For some, life takes a whole new turn late in life. The English trader and pamphleteer Daniel Defoe was 59 when his first novel, Robinson Crusoe — arguably the most translated book after the Bible — was published in 1719.
Krishnadas Paul set up Bisk Farm in 2000 at the age of 60. But his age did not deter the man from creating one of the most successful businesses out of Bengal in this century.
Apart from building a distribution empire for marquee FMCG names, Paul was also the largest individual shareholder of Calcutta Chemicals, a firm for which he fought a takeover tussle with German MNC Henkel.
Even though Paul, who died in Calcutta on Monday night, lost the battle with Henkel, he made enough money by selling his around 26 per cent stake to finance the dream to build Bisk Farm, a homegrown brand and company.
Bisk Farm, which is now being spearheaded by his son Arpan, closed the year ended March 31, 2020 with a turnover of Rs 1,500 crore.
If the volume of the trading arm — he never quit the distribution business — is added, the group’s turnover topped a whopping Rs 2,300 crore.
Born in Kamarkita village in Burdwan, Paul went on to study law before joining the family business of trading and distribution that his father set up in 1947. After the business was split among five brothers, Paul set up Aparna Agency in 1974 and took up distribution for Nestle, Dabur and Reckitt & Colman.
In 2000, he set up Bisk Farm, which today has five plants and the second largest market share in biscuits after Britannia in the East.
“My father always focused on quality. He inducted veterans from the industry, engaged O&M for branding. Today we’re in 19 states,” Arpan Paul said on Wednesday.
Writing a letter to all the stakeholders when he turned 75, K.D. Paul said he wanted to make Bisk Farm a pan India brand by 2020.
He will not be there to witness this dream come true but what he did as a Bengali entrepreneur in the last two decades was no less miraculous than what Defoe’s protagonist had achieved — building an empire after being shipwrecked on a deserted island.