In view of celebrating its historic milestone of marking 125 years of progressive innovation and growth among diverse industry sectors in Sri Lanka, A. Baur & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd., also known as Baurs, held a grand cocktail party capturing the grandeur of its journey, showcasing its resilience and strong commitment throughout the decades and the ambitious and bold plans to take on the future.
Held on the 30th November 2022 at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, the event saw the participation of some of the esteemed and distinguished personalities in the country. ‘We are immensely proud of our achievements and the continued appetitive for bringing about timely and innovative solutions amidst the many challenges throughout the decades. I would like to thank our valued customers, partners, employees and to everyone who is part of the very fabric that I am of,’ said Mr. Rolf Blaser, Managing Director/CEO of A. Baur & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd.
Mr. Blaser took the audience through the company’s remarkable breakthroughs since its inception, paying tribute to the founder Alfred Baur who went onto setting up the first establishment to focus exclusively on organic and chemical fertilizers including providing farmers with scientific advice. Today, it takes reins as the most high-tech fertilizer factory possibly in the entire region.
The presentation showed how Baurs took the lead to be the first in many initiatives, including the first to build an industrial rail linking the harbor and plantation in 1901, introduce the Henry Ford agricultural tractor in 1919 which was the same year the tractor was built outside America, establish a fully electrified tea factory in 1936, and construct a shock-proof building with underground parking in 1941.
And the proceeding years, such as the first mural by the Australian artist Donald Friend in 1960, deploy paddy harvester in 1968 at its Polontalawa Estate where the main living area was designed by renowned architects Geoffrey Bawa and Ulrich Plesner, grow basmati rice in the island in 1975, and the first to register a biopesticide in Sri Lanka in 2020 to control Fall Armyworm.
Mr. Blaser shared Baurs’ entry into others sectors; such as healthcare in 1945 at the time when the deadly malaria was at its peak; plant protection in 1947 where a spray was developed together with Sandoz to save the Ceylon Tea from Blister Blight; aviation industry as GSA for Swissair in 1957; hospitality in 2021 with the world’s leading École hôtelière de Lausanne introducing the Swiss apprenticeship model.
Baurs have also come a long way in its digital transformation since the beginning of 1982 with IBM, and also being the first e-banking (Hexagon) customer of HSBC from 1991. The company also had its first ever upgrade execution of SAP S/4HANA completely off-site last year. Today, its technology infrastructure is one of the best-in-class, integrating cyber security, disaster recovery, sales force automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and IoT.
Mr. Blaser further went onto highlight the organic fertilizer challenge which Baurs took on last year, at the time when the country announced its intention to move towards embracing an organic agriculture approach. Baurs had been long involved in various R&D initiatives, for instance from 2017 till date, manure from dairy and poultry farming, sludge, biochar, composting, and introducing vermicompost.
And taking the initiative to bring down a team of experts from Switzerland-based FiBL and HAFL as part of its holistic masterplan for sustainable organic agriculture, which involves a continuous in-depth study analysis and solution program together with various diverse stakeholders, with the view of becoming a center of excellence in this area. Baurs have also inaugurated satellite office at its Kelaniya factory, onboarding HAFL graduate Jacques Kohli who actively works with the Swiss experts.
Baurs is only growing stronger with a dynamic board and leadership at the helm of the company, deeply rooted in its Swiss traditions and values. With its shareholder being Foundation Alfred et Eugénie Baur, the company has always pursued in the best interest of its employees and the people of Sri Lanka. Some of its CSR activities include empowering children with special needs, infrastructure development, training programs and emergency reliefs. Baurs is also making strides in sustainability, with the recent partnership with the United National Global Compact initiative.
Photo Caption: The Board of Directors at A. Baur & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd with the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe.