Born in 1941, in a 40'x40' room at Mora, a fishing village across Bombay harbor, Grindwell pioneered the manufacture of Grinding Wheels in India. Promoted by two Parsi entrepreneurs, the Company has grown steadily and, over the years, has established itself as a strong leader in Abrasives, Silicon Carbide, High Performance Refractories and Performance Plastics. The financial year (2014-15) saw Grindwell Norton (GNO) achieve gross sales of Rs. 1084.3 crores, an operating profit of Rs. 156.7 crores and a net profit of Rs. 104.2 crores.
In 1983, GNO, which was by then a JV between Norton Company and the Indian Promoters, was listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. In 1996, GNO became a majority-owned subsidiary of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain (which had acquired Norton a few years earlier). With its headquarters in Paris, Saint-Gobain is a large, transnational Group (Sales of €39.6 billion in 2015) with a presence in 66 countries.
I have had the privilege of leading GNO since 1991. That was the year that GNO celebrated its Golden Jubilee. The theme for the Golden Jubilee was: "Life Begins at Fifty". And it certainly did. The last 21 years have been a period of extraordinary expansion and growth in sales and profits.
In 1991, GNO had three manufacturing sites (Mora, near Mumbai, Bangalore and Tirupati). Since then, besides making significant investments in the existing sites (especially, Bangalore), GNO has built plants at four new sites: Abrasives plants in Nagpur (1997) and Himachal Pradesh (2008), a Silicon Carbide plant near Phuentsholing in Bhutan (2009) and a High Performance Refractories plant in Halol near Vadodara (2012).
This year, GNO will reach another historical milestone and will celebrate its 75th Anniversary. Reflecting the energy, the spirit, the liveliness, the perceptiveness of the people of GNO, our theme for the 75th Anniversary is SO ALIVE@75! And reflecting our origins and our evolution over these 75 years, a rich and unique culture combining family values and professionalism permeates GNO. Our culture rests on a foundation of ethical behavior and is characterized by Respect for People, Integrity, Freedom, Fairness, Transparency, Openness, Professionalism, Teamwork and Accountability and a strong commitment to the Environment and to Health and Safety. The GNO culture is in perfect harmony with the Saint-Gobain Principles of Conduct and Action, which reflect the values of the Group.
During the 33 years that I have been with GNO, I have had the privilege of working with many talented, committed, enthusiastic people who have made GNO what it is today and who will lead GNO into an exciting future - a future that will be marked by sustained growth, strong profitability and market leadership.