crores in 2018 as the previous owner was not being able to run this historic company. But now the latest report is that Mr Shetty is practically on the run as a billion-dollar empire from health care to tea besides in finance, petroleum, coffee are built over large fraud and has collapsed.
The Economic Times reported in detail about this shocking fall as he used to be the richest Indian in the Gulf with two exclusive floors at Burj Khalifa besides a host of the jaw-dropping array of business.
But caught in between is the Assam Company India Limited (ACIL) one of the leading producers of the most exquisite, high quality, premium teas. The company operates 14 state-of-the-art factories, 15 tea estates and gardens spread over 14,000 hectares. It employs over 32,000 people with well laid-out infrastructure, duly supported by planned social welfare activities.
The company manufactures around 15 mn kg. of tea and being a bulk manufacturer, 95% of the operations are done through B2B route. The remaining 5% of the business is transacted in the small high-value niche product segment.
In the manufacturing process, an average of 600 hectares of tea encompasses a single high-quality production factory. The company has 14 tea estates, which are backed up by 14 states of the art factories. The book value of the Tea estates amounts to Rs.2130 mn and the current market value is Rs.3210 mm, the Company web sites read.
Landmarks of ACL in Tea Industry
- First tea company in the world (estd. 1839) set up by a deed of the British Parliament
- First company to be awarded the Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1845
- First company in the world to establish tea gardens
- First company to brand premium blends
- First company to export tea
- First company to create `Tea Seeds Gardens’
- First to have an Organic Tea Estate – Rembeng in Assam. Now the company has 69 Tea plantation units in North East India
- First to transact electronic tea sales (U.K.)
Assam Company Tea Gardens
- Digulturrung Tea estate
- Dinjan Tea Estate
- Rungagora Tea Estate
- Nudwa Tea Estate
- Thanai Tea Estate
- Hazelbank Tea Estate
- Maijan Tea Estate
- Greenwood Tea Estate
- Khoomtaie Tea Estate
- Borborooah Tea Estate
- Doomur Dullung Tea Estate
- Kondoli Tea Estate
- Kotalgoorie Tea Estate
- Mohokutie tea Estate
- Oaklands Tea Estate
Mr Shetty sought to buy Assam Paper Mills
Notably, Assam Government was very keen to sale the two ailing paper mills to Mr Shettya and Union Minister Rameshwar Teli was instrumental in approaching Mr Shetty.
“We have requested Dr B.R. Shetty to help us revive the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills, which have been defunct since October 2015 and March 2017 respectively. Discussions are on and very soon a fruitful result will come up,” Teli was quoted by newspaper across Assam when Mr Shetty had bought the Assam Company in 2018.
Mr Shetty said at the news meet after buying the Assam Company, “I am interested in buying the paper mills of Assam to help the workers who are in a pathetic condition. Recently, I visited the paper mills and saw the plight of the workers.”
But that never happened as Mr Shetty slipped into crisis soon after and never recovered and now it is completely out of control.