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straw board

L. M. Thapar

Lalit Mohan Thapar (27th October, 1930 to 17th January, 2007). headed the LM Thapar group of companies. He was born to Karam Chand Thapar, the founder of the Thapar group of companies that ran JCT Mills , BILT and other industrial concerns. Brij Mohan Thapar or BM Thapar, Inder Mohan Thapar and Man Mohan Thapar are his brothers. He did his schooling from the prestigious Doon School. He graduated in engineering from the University of Southern California, USA. He became Chairman of the Ballarpur group of companies in 1962. He died of cardiac and renal failure at Escorts Hospital in New Delhi on January 17th 2007.

Group Companies

Ballarpur Industries Limited , Bilt Paper Holdings Limited, Orient Engineering and Commercial Company Limited, The Pioneer , Sohna Stud Farm Pvt Limited, TT & G Trading Pvt Limited, iBilt Technologies Limited, Bilt Middle East Pvt Limited, Himalayan Hideaways Pvt Limited, Karam Chand Thapar & Bros Limited, Lavasa Corporation Limited and KCT Papers Limited are some of the Thapar group companies that he has been a director of.

Personal

Single and staying in prestigious Lutyen's New Delhi on Amrita Shergill Marg, Mr L.M. Thapar was involved in a court case when a lady accused him of breach of promise. The case was settled out of court.

His nephew Gautam Thapar (son of BM Thapar) has taken over LM Thapar's companies in the year 2005. He left his voting rights, shares and most of his personal effects to Gautam in his will.

An alumni of The Doon School LMT was known to be fond of the good life as well as known for being charming and polished. In most of his obituaries his bon vivant persona was highlighted.

Thapar Group

The Thapar group was started by Karam Chand Thapar, till the 70's and the early 1980s it was one of the top 10 business houses of India. Karam Chand Thapar died in 1963, and his eldest son L.M. Thapar took over the group, which then included the Oriental Bank of Commerce, as well as Oriental Insurance Both these companies later got nationalised .Other Thapar group companies and concerns in India are or were ,The Pioneer , Thapar house on Janpath lane, Tiger Bay restaurant, Global Green.

Greaves Cotton and JCT group is with MM Thapar. His son Samir Thapar runs JCT Mills and his son Arjun Thapar runs JCT electronics.

The Crompton Greaves , BILT, Bilt Chemicals and Bharat Starch was vested with BM Thapar and hence would be under his sons Gautam and Karan Thapar's control. Gautam has also been named by L.M. Thapar as the successor of his group of companies.

IM Thapar's son Vikram Thapar looks after his group which includes the Calcutta based coal trading business K.C Thapar started out with and prawn farms for prawn exports as well as the Tiger Bay restaurant chain.

Thapar Institute of Engineering and Tech. (Now Thapar University) is a group project funded by the Thapar's.

After L.M Thapar's death in 2007, his nephew Gautam Thapar (son of BM Thapar and grandson of Karam Chand Thapar) has taken the reigns of BILT which is the flagship company of the group.

The current situation of the Thapar group

L.M.Thapar was quick to become a member of the "Bombay Club" which opposed opening up of Indian economy. The company responded to liberalisation by diversification including into unrelated business like leather, shoe lasts, light weight concrete blocks and reinforced slabs, prawn culture, compressed straw board, nylon (collaboration with Du pont ) newspaper publication , flower exports. But the group failed to make success of most of these businesses, lost financially and decided to hive off some of these businesses. But failed even in that although the same businesses managed by other enterpreneurs have done remarkably well in India.

One saw group business line like edible oil, being hived off and company resorting to economy measures like restricting executive benefits like business class airtravel, withdrawal of lunch facility for senior executives. So much so that it decided to move out its offices to Sainik Farms from Thapar house in Janpath. Executive turn over in the company rose very high about this time. Its chemical business declined and it sold off its glass business, and edible oil business.

The company gave up its policy of growth through diversification. Now the company is consolidating in its core business by mergers and acquisition the most significant of which was the acquisition of SINARMAS India operation. Fortunately for the company, paper industry is still protected by high customs duty on import of most variety of papers. But it is unlikely to get that protection because India is committed to bring down tariff to Asean Levels. For last couple of years under leadership of Mr. Gautam Thapar the company is doing well??? From a low price of around twenty, the share value has shot up to 100 plus - a huge leap in market capitalisation.

BILT has recently also acquired a paper company in Malaysia which has captive forests for raw material. This would help the company in meeting the risks of low tarrifs granted by the Indian Government to ASEAN.

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