Ours has been an interesting story - one that inspired a book. ACC was formed in 1936 when ten existing cement companies came together under one umbrella in a historic merger - the country's first notable merger at a time when the term mergers and acquisitions was not even coined. The history of ACC spans a wide canvas beginning with the lonely struggle of its pioneer F E Dinshaw and other Indian entrepreneurs like him who founded the Indian cement industry. Their efforts to face competition for survival in a small but aggressive market mingled with the stirring of a country's nationalist pride that touched all walks of life - including trade, commerce and business.
The first success came in a move towards cooperation in the country's young cement industry and culminated in the historic merger of ten companies to form a cement giant. These companies belonged to four prominent business groups - Tatas, Khataus, Killick Nixon and F E Dinshaw groups. ACC was formally established on August 1, 1936. Sadly, F E Dinshaw, the man recognized as the founder of ACC, died in January 1936; just months before his dream could be realized.
E. Dinshaw – the founder of ACC
ACC stands out as the most unique and successful merger in Indian business history, in which the distinct identities of the constituent companies were melded into a new cohesive organization - one that has survived and retained its position of leadership in industry. In a sense, the formation of ACC represents a quest for the synergy of good business practices, values and shared objectives. The use of the plural in ACC's original name, The Associated Cement Companies Limited, itself indicated the company's origins from a merger. Many years later, some stockbrokers in the country's leading stock exchanges continued to refer to this company simply as 'The Merger'.
ACC's First Board Meeting in 1936
at The Esplanade
Sir Nowroji B Saklatvala was the first chairman of ACC. The first Board included distinguished luminaries of the Indian business world of the time - names like J R D Tata, Ambalal Sarabhai, Walchand Hirachand, Dharamsey Khatau, Sir Akbar Hydari, Nawab Salar Jung Bahadur and Sir Homy Mody among others.
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The house of Tata was intimately associated with the heritage and history of ACC, right from its formation in 1936 upto 2000. Between the years 1999 and 2000, the Tata group sold all 14.45 per cent of its shareholding in ACC in three stages to subsidiary companies of Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd (later called Ambuja Cement Ltd), who then became the largest single shareholder in ACC.
A new association was forged between ACC and the Holcim group of Switzerland in 2005. In January 2005, Holcim announced its plans to enter into a long-term strategic alliance with the Ambuja Group by acquiring a majority stake in Ambuja Cements India Ltd. (ACIL), which at the time held 13.8 per cent of the total equity shares in ACC. Holcim simultaneously announced its bid to make an open offer to ACC shareholders, through Holdcem Cement Pvt Limited and ACIL, to acquire a majority shareholding in ACC. An open offer was made by Holdcem Cement Pvt. Limited along with Ambuja Cements India Ltd. (ACIL), following which the shareholding of ACIL increased to 34.69 per cent of the Equity share capital of ACC. Consequently, ACIL filed declarations indicating their shareholding and declaring itself as a Promoter of ACC.
Holcim is the world leader in cement as well as being large suppliers of concrete, aggregates and certain construction-related services. Holcim is also a respected name in information technology and research and development. The group has its headquarters in Switzerland with worldwide operations spread across more than 70 countries. Considering the formidable global presence of Holcim and its excellent reputation, the Board of ACC welcomed this new association.
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ACC’s Head Office - Cement House, 121 Maharshi Karve Road, Mumbai.
ACC’s registered office was first located at Esplanade House in South Mumbai, a graceful edifice that still stands out in its neighbourhood. The head office then shifted to its own premises in Cement House shown here. The address of this stately building was then Number 1, Queen’s Road, Churchgate. An all-India competition in 1938 had invited leading architects of the time to send in their designs of which this elegant design made by Ballardie Thompson & Mathews was chosen as the winning entry. Work on its construction began in 1939 and was completed during the War period. The building was occupied by the Royal Air Force and vacated only in 1946.
In 2009, a unique project, has transformed Cement House into an energy efficient environment-friendly building. Its attractive refurbished façade now houses an ultramodern office equipped with space-saving modular workstations, access control and intelligent lighting with motion and light sensors, waste management systems and water saving devices set amid greenery and a central atrium that further expands the sense of light and space.
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