• 1919-1943: The Beginning
    • Karam Chand Thapar & Bros. Ltd., the parent company of Karam Chand Thapar & Bros. (Coal Sales) Ltd. ["KCT"] - was established by the late Karam Chand Thapar, who is regarded as one of the pioneers of Indian commerce and industry...

      Having gained some experience of the coal industry in his youth, Karam Chand set out to establish his own coal trading business based out of the Jharia coalfields in 1919. Soon thereafter, he realized that the epicenter of the coal business was not where the mines were located, but in Calcutta, the then established base of all the large European owned mining companies. A year later, in 1920, he set out for Calcutta, the erstwhile capital of India, where he began to establish contacts with other Indian businessmen with the aim of convincing them to rally against the British stranglehold over coal production and distribution in India.

      That same year, his effort and determination were rewarded, and he started a successful coal distribution business based out of Calcutta. With his, "unique and innate genius for organization and leadership [and]…quick and clear understanding of men and matters,"* Karam Chand managed to consolidate a diverse group of investors and contractors, and incorporate them into his coal distribution network. He then began to rapidly acquire and develop coal mines in the states of Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

      Karam Chand was a dynamic businessman. He did not focus on coal alone but also ventured into other fields like paper, textiles, chemicals, sugar as well as banking (Oriental Bank of Commerce) and insurance (United Indian Insurance). In 1929, the flagship parent company of the Thapar Group ["the Group"], Karam Chand Thapar & Bros. Ltd., was formed. In the course of time, various companies owned and/or managed by Karam Chand were brought under its umbrella.

  • 1943-1971: Expansion of the Coal Business
    • Even as Karam Chand diversified into other uncharted fields, his coal business continued to expand in both volume and scope. Within a short period of time, he became one of the biggest coal mine owners in Asia...

      Due to the growth of the coal distribution business within the Group’s portfolio, Karam Chand decided to de-merge this business – henceforth to be known as Karam Chand Thapar & Bros. (Coal Sales) Ltd. [“the Company”] – from the parent so as to better manage the sales and supplies of coal. The present day KCT Coal Sales was thus established in the year 1943.

      Karam Chand gave charge of this newly formed Company to his eldest son, Inder Mohan, who was the Chairman and Managing Director till 2011. Under his guidance and leadership, the Company began on a path of steady growth. By the end of the 1960s, not only had KCT Coal Sales (along with its allied concerns like United Collieries Ltd., Oriental Coal Ltd., Bhowra Kankanee Ltd. etc.) grown to become the second largest owners of coal mines and producers of coal in India, but the Group also earned a reputation for operating the most efficient mines – both coking and non-coking coal – with the highest safety standards. For his outstanding achievements in developing the indigenous coal industry in India, Inder Mohan was given the nickname “King Coal” by his contemporaries.

  • 1971-present: Nationalisation of Coal & New Ventures
    • The 1970s spelt a reversal of fortune for the Company. The first half of the decade witnessed the nationalisation of all coal mines across India. While this historical event undoubtedly dealt a severe blow to the Group in terms of asset and revenue loss, Inder Mohan lost no time in changing strategy and steering the business back on course...

      Leveraging off the Company’s existing infrastructure, knowledge and experience, he shifted focus to the coal handling segment of the business, and in a short span of time, KCT Coal Sales became the leading coal logistics firm in India, a position it continues to hold to this day. In 1969, prior to coal nationalisation, Produce Exchange Corporation, another company of the Group which had been dealing in commodities such as sugar, starch, paper etc. was merged with KCT Coal Sales to leverage the established distribution network. With the addition of this business – then labeled Produce Exchange Division – the Company also became one of the largest paper distributors in India.

      In 2006, this Division was de-merged to form a separate company to meet the challenges of a new global economy. Today, it retains its position as one of the country’s largest paper distributors for both domestic and international paper manufacturers, and trades under the KCT brand.

      The period after nationalisation also witnessed a diversification of KCT Coal Sale’s business portfolio into other areas where the Company had a competitive advantage. In 1983, KCT merged with Thapar Intrafor Cofor India Ltd. [“TICIL”], a joint-venture between the Thapar Group and Intrafor Cofor, a French company that specialized in the development of deep mines. Since its creation in the 1960s, TICIL has been the civil works construction arm of the Group; successfully executing works for several large-scale hydro projects, including some of national importance like the Tehri Dam Project and the Kalinadi Hydel Project. Today, TICIL is considered one of the premier construction agencies in the field of hydro power, and has diversified its project portfolio to include road construction, underground tunneling etc.

      Finally, in 1992, the Company took yet another bold step towards the expansion of its business operations with the acquisition of Bharat Westfalia Ltd., a company that was - and still is - involved in the manufacture and supply of mining, material handling and general engineering equipment, including all types of fabrication and machining work. Bharat Westfalia Pvt. Ltd. (Bharat Westfalia Ltd. from 1978 onwards) was incorporated in May 1975 by its parent, Gewerkschaft Eisenhuette Westfalia GmBH of Germany, to service the requirements of the Indian coal mining sector. After its acquisition by KCT, it became known as Bharat Westfalia Division. Its works are currently supported by an ISO 9001:2000 Certificate

  • Looking Ahead: Future Outlook
    • Coal logistics, civil works construction and equipment manufacture continue to be the core business domains of the Company. However in recent years, KCT has successfully ventured into other business areas such as Power Trading and Real Estate Development...

      At present, management is actively pursuing opportunities for upstream and downstream diversification of the Compay's various business interests. Given the width and scope of its experience, KTC is strategically poised to take advantage of the many new opportunities presented by a trapidly globalising and modernising India.