History

The Godavari Sugar Mills Ltd., incorporated in 1939, demerged to Godavari Biorefineries in 2009. Godavari Biorefineries Ltd. promoted by Late Shri. Karamshibhai Jethabhai Somaiya (Padmabhushan) and his son, Dr. Shantilal Karamshibhai Somaiya, was incorporated in 1939 and has been contributing to the industrial development of India for more than seven decades. Under the dynamic leadership of the Chairman and Managing Director, Shri Samir Somaiya & his professional team, the Company with three Sugar mills is fully integrated and is among the top ten Sugar complexes out of around 500 sugar manufacturers in India. The company is one of the largest producers of Alcohol & a pioneer in manufacture of alcohol based chemicals in India.

Our Founders

Shri K. J. Somaiya

It's no small achievement to distinguish oneself in such diverse fields as commerce, education, and philanthropy. Pujya Shriman Karamshibhai Jethabhai Somaiya, born on May 16 1902 in the remote village of Malunjar in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, India, was however, a blessed person by dint of hard work and singular devotion to service.

Born to humble beginnings he rose to become one of the doyens of the industry in Western India. The young Karamshi, after completing school at the New High School in Mumbai (now the Bharda School) went back to his hometown in Ahmednagar embarking on a career of tireless work marked by singular devotion to whatever he did. Karamshi’s young, fresh mind was moulded by Gandhiji's ideas of 'Swadeshi' and 'Satyagraha'.

Young Karamshibhai Somaiya began his career by engaging in his father's small grocery business and then went on to become a partner in a leading sugar trading firm in the area while continuing to nurture his dream of contributing to the creation of a resurgent India – a vision painted by Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda.

In the year 1939, Shri K. J. Somaiya launched 2 sugar factories – in Sakarwadi and in Lakshmiwadi to mark the launch of his own sugar business. He soon came to be known as the Sugar King of India.

At the age of 60 he relinquished the leadership of his economic enterprise to his son Dr Shantilal Somaiya, and fully immersed himself in social service. He was committed to the ideal "what you receive from society give back multifold". No sketch of Shri K.J. Somaiya can be complete without mentioning his philanthropy. You can read more about it under the Outreach section of this website.

Shri K.J. Somaiya was warm and endearing. Stately in appearance, immaculately dressed, generally in spotless white hand spun khadi, he exuded a picture of resourcefulness and restraint. He was compassionate and reached out to those in suffering. In all he did, Karamshibhai brought a sense of love and humanism, qualities imbibed in his early youth from the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. He believed in the ancient Sanskrit saying (na manushit paro dharmah). "There is no religion greater than Man". Karamshibhai's life exemplified this lofty principle through practice.

Shri Karamshibhai Somaiya passed away on May 9, 1999, a week before his 97th birthday. Somaiya Vidyavihar is the living legacy he has left behind, a standing monument to his sagacity, perseverance and foresight.

Read his biography online:
Biography of Padma Bhushan Karamshi Jethabhai Somaiya by Raja Mangalvedekar

  • Download e-book here

Dr. S. K. Somaiya

Dr. Somaiya did much in the field of sugarcane research, sugar manufacture and ethanol, and ethanol based chemistry. His contribution to the company was the identification of the site for sugar production in Karnataka, at Sameerwadi, in the late 1960s. At the time, there was very little cane grown there. He founded the K. J. Somaiya Institute of Applied Agriculture Research (KIAAR), and taught the farmers of the area how to grow cane. Today, North Karnataka, is among the best cane growing areas of India.

He also visualized that Sameerwadi should be capable of crushing 10,000 tons per day, in a time when average mill sizes were 1,500. Even today, India has only a handful of Mills (Sameerwadi one of them), that have capacities exceeding 10,000 tons per day.

Dr. Somaiya was awarded a honorary Ph. D. by The University of Agriculture Science at Dharwad, for his outstanding Contribution to the growth of prosperity in the area.

Dr. Somaiya also pioneered the production of ethanol from molasses in the 1950s, in a time when molasses was a waste disposal problem. In the early 1960s, he pioneered the use of ethanol as a feedstock for industrial chemicals. It is only now, in the face of rising energy and petrochemical costs, that the world is revisiting the use of renewable chemistry.

He was also a believer in the power of the sugar industry, to bring about social as well as financial prosperity. He continuously tried to create new social programs to benefit the rural population. His last program, ‘Ankur’, was to try and eradicate blindness caused by the deficiency of Vitamin A in the diet. This he tried to do by establishing a partnership between the National Association for the Blind (NAB), and various sugar mills.

He led the Somaiya Trust and was the Vice President of Somaiya Vidyavihar. He presided over very rapid asset creation at Vidyavihar, and also conceptualized the Sanskritivihar. These institutions would teach courses on Indian philosophy, religion, and bring values into the curriculum. The K. J. Somaiya Bharatiya Sanskriti Peetham, K. J. Somaiya Institute of Buddhist Studies, K. J. Somaiya Jain Centre, are all parts of this organic whole.

Through these institutions, he also brought people of diverse backgrounds together. He organized programs on inter religious dialogue with the Vatican, and was invited by the President of Kazakhstan for discussions on the Islamic religion.

Dr. Somaiya passed away on the 1st of January, in Melbourne Australia, where he had gone to deliver a speech at the Parliament of Religions.

He was a worthy successor to the tradition set by our founder, and also set a new and expanded course, for both, Godavari, and the Somaiya Trust.

He has left behind a wonderful vision of an integrated development, whether in business, education religion, or philosophy. One that engages, rather than divides, and encompasses all, reflecting the true spirit of our heritage and tradition.

Read the speeches delivered by him online:
Sharing Wisdom in Search of Inner and Outer Peace – Speeches Delivered by Dr. Shantilal K. Somaiya

  • Download e-book here

TIMELINE and ARCHIVES

The roots of a company always start before its founding.  In this case, the origins came from a partnership in sugar trading between K. J. Somaiya, and the Khatod family (M/s Shobhachandra Ramnarayan Khatod at Belapur in Shrirampur).  Shri Somaiya was the working partner, and the Khatod family were the financial partners.  This partnership started in 1927.

1927-1960: THE EARLY YEARS

  • 1928

    Shri K. J. Somaiya earned his first income of Rs.800 in the sugar trading business.

  • 1936

    Having achieved great success in the trading of sugar, Shri K. J. Somaiya thought of the manufacture of sugar. Initially, he thought of installing a factory to make 100 tons per day. However, he finally purchased machinery that would be able to process 400 tons of sugarcane per day.

    The company had placed an order for the sugar machinery from Skoda in Czechoslovakia. However, the Khatod family could manage only Rs. 7 lakh which was not enough. Once the Second World war began, trade in commerce came to a standstill. As luck would have it, the order was delivered to Bombay port before the second world war started.

    Once delivered, Shri K. J. Somaiya did not have even Rs. 10,000 needed to clear the shipment. As providence would have it, a cheque for exactly Rs. 10,000 arrived in the mail, from the King of Nepal, subscribing to the debentures of Godavari Sugar Mills.

  • 1939

    On June 1, a joint stock company under the name of The Godavari Sugar Mills was established.

  • 1940

    The Godavari Sugar Mills was founded on the banks of the river Godavari, in Maharashtra - India and commenced business in the manufacture and sale of sugar.

  • 1941

    Another sugar factory was established at Laxmiwadi in Maharashtra. Shri K. J. Somaiya played a big role in convincing the farmers to use canal irrigation water.

  • 1947

    The distillery with a capacity of 1500 gallons at Sakarwadi in Maharashtra was established.

  • 1950

    The company bought a distillery in Kaptanganj, Uttar Pradesh.

  • 1951

    Shri Kanhaiyalal Maniklal Munshi, minister of Agriculture in Delhi in Nehru's cabinet invited Shri K. J. Somaiya to visit Madhya Pradesh. After this visit, the company bought thousands of acres of vacant lands for farming on the banks of the river Narmada.

  • 1960

    The company started producing ethanol and pioneered the use of ethanol as a feedstock to produce chemicals, in Maharashtra and in the late 60s in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh.

1961-1992: Diversification into Chemicals.

  • 1961

    Godavari spins off ethanol and chemical divisions to form two new companies: Somaiya Organo-Chemicals Limited (SOCL) in Maharashtra, and Somaiya Organics India Limited (SOIL) in Uttar Pradesh. This was done to minimise risk of chemical assets in case sugar assets were taken away.

  • 1962

    The company integrated backward into farming, purchasing over 16,000 acres of farms for cane cultivation, making it the most productive in the world.

  • 1963

    With effect from 17th April, the Government of India imposed control on price and distribution of sugar. The price in Maharashtra was kept lower than that of several states including Uttar Pradesh in spite of several protests from the sugar industry in the state of Maharashtra.

  • 1965

    In October the government imposed a 25% water cut in water supply to sugarcane from the canals with a view to divert water for increasing food grain production.

  • 1966

    The Land Ceiling Act was introduced under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The company lost its sugarcane farms to the government policy. Godavari Sugar Mills made a written consent to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

    On 26th April, Sugar producers had an All India convention in Delhi in which the agricultural Minister, Anna Saheb Shinde commended Shri K.J.Somaiya's contribution to the technology of growing cane, and the Agricultural Officers of our mill who led the path.

    The cooperative movement took hold in Maharashtra. Politics mixes with sugar with the aim of eliminating private sugar producers from the state.

  • 1970

    Godavari identified Karnataka as a good location to create assets. Being across the border, it enjoyed great water resources, better sugar recovery, lower cane prices and no strong cooperative lobby. However, there was no cane available. That is when it established KIAAR (Karnataka Institute of Applied Agricultural Research) to help teach the farmers grow cane. In the early days, the factory had to purchase cane from as far as Goa.

  • 1971

    On 6th June, The foundation of the sugar factory in the state of Mysore was laid by His Excellency Dharma Vira, the Governor of Mysore.

  • 1972

    A new sugar factory was erected and started the business of sugar manufacture in Karnataka, at Sameerwadi.

  • 1984

    Godavari began manufacture of ethanol at Sameerwadi.

    Both our sugar mills in Maharashtra were co-operatized and the company shrank.

  • 1992

    An Ethyl acetate plant was set up at Sakarwadi in Maharashtra.

1992-2006: LIBERALIZATION

  • 1992

    With the liberalization of India, duty structures came down on all imports to India, including chemicals.

  • 1993

    Molasses was decontrolled. The company faced twin threats, high raw material costs, and lower finished goods cost.

    Company strategically developed research capability, to make products that could compete in scale, quality and cost globally. The company also started a department to export chemicals and create international presence.

    The company won the World Bank Award to create value added chemicals, essentially, helping the company further its research infrastructure.

  • 1994

    The company won the state award for being an outstanding employer of the disabled.

  • 1997

    The company won the national award for being an outstanding employer of the disabled.

  • 2000

    Shri K. J. Somaiya receives Padmabhushan on January 26th 2000 by the hands of president K.R. Narayanan.

  • 2001

    'Help a Child to study' was initiated to bridge the gap between needy students who have the potential, but are financially incapable to afford higher education and the people who want to donate to such needy students.

    On April 1st, Somaiya Organo-Chemicals Limited (SOCL) was merged with Godavari Sugar Mills Limited (GSML), bringing sugar, ethanol and ethanol based chemicals under one corporate entity.

  • 2002

    A power plant with a capacity of 24 MW was established at Sameerwadi and received carbon credits for the production of green power and mitigating climate change. The company got a USAID grant, to help do this, since in these early days, sugar mills were not keen on high pressure boilers for exporting power. Godavari was a pioneer in this, and was one of few companies chosen for the grant.

  • 2004

    Company commenced the production of Crotonaldehyde – a specialty chemical with exports to China and Germany.

  • 2005

    GSML leased two sugar mills and one ethanol distillery in Maharashtra – expanding further business and further integrating its value chain.

  • 2006

    The company expanded its Ethyl acetate production capacity from 12,000 MT to 30,000 TPA

    The company received the ICC Award for Corporate Social Responsibility 2005-06 which recognizes social activities of Somaiya Grameen Vikas Kendra such as Help a Child, water conservation, agricultural development, agricultural research, health related activities, panchmukhi programs, cultural activities, sanitation and panchayat training.

    National Society of Equal Opportunities for the Handicapped (NASEOH), Mumbai selected Godavari Biorefineries Ltd. for the Outstanding Employer of the Disabled Award for the year 2007.

2006-2010

  • 2006

    Saw a temporary ban on sugar exports which drastically declined sugar prices. To mitigate this impact, the company coined “Cane price differentiation” This was the first time in the history of the company and the industry where the cane cost was linked to recovery. This broke the age old rigidity of cane cost being linked to yields. Godavari Sugar Mills Limited helped set the trend to export raw sugar.

  • 2007

    GSML (Godavari Sugar Mills Limited) saw its highest record of crushing the most sugarcane in its history totaling 21.48 Lac tones. It received an award for highest crushing in the Karnataka region by SISSTA ( South Indian Sugar and Sugar cane Technologists Association).

    The government mandated the 5% blending of ethanol as a fuel effective.

    Godavari received 'The Outstanding Employer of the Disabled Award for 2007 by National Society for Equal Opportunities for the Handicapped (NASEOH)'.

  • 2009

    Two wholly owned subsidiaries, namely: Cayuga Investments BV, in the Netherlands registered under REACH and Godavari Biorefineries Inc, in the USA were incorporated to facilitate the company's business and penetrate the European and US markets.

    The company's Aldehyde capacity successfully expanded to 72 KLPD at Sakarwadi in Maharashtra.

    Jt. MD, Mr. Samir Somaiya was elected as the president of Indian Sugar Mills Association for the year 2009.

    Godavari Biorefineried Ltd. successfully commissioned a 200 KLPD distillery plant along with 100 KLPD ENA (Extra Neutral Alcohol) at Sameerwadi in December 2009.

    The company expanded its Ethyl acetate production from 30,000 MT to 60,000 MT in 3 years.

    The chemical plant in Sakarwadi at Maharashtra was certified for ISO 9001:2008.

2010-2015

  • 2011

    Godavari Biorefineries Ltd. converted its chemical unit, Sakarwadi into 100% export oriented unit (EOU).

    Godavari's Sameerwadi division in Karnataka, commissioned a 21.56 MW cogeneration plant, which brought the total installed capacity at Sameerwadi to 45.5 MW.

  • 2012

    In December, Godavari’s sugar factory at Sameerwadi received FSSC 22000 certification which is a GFSI benchmarked scheme.

  • 2013

    The company commissioned the sugarcane wax plant therefore adding more value to sugarcane.

    In March, Godavari received a prestigious award from All India Liquid Bulk Importers & Exporters Association ( AILBEILA) for annual performance under the category "Highest Liquid Bulk Exports of Specialized Chemicals".

    In October, the company commissioned a Biological Water treatment Plant - Godavari accomplished a unique project of recycling the waste water thereby reducing fresh water use by 40%.

    April 10th, Godavari was selected for the prestigious ""Trishul Award" by CHEMEXCIL under the large scale sector for outstanding export performance for the year 2009-2010.

    Godavari received the 2013 Supplier Performance Silver Award from Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd.

    Godavari received the Export Excellence Award in 2014 for being the Best District Exporter in Bagalkot from Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI).

    Godavari received the Golden Award for the Best Distillery in the state of Karnataka for the Season 2013-14 by South Indian sugarcane and Sugar Technologist’s Association (SISSTA ).

  • 2014

    In October, Godavari launched their brand Jivana and the market is introduced to Jivana sugar and salt.

    Godavari commissioned a flavor and fragrance chemical, MPO, which will be exported internationally.

    Private Equity investment into Godavari.

    Godavari commissioned a 1,3 butane diol plant at Sakarwadi in Maharashtra.