The name Berger or Lewis Berger is today synonymous with colour worldwide. But actually the origin of the name dates back to over two & a half centuries in England in 1760, when a young colour chemist named Lewis Berger, started manufacturing in Europe, 'Prussian blue' using a secret process that every designer and householder coveted. Mr. Berger perfected this process & art of the blue colour, which was the colour of most military uniforms of that time. Enriched by the imagination of Lewis Berger, the unending quest for creation and innovation in the world of colour & paints still continues.
The history of Berger Paints India Limited as a company started in 1923 as Hadfield's (India) Limited which was a small colonial venture producing ready-mixed stiff paints, varnishes and distempers setup on 2 acres of land in one of India's first industrial towns close to Kolkata in Howrah, Bengal. Subsequently in 1947, British Paints (Holdings) Limited, an international consortium of paint manufacturing companies bought over Hadfield's (India) Limited and thus the name changed to British Paints (India) Ltd. The gentleman who took over, as its first managing director was Mr. Alexender Vernon Niblet, an Englishman who was later on followed by Mr. Alfred Godwin in 1962.
Further in the year 1965, the share capital of British Paints (Holdings) Limited was acquired by Celanese Corporation, USA and the controlling interest of British Paints (India) Ltd was acquired by CELEURO NV, Holland, a Celanese subsidiary.
Subsequently in 1969, the Celanese Corporation sold its Indian interests to Berger, Jenson & Nicholson, U.K. Then onwards the company British Paints (India) Ltd became a member of the worldwide BERGER group having its operations across oceans in numerous geographies and this marked the beginning of Lewis Berger's legacy in India – which the company would later take forward to enviable heights. From 1973 the company entered into one of its dynamic phases of business with introduction of new generation products in the industrial, marine and decorative segments under the able leadership of its first Indian Managing Director Mr. Dongargaokar Madhukar.
Year 1976 was another turning point in the history of the company when the foreign holding in the company was diluted to below 40% by sale of a portion of the shares to the UB Group controlled by Mr. Vittal Mallya. The reins of the company were taken over by Mr. Biji K Kurien as its Chief Executive & Managing Director in the year 1980. Finally in the year 1983, the British Paints (India) Limited, changed its name to Berger Paints India Limited.
The entire 80's & 90's saw the launch of many new products from company's stable such as premium emulsions and high quality acrylic distempers. The COLOUR BANK tinting system was launched through which the consumer could select from a range of over 5000 shades.
Again the fortunes of the company changed hands in 1991 with UB Group's stake in the company bought over by the Delhi based Dhingra brothers, Mr. K.S.Dhingra & Mr. G.S.Dhingra and their associates of the UK Paints Group. Presently Dhingras' control a majority stake of almost 73% in Berger Paints India Limited, a professionally managed organization, headquartered in Kolkata, Mr. Subir Bose, a 10-year company veteran, took over as Managing Director on 1 July, 1994. Completing a challenging 18 year stint at the helm with immense success, Mr Bose retired on 30 June, 2012, handing over the reign of the company to Mr. Abhijit Roy. Today the stewardship rests with the current Managing Director Mr. Abhijit Roy.
On December 1923, Mr. Hadfield, an Englishman set up Hadfield's (India) Ltd, a small paint company in Calcutta.
Adamson bought his first Oil and Colour business in 1909. By 1917, Adamson was ownned paint manufacturing companies in Rhodesia, Canada and the Caribbean. Elsewhere an Englishman, Mr. Hadfield, set up Hadfield's (India) Limited on 17 December, 1923, a small paint company in Calcutta.
James Wilfred Adamson, founder of the British Paints Organization, embarked on his career as a traveling salesman.
Towards the end of 1947, British Paints acquired Hadfield's (India) Limited and thus British Paints (India) Limited was incorporated in the State of West Bengal. What British Paints, (Holding) UK, acquired was a company which at that time produced 150 tonnes of ready mixed stiff paints, varnishes and distempers. Our 1947 sales were a princely RS.25 lakhs, with a total employee strength of 100. The first Managing Director of British Paints was Mr. A. V. Niblett.
Sales offices were opened in Delhi and Mumbai and in 1951 a depot was started in Guwahati. Sales rose to Rs.6 million in 1952.
The Company declared its first dividend and shifted the Head Office to 32, Chowringhee Road, Calcutta. By 1959, modernization of the Howrah Factory was completed and the first resin plant commissioned. With that, they entered the synthetics paints market.
Mr. R. A. Godwin took over as the Chairman & Managing Director in 1962 and initiated further modernization.
By 1965 British Paints (Holdings) Limited, UK, was acquired by Celanese Corporation, U.S.A. As a result, the controlling interest of the Company passed on to CELEURO N.V., Holland. In 1969, Celanese Corporation sold their interest in the Indian Company to Berger, Jenson Nicholson Limited, UK. It was the beginning of the legacy of Lewis Berger in India - which the Company would later take forward to enviable heights.
Mr. D. Madhukar took over as the Managing Director in the year 1973.
Under his expert stewardship the Company took the giant strides that made it the fastest growing company in the paint industry. Developments took place in every sphere...new sales offices added, newer products introduced, new markets opened up and new services offered. Sales reached over Rs. 160 million by 1978.
Mr. Biji K. Kurien takes over as Chief Executive in 1980.
From 31 December 1983, the name of the Company was changed to Berger Paints India Limited (BPIL) with unanimous approval of the shareholders. By this time, there was a division of Berger's operations into the Retail Business Line (RBL) and the Industrial Business Line (IBL) in order to better cater to needs of our customers.
Simultaneously, the Company started using the trade name and mark BERGER. From 1983 till date, for more than two decades, the Company has solely used and developed the name and trademark of BERGER and all its other variants in India. BERGER became a household name in India.
During this period, many new products were launched like "Luxol Silk" the first premium emulsion in India, Viton Refinish for cars, Bison Acrylic Distemper and Rangoli Acrylic Emulsion.
BERGER PROLINKS, a service aimed at providing paint and application related information to professionals.
It was introduced marking one of our first steps into painting related services.
In 1991, the controlling stake in the Company was acquired by Mr. K S Dhingra, Mr. G S Dhingra and their associates. At that time the total sales of the Company was Rs 1.15 billion.
1994 witnessed top management change. Mr. Biji K. Kurien, who was the Managing Director of the Company for the last 14 years, stepped down and Mr. Subir Bose, a 10 year veteran in the Company, took over as the new Managing Director. The sales of the Company touched 2.76 billion by 1995-96.
The latter half of the nineties saw BERGER attain the ISO - 9000 certification (1996) and establishment of BERGER's Quality Management System.
COLOUR BANK tinting system was also launched through which the consumer can select from a range of over 5000 colours and which are then made available in minutes.
As part of its expansion program, a new paint-manufacturing unit at Pondicherry was commissioned in early 1997.
A Joint Venture - Berger Becker Coatings Limited, was started in Goa with Becker Industraifarg A. B., Sweden.
"In 1999, Rajdoot Paints Ltd. was merged with the Company. The merger resulted in addition of two new factories at Goa and Sikandrabad, U.P., a joint venture company by the name of Berger Becker Coatings Private Limited, a network of new depots and several new brands."
In the new millennium Jenson & Nicholson, Nepal was acquired as a 100% subsidiary and renamed Berger Jenson & Nicholson, Nepal.
The Motors & Industrial paints business of ICI India with its factory at Rishra; West Bengal was acquired as a 100% subsidiary Berger Auto & Industrial Coatings Limited and then merged with the Company in 2005.
Another new paints factory at Jammu was commissioned in 2003-04 and in 2005 the Company ventured into Russia through a foreign subsidiary.
New technical tie-ups were forged. Currently the Company has Technical License Agreements with (1) DuPont Performance Coatings in the area of automotive coatings, (2) Nippon Paint Co Ltd for new generation of automotive coatings, (3) Orica Australia Pty. Ltd. in the area of protective coatings, (4) TIGERWERK Lack-u.Farbenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG, Austria for specialized powder coatings and (5) Nippon Bee Chemical Co. Ltd for coating on plastic auto parts and mobile phones.
Lewis Berger Home Painting was launched, offering painting solution to customers - making it a hassle free exercise. Illusions multi chrome finishes was also introduced as "designer finishes for walls" allowing consumers to transform their walls into fashion statements. This is once again a first for the Indian paint industry.
The name Berger was prefixed with the first name of Mr. Lewis Berger and a premium range of products was launched under his full name. The new trademark includes LEWIS BERGER and incorporates a unique design and colour scheme, reaffirming the Company's commitment towards aesthetics, product quality, packaging and better service to dealers and customers.
Ever since the launch of Lewis Berger range of products, the company is on a growth trajectory and is in the process of expansion of its manufacturing facilities & channel network across India. The Company's consolidated sales turnover in the year ended 31st March, 2011 was Rs 2328.12 crs.
To avail the services all that a customer needs to do is call on Berger's Helpline 1901 - 3333 - 55 and enjoy customized service in the comfort of his home.