Rallis India, presently a Tata Enterprise, was established way back in 1851 as Rallis by Pandias Stephen Ralli. It started its journey by buying full pressed jute bales from press owners in Kolkatta. Rallis grew in stages and eventually took ownership of a large property at Cossipore comprising cleaning and finishing equipment and powerful steam driven presses capable of turning out 30,000 export bales of jute yarn a day. It earned millions of revenue for the firm and jute continued to retain its prestige till the 1900s.
Rallis India mainly deals in Agri Business and has emerged as one of the leaders in the Indian Agrochemical Industry.The company is also in the Institutional business providing technical and bulk of various molecules to leading companies like Bayer, Syngenta, Excel, UPL, Gharda, Cheminova etc and has launched product for control of pest of public health importance.Apart from this the company is having significant presence in International Business and Contract Manufacturing.
In 1861, during the American Civil War, the Rallis established a firm in Bombay known as Ralli Brothers, under the management of Pandias Theodore Ralli and Ambrose Theodore Ralli. The war, which ended in 1865, dealt a severe blow to the economic health of Bombay. While Rallis' fledgling office survived and subsequently prospered, the family suffered a setback in the demise of Pandias Stephen Ralli. His successor, Stephen Avgousti Ralli stepped into Pandias's shoes. The growth of Ralli Brothers in India continued with the opening of an office in Karachi.
The cotton crisis of 1866 dealt a blow to the Rallis' business in India. However, they survived and expanded their establishment to cover North and North Western India by opening an agency in Cawnpore, in a large property they had acquired in a strategic location in the market place. In 1866, the firm was re-constituted under a strong management established in London with its sights set on the India Trade.
In 1882-83, opium exports picked up from Bengal. The Rallis gained leadership in this trade and maintained this position until partition of the sub-continent in 1947. India reigned paramount in Rallis' trade destiny. If anything had to be wrapped or bagged, the Rallis were there to do it. Although jute continued to be their mainstay, the Rallis in Bengal also dealt extensively in Shellac, teelseed, turmeric, ginger, rice, saltpetre, borax and of course, Manchester piecegoods. Having thus established themselves, they decided to move South. At the turn of the century, the Madras Presidency was still, to Rallis, virgin territory.
In 1902, Rallis began business in Pondicherry and Madras. In Madras and Pondicherry, they began dealing with groundnuts and thus extended their base to Gujarat and Kathiawar. The bunch variety of groundnuts soon became the mainstay of exports from the West Coast under the name of Khandesh Groundnuts, KG in Ralli parlance. Backed by a stabilized rupee, in the next ten years the Rallis managed to double the volume of Trade in India.
The American crash of 1929 led to a world currency crisis. The stagnation in the world economy and the inflated value of the Rupee dealt a severe blow to India's exports and consequently to Ralli Brothers. The firm was converted into a Private Limited Company under the name of Ralli Brothers Limited. In late 1931, Ralli Brothers closed down in India after 80 years of existence and the business passed to Argenti and Co acting as agents selling on commission for all of Ralli Brothers Limited.
Rallis was re-born in India on August 23, 1948 with George Euthymopoulo as the Chairman and Managing Director. The company diversified into products such as tractors and Reynolds ballpoint pens, and also began to trade in fertilizers. A new Chilean Nitrate Agricultural Service was set up in Madras for educating farmers. The quick acting Chilean Nitrate was highly profitable and became big business. To offer complete plant protection services, Rallis tied up with Bharat Pulverizing Mills for supply of pesticides. Agrochemicals as a business had thus come to stay.
In 1951, Rallis India went public and the issue was oversubscribed. But 1952 was a bad year. Euthymopoulo passed away. The foolhardiness of an employee resulted in huge losses and a downgrading of the share value. For the next 2 years, Rallis posted losses and diversification plans began going awry. Rallis tractors were dumped at a heavy loss and consignments of Reynolds pens had to be returned due to leakage problems. By the end of 1952, Rallis' well-paying Kolkatta jute business was also on its last legs.
In 1955, the Rallis Head Office was shifted from Kolkatta to Bombay. A 50:50 joint venture was established in India for Wolf portable electric tools (Rallis Wolf Private Limited). In 1957, Rallis took up a 100% holding in Rallifan Pvt. Ltd. and acquired the whole of the W.T. Suren/TCF equity.
The branch activities in Kolkatta had been much reduced to only jute manufacturing, piecegoods and umbrella ribs. In Kanpur the once thriving Cawnpore Seeds and Wheat Agency now dealt principally in bones and tanning material. The company's fertilizer activities moved to Bombay under Tony Mango.
From 1958 to 1961, the company made higher profits every year. A liver extraction plant was started in Magarwara, giving birth to Rallimeal for the Fertilizer Division. The Company started manufacturing single super phosphate. A pharmaceutical company, Boehringer-Knoll was created in which Rallis had a 48% share.
1960-70 was a decade of mergers and acquisitions. In June 1962, Fisons and Tatas became the chief shareholders of Rallis India. As per mutual understanding, Fisons took charge of Rallis' management with Tatas reserving the right to nominate the Chairman. In 1962-63, fertilizers and pesticides became a full-fledged division. Ralli Brothers, the Black Sea and East Indian Merchants, born in London in
The distribution of Gujarat State Fertilizer Corporation's products and later of Coromandel Fertilizers, also turned out to be profitable businesses. During the same period Rallis tied hands with FMC (USA) for sale of its product Furadan, thus starting a long standing association.
More acquisitions followed. Rallis promoted Protein Products of India (PPI) for the manufacture of ossein and gelatin. Searle, manufacturers of steroids and pharmaceuticals, came to India with the contraceptive pill. Searle India was incorporated in May 1967 with Searle and Rallis as equal partners. Rallis also took over the marketing of iron dextran, a pharmaceutical product of another Fison connection, Martin & Harris.
In 1969, due to losses, Fison merged with Rallis to become Tata Fison, a Rallis Company. The distribution of pharmaceutical products of Benger (a Fison Company), Searle, Boehringer-Knoll and Schering-Plough helped the Company consolidate its position after the takeover.
Rallis also marketed fertilizers for Neyvelli Lignite corporation, SPIC, Madras fertilizers, Mangalore Chemicals & Fertilizers etc. during this period.
Rallis returned to profit unexpectedly fast. From 1977-78 onwards there were no major problems and all divisions except pharmaceuticals were humming. Now that the rehabilitation was complete the stage was set to take Rallis into a new orbit.
In August 1981, the era of cotton trading came to an end. Rallis bought Indian Standard Metals to supplement the engineering base and three new units were set up, one under Ralliwolf in Ahmednagar and two within Rallis India. A pharmaceutical factory was established in Ankleshwar with license for 5 new drugs. Similar investments were made in Agrochemicals where units were set up in Dera Bassi and Ankleshwar. Fenvalerate, made at Dera Bassi, was a Sumitomo product and being the first synthetic pyrethroid, was a winner. Rallis also successfully produced Captan and Captafol. Searle a Rallis subsidiary had developed its own recipe for Fenvalerate and was successfully marketing it in India. This is when Rallis had a major decision to take due to MRTP rules i.e. to have only one of the units manufacturing the product. Sumitomo offered to give Rallis the know-how for Fenvalerate so Rallis sold its stake in Searle to the Goenkas. Except Coromandel and FMC, Rallis lost the distributorship for all other manufacturers.
By the early nineties, Rallis became the fourth largest seed company in India. Tata Chemicals' fertilizer plant manufacturing Urea was set up, a boon for Rallis. Rallis has been the sole distributor of TCL urea ever since. Realizing the farmer's need for balanced fertilizers, Rallis introduced the physical mixture of NPK in granulated form.The Company has set up Farm Management Services (FMS) to undertake Contract Farming and help farmers arrange finance for their inputs and a fair price for their harvest.
In 2010 the company inaugurated a new Metconazole plant at its factory in Ankleshwar, GujaratRallis India Ltd Acquires Majority stake in Metahelix Life Sciences.
2012 Rallis India Acquires 22.8% Stake in Zero Waste Agro Organics Private Limited