THE WALCHAND GROUP
Vaibhav Vinekar (656)
Priya Rebello (639)
Dr. Nilesh Khadse (637)
Melisia Fernandes (632)
The Walchand Group of Industries was founded by Seth Walchand Hirachand. He came from a
family originally engaged in money-lending and trading. He started off in entrepreneurship with
co-founding the Phatak-Walchand Pvt. Ltd., which undertook contracts for railway constructions.
However, after a few years, the company found it difficult to bag major projects, and was later
merged into the Tata Construction Company. With help from the Tata badge, he undertook
many major construction contracts, and later became the Managing-Director of the company. In
1935, the company was renamed to Premier Construction to reflect the fact that the Tatas
had sold their stake in it.
Also, in the post-World War- I period, he bought a steam-ship along with his friends from
the Scindias of Gwalior and started the first „swadeshi‟ shipping company- The Scindia Steam
Navigation Company Ltd. In 1929, he became the Chairman of The Scindia Steam Navigation
Company Ltd. and continued in the same position till 1950. By 1953, the company had captured
21% of Indian coastal traffic.
In 1939, he was inspired to start an aircraft company. Hindustan Aircraft was started in
Bangalore in the Kingdom of Mysore with the active support of its ruler, in December 1940. By
April 1941, the Indian government acquired one-third of ownership and by April 1942, it
nationalized the company by compensating shareholders adequately. The reasons that prompted
the government for nationalizing were – it was a sensitive and strategic sector; Japan‟s advances
in the war meant that the government needed fast responses and hence, direct ownership; and
it could not allow a crucial war project to remain undercapitalized or loss-making. Hindustan
Aircraft was renamed as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Walchand also thought it was of great importance to have a ship-building...