Durgapur News Desk, 22 October 2017: Not many of us in Durgapur is much aware of the fascinating story of a Durgapur boy who literally turned dust into gold. The remarkable story of Sudip Dutta, who from being a labourer earning INR 15 per day to becoming the owner India’s largest manufacturer of aluminium foil based packaging material, is no less than a fairy tale that will make every Durgapurians proud.
A 1987 Madhyamik pass out from Durgapur’s Hindustan Fertilizer High School and 1989 Higher Secondary pass out from Bidhan Chandra Institution in Durgapur Steel Township had to abandon study in spite of securing an excellent rank of 376 in state engineering entrance examination (state joint entrance) because of extreme poverty.
Sudip’s father Vijay Shankar Dutta was an army-man who suffered from bullet wounds in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. Following retirement from Indian Army, Vijay Shankar took the job of a security guard at Hindustan Fertilizer, Durgapur, and the family of eight found it difficult to make ends meet. Dutta’s elder brother went to Mumbai to try and change their fortune. But misfortune struck the family; Sudip’s elder brother developed medical complications from a tumor and died because the family was not in a position to bear the medical expenses.
But that was not the end, Sudip’s father, unable to bear the shock of son’s death died within three months after suffering from paralysis. Sudip was left with his mother and four younger siblings to take care of. Though his joint entrance rank could have fetched him admission in any of the top engineering colleges of Bengal, Dutta had to give up his academic pursuits and went to Mumbai.
Driven by the hunger and poverty of a family without a father, Sudip left Durgapur after failing attempts of getting a decent job in his hometown. In Mumbai, after spending his first night at the Dadar Railway Station, he managed to get the job of a courier boy in a firm that made pouches for pharmacy companies, earning, 15 a day. Extra work of packing medicine and loading them onto trucks fetched him some more. Homeless in the big city, he used to sleep in the factory.
Two years later, when his employer slipped deep into debt, he negotiated his first buyout — he promised to pay the owners whatever was left after paying salaries to the workers and taking Rs 5,000 a month for himself. So, by 1991 Sudip Dutta became the proprietor of a Mumbai-based sachet making company. He made the company debt-free in two years; and that was the beginning of a rag-to-rich story.
Dutta soon realised the prospect of aluminium foils in pharmaceutical packaging industry and got in touch with a few pharmaceutical companies; entered into an agreement to do the packaging for their products. He leased a sick aluminium foil printing unit in 1993 for this purpose.
In 1998 Sudip started his company’s first self owned printing unit in Vasi, Thane, Maharashtra. Between 1998 and 2000, Ess Dee Aluminium (the first alphabets of his name spelt phonetically) set up 20 more factory units printing aluminium foils.
Since then, there is no looking back. In 2006, group companies of Ess Dee were amalgamated and the company was listed in Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE). In 2008, Dutta took over Vedanta group owned India Foils Ltd., which was then India’s leading foil manufacturer and exporter of aluminium foil. Ess Dee Aluminium established itself as the market leader in the packaging industry. In 2009 Forbes India bestowed upon him the title of “The Wrapper tycoon”.
In 2011, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ess Dee Aluminium started operations in Singapore; Dutta set foot to international market.
Ess Dee Aluminium now has a market cap of more than Rs 200 crore. More than 55% of the equity capital of the company is with Sudip. Today, Sudip’s steadily growing company is valued at over Rs 1,600 crore, and offers a wide range of sophisticated and technologically advanced packaging solutions.
He now lives in Singapore with his wife Aarti and his two sons. He knows the value of education; and hence set up Sudip Dutta Foundation, to educate the children and the youth of the country belonging to the underprivileged section of the society.
Durgapur, the industrial capital of Bengal must feel proud to hear the story of Dutta’s phenomenal rise from nowhere to international business tycoon.