Tata Chemicals turns 81

Tata Chemicals completes eight decades of innovation and excellence

Established in 1939 in Mithapur, Gujarat, Tata Chemicals has consistently harnessed innovation to deliver premium quality products and serve society through science. Pushing limits in its journey to excel, Tata Chemicals has nurtured inherent strengths and accelerated growth to become one of the most reputed brands in the world, revolutionising the industry segments it operates in.

Revisit major milestones achieved by the company over the years through this photo feature — which highlights Tata Chemicals’ steadfast values, focus on safety, enduring passion, stringent integrity, unwavering excellence and new product development centred around customers.

  • During the 1920s-30s, the foundation for Okha Salt Works was laid by Kapilram Vakil, a British-educated chemical engineer.

  • Tata Chemicals Limited was incorporated on January 23,1939. It was merged with Okha Salt Works and Kapilram Vakil remained the director.

  • In 1940, Mithapur township took shape.

  • The plant’s first factory gate was installed in 1941.

  • In 1942, the first bromine plant of its kind in India was completed, the first unit in the new chemical works.

  • In 1943, the production of caustic soda, liquid chlorine, bleaching powder, hydrochloric acid and zinc chloride commenced in the auxiliary power plant, which was supervised by Darbari Seth.

  • Soda ash production started in February 1944, with an initial capacity of 50 tonne per day. 
    Tata Chemicals acquired rights to manufacture salt and marine minerals and to use limestone along with raw materials within the Kathiawad region in 1944.

  • Dr S Radhakrishna, the then President of India, visited the plant during 1962.

  • By 1964, soda ash production capacity was increased to 400 TPD as the ‘four hundred tonne programme’ tower was erected, which was followed by a week-long celebration where Indian theatre star Prithviraj Kapoor performed.

  • Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited the plant with JRD Tata and Darbari Seth, in 1967.

  • In 1980, Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development’s mission of improving the quality of life in Okhamandal was the first formalised CSR initiative in the Tata group, and has become the framework for community involvement across the country.

  • In 1982, Darbari Seth was appointed the chairman of Tata Chemicals, a post he held until 1995.

  • India’s first iodised, vacuum-evaporated, branded salt, Tata Salt, was launched in 1983. It was designed to address iodine deficiency among Indians in line with World Health Organization recommendations. Tata Salt went on to become the world’s leading branded product in the salt industry.

  • The foundation was laid for a urea plant in Babrala in Uttar Pradesh in 1989.

  • In 1992, Tata Shudh detergent was launched, which was manufactured at the Pithampur plant in Madhya Pradesh.

  • Tata Salt was ranked the No1 food brand in the Brand Equity Survey of India’s most trusted brands in 2003.

  • Tata Chemicals launched the i-Shakti salt in 2006, along with acquiring the Brunner Mond Group, one of the leading manufacturers of soda ash and associated alkaline products. The assets include Magadi Soda Company in Kenya.

  • Tata Chemicals launched Tata Salt Lite in 2007.

  • Tata Swach water purifier was launched in 2009 along with Tata Chemicals launching i-Shakti cooking soda.

  • In 2010, Rallis India acquired a majority stake in Metahelix Life Sciences, a biotech company focused on crop protection and increased agricultural productivity techniques.

  • In 2011, Tata Chemicals Magadi celebrated its centenary. Global subsidiaries were rebranded - General Chemical Industrial Products became Tata Chemicals North America, Magadi Soda Company became Tata Chemicals Magadi and Brunner Mond became Tata Chemicals Europe.

  • In 2012, Tata Salt launched a series of flavoured salt variants called Flavoritz. India’s first iodine plus iron-fortified salt was launched by Tata Chemicals.

  • In 2014, the company celebrated 75 years. To mark the occasion, R Mukundan, managing director and CEO of Tata Chemicals, along with former managing directors, rang the bell at the Bombay Stock Exchange to open the day’s trading.

  • In 2014, Tata Chemicals launched the book Salt of the Earth on the occasion of completing 75 years.

  • Tata Sampann was launched in 2015 with a focus on providing everyday nourishing foods.

  • In 2016, Tata Chemicals launched India’s first national brand of packaged iron-fortified iodised salt along with Tata Sampann range of spices.

  • Tata NX Zero Sugar was launched in 2018 along with MedikarbTM, India’s first branded pharmaceutical-grade sodium bicarbonate.

  • Tata Chemicals launched new Tata Sampann products — Multigrain Khichdi, Nutri Mix Chillas and Organic Pulses in 2018.

  • In 2018, the company started construction of a 5,000 MT manufacturing plant of fructooligosaccharides in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh.

  • Tata Chemicals launched the Centre of Excellence in 2018 to safegaurd marine biodiversity in Mithapur.

  • The Ncourage Social Enterprise Foundation was launched in 2018.

  • In 2019, signed MoU with CSIR-CECRI, Karaikudi, ISRO and C-MET to strengthen the lithium strategy, followed by Tata Chemicals launching the li-ion battery recycling operations.

  • 2019 marked the capacity expansion at Mithapur —  capex of Rs2,400 crore to strengthen and grow the basic chemistry and Tata Salt manufacturing businesses.