My Best Pick 2021

Viraj Mehta trusts the toughness and bounce of a company that has seen many trials

Nocil has a significant market share in the domestic and global rubber chemicals industry, and is ready to ride the China-plus-one wave 

The toughest things are forged in fire, and National Organic Chemicals (Nocil) has taken its fair share of heat. Whenever adversity struck, it responded by cutting out dead weight and building on its strengths. It is a strategy that has worked impressively well. Today, the company has a significant presence in the global stage and is prepared to make the best of supply-chains unmooring from China. 

The company comes from a group with a long history. 

The Mafatlal Group had been in business for over a century. Mafatlal Gagalbhai had left school to walk through villages with his father and sell textiles. In the early 20th Century, when the Swadeshi movement inflamed patriotism in many hearts and people burnt British-made goods, Gagalbhai’s business thrived. He soon expanded in Mumbai and, since then, the enterprise has grown despite the Great Depression, the World Wars and tragic deaths in the family.

Till the 1960s, the business was largely in textiles. But, in 1961, Arvind Mafatlal, the grandson of Gagalbhai set up India’s first petrochemical complex for manufacturing plastic and chemicals in Thane. Then differences in the family cropped up and the enterprise was split into two, one of which was Arvind Mafatlal Group, with part of textiles and chemicals units.

Over the years, there have been mistakes made but they were promptly corrected. During the Licence Raj, the group entered multiple unrelated sectors such as machinery, electronics, medical equipment, software and finance. Post-liberalisation in 1991, most of the businesses were rendered uncompetitive and Arvind Mafatlal’s son Hrishikesh decided to divest all the non-core businesses. He decided to focus once again on textiles and chemicals. The recession of the late 90’s drove even thes

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