Outside the media glare that usually envelops the publicly listed universe of companies, India has some sterling unlisted firms that have quietly made a mark for themselves in globally competitive industries. One such B2B player is ACG Worldwide, helmed by brothers Ajit Singh and Jasjit Singh, which started operations in the 1960s with a single semi-automated capsule-making machine and has now diversified extensively to become the world’s second largest manufacturer of empty hard capsules and the largest capsule-filling machine manufacturer in the world. The turnover of the group has rocketed from Rs.4 lakh in 1965 to around Rs.2,000 crore in FY16, with a CAGR of around 20%.
A pharma industry insider claims, “Every single Indian pharma company I know buys capsules from ACG.” Ajit Singh, chairman, ACG Worldwide, likes to joke, “We tell bankers that if you want a credit appraisal note on a pharma company, come to us. Don’t bother looking at their balance sheets.” Standing in the company’s vast, meticulously organised 1 lakh sq ft factory floor at Shirwal near Pune, it soon becomes clear that ACG has tasted success the hard way: through dedication, focus on R&D, fair treatment to employees and attention towards quality, reliable service and honest communication. “Our plant in Shirwal can be compared with the best in Germany, except it is much busier,” says Ajit. But then, this consistently global outlook is nothing new for the Singh brothers.
Licence Raj operators
Brothers Jasjit and Ajit took over the reins of a small capsule-making factory after their father’s untimely demise in 1964. However, for the first few years, the quality of their capsules was not up to international standards and clients realised the product did not work well with high-speed imported filling machines. Clients wer