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Business - Mayor & Company

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This is one game that India has permanently lost to its arch-rival Pakistan - manufacturing and exporting sports goods. Historically, when India and Pakistan were one before 1947, Sialkot, now in Pakistan, used to be the world's largest production centre for badminton, hockey, football, volleyball, basketball, and cricket equipment. After the creation of Pakistan, Jalandhar became the second centre after Hindus in the trade migrated to India. Soon Jalandhar overtook Sialkot and till the early 1980s it remained so. However when the face of the trade began to change in the 1980s and import of quality leather and manufacturing equipment became a necessity for quality production, Pakistan wrested the initiative as India clung it its policies of discouraging imports through high duties and restrictions. As it was, the availability of labor and skills was a common factor in both Sialkot and Jalandhar, but with Sialkot having the advantage of easier entry, most of the world's top sports manufactures and procedures developed an association with local industry in Sialkot that continues even today. Ten years later, in the early 1990s, when Manmohan Singh liberalised the norms for importing equipment and raw material required for producing sports goods, it was too late as majority of the global majors had already shifted base to Sialkot.

In 1961 the late Narinder Mayor started the first large scale sports goods manufacturing unit, Mayor & Company, thereby laying the foundation of an organized industry. Even today, more than 70 percent of the industry functions in an unorganized manner. Starting with soccer balls, Mayor expanded to produce inflatable balls like volleyballs, basketballs, and rugby balls. Today his two sons Rajan & Rajesh have built it up into five companies engaged in a wide array of businesses, though sports goods remain the group's core business. While the parent trading company, Mayor & Company, remains the leading revenue-earner to the tune of Rs. 55 crore annually out of a total group turnover of Rs. 85 crore-plus, Mayor's second venture, the Indo-Australian Mayor International Limited, is spinning another Rs. 15 crore. Mayor International is a 100 per cent export-oriented unit (EOU) exclusively manufacturing and exporting golf and tennis balls.



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