story of the Assam Company is intricately associated with the
beginning and evolution of the tea industry in the Indian sub-continent.
Assam Company was the pioneer in the evolution of the tea industry
in Assam and has a unique status in the story of tea in India.
Today, the Company has established itself as one of the leading
producers of Assam tea of the finest quality, grown and manufactured
in the group's own gardens.
tea industry in Assam owes its origins to a river gunboat commander
called Charles Alexander Bruce. In 1825 he braved the mighty Brahmaputra to sow the seeds of the tea plant in the
wilderness of Assam. After quite a long hiatus of around fourteen
years, Bruce managed to get official approval for commercial cultivation
and the first consignment of Assam tea left Indian shores for the
London market. This consignment had twelve packages of tea which
belonged to Assam Company.
Founder Director, ACL, 1839
warm reception given to this new tea provided the initial
impetus to the formation of the first commercial tea Company
in the world - The Assam Company. The founders were distinguished
British merchants and such Indian luminaries as Prince Dwarkanath
Tagore (grandfather of poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath
Tagore), Babu Motilal Sil and others. Outstanding personalities
subsequently served as directors like Richard Twinings,
James Warren and William Duncan.
Assam Company was formed at a meeting of merchants in London
on 12th February 1839 with a capital of £500,000 in
10,000 shares of £50 each, of which 8000 were to be
allotted to Great Britain and 2000 to India. The name of the
Company was decided upon keeping in mind the fact that lime,
coal and oil were all
to be found in the region and there
was a distinct possibility of trading in any or all of these
commodities, besides tea. Hence, The Assam Company rather
than The Assam Tea Company was chosen, though tea was to be
the main business. The Company acquired two-thirds of the
government's Experimental Tea Gardens, together with permission
to settle on other lands.
Assam Company was first formed with the objective of tea cultivation
in India. Some people of repute with the requisite capital
had met in Calcutta for the same purpose; the Company was
to be called The Bengal Tea Association. The two companies
merged with the stipulation that 1400 of the 2000 shares would
be given to the promoters of the Bengal Tea Association. Charles
Alexander Bruce joined the Company's service on 1st March
1840, as he was the only person with any knowledge of tea
cultivation and manufacture. From 1844 the Company was on
the upswing, with performance and profits enhanced, which
was primarily due to two outstanding entrepreneurs of the
time, Henry Burkinyoung and William Roberts. In 1845, the
Company was granted a Deed of British Parliament and was awarded
the Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in recognition
of its pioneering excellence.
was first to receive Royal Charter
by HM Queen Victoria, in 1845
1846, the Company declared its first dividend, but a period
of crisis prevailed for some time as resources, lives and
energy were strained to the utmost by the prevailing conditions
in Assam. In 1852, the silver lining appeared at last with
a modest dividend and the tide turned for the Company.
Share Certificate of ACIL
Company 's progress was consistent, together with the emphasis
on the quality of its product. In 1978, after the momentous
years of the post-independence era, the Partition of the
country and the World War, the Indian undertakings of The
Assam Company along with those of five other sterling companies,
were amalgamated to constitute what was known as The Assam
Company (India) Limited. The new Company went public one
year later, to an enthusiastic response.
the years the Company has maintained its close allegiance
to tea, specializing in the cultivation, manufacture and
marketing of some of the finest Assam teas in the world.
Keeping pace with technology and modern management practices,
the Company has grown to be a major player in the industry.