Family business conglomerate reaps tractor rewards

By Rashmi Kumar

When growing up, many young boys have an ultimate dream – to drive a tractor. If the ambition lingers on to adulthood, then the name of family business Mahindra & Mahindra might not be far from their minds, thanks to the Indian conglomerate reportedly becoming the world’s largest tractor maker by volume.

The Mumbai-based group, headed by third-generation Anand Mahindra, said it has overtaken its more famous and expensive rival John Deere – the American farm equipment maker – to take the lead in tractor production globally.

Its rising volumes are also supported by strong growth in sales, both in its home market and in China, which is one of the world’s biggest markets for tractors.

Total sales of Mahindra tractors between April and December 2011 stood at 183,274 units, a 19% increase from the 154,265 tractors sold worldwide the year before, according to a company statement.

The increase in production was largely due to a number of acquisitions of other tractor-makers over the last year. But strong sales were thanks to the low cost of Mahindra’s farming equipment.

Mahindra & Mahindra, the flagship company of the Mahindra Group, was set up in 1945 by brothers KC Mahindra and JC Mahindra, along with Malik Ghulam Mohammed. Originally called Mahindra & Mohammed, the family-controlled business changed its name to Mahindra & Mahindra in 1948.

The group, whose operations span aerospace, agribusiness and construction among others, had overall revenues of $14.4 billion (€11.2 billion) in 2011.

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