NEW DELHI: Braithwaite & Co. Ltd, a little-known subsidiary of the Indian Railways, is scripting the story of a stellar turn of fortune.
The company, which came into existence pre-independence and has since seen many lows (more lows than highs), has steered itself away from financial mess and inefficiency, and is aiming to run a profitable operation leading up to a possible stock market listing by 2025.
Kolkata-based Braithwaite and Co is a major manufacturer of railway wagons and cranes. It is also into fabrication of structural steel bridges, repairing/retro fitment, operations and maintenance of railway workshops, structural steel bridges, etc.
Sharing the revival story with The New Indian Express, Yatish Kumar, the chairman and managing director of the company, said the company and staff had the potential, only they needed someone to remind them of their strength and lead them out of the financial mess.
“When I joined the company in 2018, the company was only grossing around Rs 100-130 crore in revenue. We were making cumulative losses for the past three years, our order book of only Rs 400 crore and overhead to sale ratio was 35-40%, which means anything you do you were in soup,” Kumar said.
The company had also breached the cash credit limit of Rs 35 crore with the bank, and it had no money to pay salaries as salary was earned by interest-bearing loan by the bank. The company owed Rs 35 crore to vendors and nobody was ready to make supplies.
After he took over the mantle of the company, the CMD says, he met every vendor, and asked them to give supplies on credit for 60 days, promising to make all the payments on time.
He encouraged his team, which had an average age of 55 years to give everything to bring the company back on track.
“Within six months everything was changed. And today we are a fully debt free company. We have even paid back the Rs 10 crore interest-free loan given by the government,” he said, adding that today the company has Rs 100 crore in fixed deposits, the order book has jumped from Rs 400 crore to Rs 1,600 crore and the turnover has moved from Rs 130 crore to Rs 700 crore.
The company’s profit also rose from Rs 2.63 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 31 crore. This year, says Kumar, the company’s profit is up 35% year-on-year.
According to Kumar, the turnaround was possible because the company diversified from just being a manufacturing company to also a servicing company.
Today it has 10 verticals so that if one or two businesses do not do well, others could bolster its revenue. Once, 90% of its revenue used to come from wagon supply to railways, today wagon manufacturing accounts for only 46% of its revenue because of its diversified business and clientele.
The company has recruited 300 people in the past three years taking the total employee strength to 600.
Now, the company has set its target of reaching Rs 2,500 crore turnover and a possible IPO by 2025. Kumar says the company is now eligible for Miniratna Category 1 status, and they have already applied for the same. He is hopeful by January Braithwaite and Co. would become a Miniratna PSU.