August 2015 \ Cover Story \ Cover Story—Entrepreneurial Success
Farming Success

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I chose to become” —Carl Gustav Jung The incredible story of Sonalika Group, and how one man’s innovativeness and business acumen has successfully positioned Indian tractors on the world map

By Yogesh Sood
  • FORMIDABLE GROUP: Mr. L.D. Mittal, Chairman, flanked by sons Mr Deepak Mittal, MD and Mr A S Mittal, Vice Chairman

 A choice born out of a single destiny-altering thought has made Mr L.D. Mittal, the respected and admired business magnate that he is today. We are all born with inherent talents, and yet we are forever required to dive deep into ourselves and tap into them. Mr Mittal certainly did not fail to tap into his talents, and the results have been astounding, perhaps even beyond his own wildest dreams, to say the least. Enterprise is a gift that Mr Mittal has clearly been blessed with, and pure, unbridled enterprise it is that has enabled him build a Rs 7,000 crore empire from a corpus of a mere, jaw-dropping, breath-holding, Rs 5,000!

How did he manage that? His sheer talent and broad vision, his ability to take a risk, helped him raise a magnificent mountain out of a nondescript molehill. Today, the Sonalika brand has presence and thriving markets in 80 countries across the world, they include the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Asia Pacific, apart from, of course, India and Punjab, from where the entrepreneurial stalwart’s success story incepted.

The destiny-altering choice was made in 1965, a time when the Sonalika Group was born. The fact is that Mr Mittal could have chosen to retire from his Government job, drawn a pension, and done the usual things that retired men do. Instead, he gave up his job of a deputy zonal manager at the Life Insurance Corporation, and chose to walk the road less travelled—setting up a business with practically no oil in the financial tank. Wholeheartedly and steadfastly he focused on his dream of producing world class agricultural machinery, and held on to it. “The future,” said Eleanor Roosevelt clairvoyantly, “belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Mr Mittal certainly believed in his dreams. His ability of letting go of the shore in order to realize the beauty of the ocean has helped him come a long way. The empire he has crafted is now a part of Punjabi folklore, and his name has found its way into the Forbes list of billionaires.

Farmers from across the globe, have a strong bond and passion for their soil which leads to nurturing of the land. What they need is the support of high performing agricultural solutions, like farm equipment's and tractors. ‘Sonalika—the lines of Gold’ gave a new meaning to farming and revolutionized the way we till the soil. It all started with a humble beginning. Incorporated in 1969, at a time when India was fast becoming self-reliant in food grain, Sonalika seeds and agricultural implements became the weapon of victory, to accomplish newer heights of success.

The group diversified into tractor manufacturing in1995. The result was a masterpiece that transformed the way people across the globe do their farming. With the beginning of 21st century, Sonalika collaborated with Renault of France subsequently with Class Tractors of Germany and further collaborated with Yanmar of Japan in year 2005. This contributed to the technical know-how, process control and fast growing technical expertise and upgraded the group’s technology and system to offer world class products. World’s leading Private Equity partner Blackstone believed in Sonalika’s growth story and invested in the Company in Year 2012. This strengthened Sonalika’s ability to strategize better and get benefit from the global reach of Blackstone.

Today, taking the voyage of success further, Sonalika Group sits on a strong platform with a turnover of USD 1 billion. The CAGR of 30% in the last decade is the testimony of our achievements and makes us one of the fastest growing, debt free corporate in the world.

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