A Manufacturing major of Kerala
“A business establishment that has had a successful run of one century and is still going strong,” C T Thomas’ face lights up as he describes the growth of Kelachandra Group.
The business venture, Kelachandra Polymers, with a current worth of Rs. 75 crore was started as a small engineering workshop set up using a loan of Rs. 40,000 by his grandfather K Thomas. The firm started off as mosaic tile manufacturers, a new area of business in the State of Travancore way back in 1958. It also ventured into casting of building blocks and manufacturing of spare parts for heavy oil engines used in rubber plantations.
“Our focus has always been on agriculture-based industries. The timeline proves it,” explains 83-year-old Thomas, who now leads Kelachandra. The year 1974 was an important year for the company as it ventured into manufacturing of PVC pipes, for replacing the existing pipes and thereby revolutionizing the field by playing a pivotal role. The company also made Chingavanam in Kottayam, the rubber capital of India, its base.
In 1988, Kelachandra Tube Industries was established. It was registered as an independent company and a tile factory was also set up. Taking the PVC pipe revolution to the next level, Kelachandra began manufacturing PVC pipe fittings at their own facility in the year 2000.
“When the business flourished, we diversified into manufacturing of pipe fittings, overhead water tanks, PVC solvent cement, rainwater harvesting system and well recharging system, serving lakhs of people,” he says.
In 2013, the company began HDPE water tank manufacturing. “Our experience in rubber processing machinery manufacturing technology has led us to establish Kelachandra Iron & Steel Works, Kelachandra Machines, Kelachandra Gears, Kelachandra Heavy Engineering Works and Kelachandra Precision Engineers. With a range of production machines for the manufacture of automobile tyres and tubes, tread rubber, rubber footwear, moulded goods, mats, mattings, recycled rubber goods and laboratory machines, we could make an impact,” Thomas adds.
Equipped with precision heavy-duty German machines, Kelachandra began fabrication of large components and heavy-duty industrial gear wheels for rubber industry, ship construction, cement plants, sugar processing and power plant engineering. In 2017, the company forayed into the field of well recharging (rainwater harvesting).
Last year, Thomas started Kelachandra Mouldings.
He has already passed the legacy to his children, hoping to continue as a synonym of ‘trust’ for more centuries.