1962: Retail shop in Kolkata’s Bagri Market.
Mr. Mukundray Shah started his entrepreneurial journey as a tea trader and broker. His private broking firm in Kolkata was met with great success and he continued to receive excellent clientele. However, he soon recognized that the true profits lay in reaching out to the consumers directly. This gave birth to the company’s first retail outlet in Bagri market (Kolkata) that sold blended teas.
1978: Export of bulk teas to Poland..
This year was a huge milestone in the Company’s history, as they landed a fantastic order with one of Poland’s then biggest FMCG companies. The troubled Polish government was encouraging International cash rich companies to supply commodities to the Polish populace, which opened up a window of opportunities for MKSEL. Mr. Shah’s son, Himanshu Shah, took active interest in overseeing the company’s first steps into the overseas markets.
1980: Poland welcomes foreign owned companies.
In the late 1980’s, Poland allowed 100% foreign owned companies to set up shop, and MKSEL responded to this invitation whole-heartedly. They set up a subsidiary in Warsaw (East Poland) and launched the first ever brand under the name of MK Supreme. This gave way to some of MK Tea’s most prominent brands such as ‘Classic’ and ‘Supreme’.
1990: MKSEL turns producer.
The export business soared, and the next logical step for Mr. Shah was to concentrate on backward integration, by becoming a tea producer and manufacturer himself. In 1990, the company acquired their first tea plantation, Nangdala Tea Estate (in the Dooars region), which manufactured quality CTC teas.
1993- Russia welcomes foreign owned companies.
After the disintegration of USSR, Russia emerged as an independent market, substantially larger than Poland. Thus, when Russia allowed the establishment of 100% foreign owned companies, MKSEL was quick to form their Russian subsidiary. MK Tea became very popular, very quickly in the local markets, filling up the void that followed in Russian markets post the breakup from USSR.
1999- Koilamari Estate acquired from the esteemed Jokai Group.
Meanwhile, back in India, the company struck gold with the acquisition of the prestigious Koilamari Tea Estates from the esteemed Jokai Group. This was only the beginning in a long line of acquisitions that would follow for the company. It was around then, that the company had Mr. Raj Berry, a renowned tea veteran join in with the top management team. A great asset to the company, Mr. Berry has been vital in turning around MKSEL’s newly acquired estates.
2001- 3 new Plantations acquired from Williamson Magor & Co. Ltd.:
In 2001, the company struck a deal with M/S Williamson Magors, adding the world famous Gingia, Seajuli and Majhulighur Tea Estates under its belt.
Together, these 5 estates produced 4 million Kg of tea per annum. The next few years were dedicated to uplifting the estates, and ensuring quality of produce and maximum profitability.
2003 : Production unit for packaged teas is established in Mumbai. A
modern 1,25,000 sq. ft. production unit was established in a central
location, off the Mumbai- Pune highway, giving it ready road
accessibility and proximity to nearby railway stations as well as the
2003- Production unit for packaged teas is established in Mumbai.
A modern 1,25,000 sq. ft. production unit was established in a central location, off the Mumbai- Pune highway, giving it ready road accessibility and proximity to nearby railway stations as well as the airport.
2004- Packaging unit is established in St. Petersburg (Russia)
In a move to bolster its own Economy, Russia levied heavy import duties on packaged tea products. MKSEL, thus, established its own tea packaging unit in Russia
2005- Acquisition of 7 new Tea Estates from M/s Hindustan Unilever. In a game-changing move, MKSEL acquired Rossel Industry, a part of the erstwhile Jokai Group, which consisted of the following seven Tea Estates:
Panitola Tea Estate
Bokel Tea Estate
Nalani Tea Estate
Hattiali Tea Estate
Muttuck Tea Estate
Daisajan Tea Estate
Singlijan Tea Estate
The company now produces 12 million kg. of tea per annum, with exports to Dubai, US, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Democratic Republic of Congo, amongst other countries.
2014- Demerger of the company. 2014 brought about a few structural changes in the company. Mr. Himanshu Shah continues to manage the parent company, M.K. Shah Exports Ltd. His brother, Mr. Kalpesh Shah, went on to establish M.K. Jokai Agri Plantations Pvt. Ltd.
2014- Company enters Africa, acquires M’bayo Tea Estate (DRC).MKSEL established a 100% owned subsidiary, Great Lake Plantations (GLP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This subsidiary then went on to acquire M’bayo and Magada Tea Plantations, in South Kivu region of DRC near the scenic lakeside town of Bukavu. They consist of a production and manufacturing unit comprising of 1500 ha of land, 2 factories, and an impressive potential produce of 3 million kg tea per annum from it's own leaf.
Mr. Himanshu's son, Mr. Jaydeep Shah established the African subsidiary and currently divides his time between DRC and India as head of operations for the company's African assets.