HISTORY AND CERTAIN CORPORATE MATTERS
Introduction and Overview
The Company was incorporated in 1902 and it opened its first hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai, in 1903. The Company then undertook major expansion of The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai by constructing an adjacent tower block and increasing the number of rooms from 225 to 565 rooms. With the completion of its initial public offering in the early 1970s, the Company began a long term programme of geographic expansion and development of new tourist destinations in India which led to its emergence as a leading hotel chain in India. From the 1970s to the present day, the Taj Group has played an important role in launching several of India's key tourist destinations, working in close association with the Indian Government. The Taj Group has a philosophy of service excellence which entails providing consistently high levels of personalized service and innovative means of improving service quality.
The Taj Group has been active in converting former royal palaces in India into world class luxury hotels such as the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur and Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur. In 1974, the Taj Group opened India's first international five star deluxe beach resort, the Fort Aguada Beach Resort in Goa. The Taj Group also began its business in metropolitan hotels in the 1970s, opening the five-star deluxe hotel Taj Coromandel in Chennai in 1974, acquiring an equity interest and operating contract for the Taj President, a business hotel in Mumbai, in 1977, and opening the Taj Mahal Hotel in Delhi in 1978.
In 1980, the Taj Group took its first step internationally by opening its first hotel outside India, the Taj Sheba Hotel in Sana'a, Yemen and in the late 1980s, acquired interests in the Crown Plaza - James Court, London and 51 Buckingham Gate Luxury Suites and Apartments in London.
In 1984, the Taj Group acquired under a license agreement each of The Taj West End, Bangalore, Taj Connemara, Chennai and Savoy Hotel, Ooty, with which the Taj Group made its foray into Bangalore.
With the opening of the five star deluxe hotel Taj Bengal in Kolkata in 1989; the Taj Group became the only hotel chain with a presence in the five major metropolitan cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkatta, Bangalore and Chennai. Concurrently with the expansion of its luxury hotel chain in the major metropolitan cities, the Taj Group also expanded its business hotels division in the major metropolitan and large secondary cities in India.
During the 1990s, the Taj Group continued to expand its geographic and market coverage in India. It developed specialized operations (such as wildlife lodges) and consolidated its position in established markets through the upgrading of existing properties and development of new properties. Taj Kerala Hotels & Resorts Limited was set up in the early 1990s along with the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. In 1998 the Taj Group opened the Taj Exotica Bentota which strengthened the Taj Group's market position in Sri Lanka. In 2000, the launch of the 56 acre Taj Exotica, Goa and the Taj Hari Mahal in Jodhpur were completed.
In 2000, the Taj Group entered into a partnership with the GVK Reddy Group to set up Taj GVK Hotels and Resorts Limited and thereby obtained a prominent position in the market in the southern business city of Hyderabad, holding three hotels and a major share of the market. In 2001, the Taj Group took on the management contract of Taj Palace Hotel, Dubai, and has established itself as an up-market hotel in the Middle East region. The Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives launched the Taj Group into the premium luxury hotel market and since its opening in July 2002, has won several international awards. The Taj Group also obtained licenses to manage and operate two leisure hotels; the Rawal-Kot, Jaisalmer and Usha Kiran Palace, Gwalior in October 2002.
In September 2002, the Taj Group acquired an equity interest in the former Regent Hotel in Bandra which gave the Taj Group access to the midtown and North Mumbai market. The hotel has since been renamed as the Taj Lands End, Mumbai.
In 2003, the Company celebrated the centenary of the opening of its Flagship hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai.
In 2004 the Taj Group opened Wellington Mews, its first luxury serviced apartment in Mumbai. In the same year, the Taj Group also launched the first of its "value-for-money" hotels in Bangalore branded 'Ginger', which division has 11 hotels in various locations in India and is owned through its wholly owned subsidiary.
In 2005 the Company acquired on lease The Pierre, a renowned hotel in New York City, to enter the luxury end of the developed hotel markets internationally. The Company entered into a management contract for Taj Exotica in Palm Island Jumeirah in Dubai to expand its existing presence in the United Arab Emirates.
The Company enhanced its position as an operator of converted palaces by entering into a management contract for Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur in the princely state of Rajasthan in India. The Company, through a subsidiary, acquired the erstwhile 'W' hotel in Sydney, Australia in February 2006 and renamed it as 'Blue, Woolloomooloo Bay'. To expand its presence in the US market, the Company acquired in early 2007 Ritz Carlton in Boston and Taj Campton Place in San Francisco.
Hotels operated by the Taj Group internationally are located in US, Australia, Dubai, Maldives, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Bhutan and Zambia.
Scheme of Amalgamation ("Scheme")
On October 12, 2006, the Board of Directors of the Company approved the Scheme, under Sections 391 to 394 of the Companies Act for the for the amalgamation of Indian Resorts Hotel Limited, Gateway Hotels and Getaway Resorts Limited, Kuteeram Resorts Private Limited, Asia Pacific Hotels Limited, Taj Lands End Limited (Transferor Companies) with the Company. The Scheme was approved by the respective High Courts.
Rationale for the Scheme of Amalgamation
The Transferor Companies and the Company were engaged in the leisure and business hotels as part of the Taj group of hotels. A consolidation of the Transferor Companies and the Company was therefore expected to lead to greater synergy in operations, a more efficient utilisation of capital and create a stronger base for future growth of business in general and the Company in particular. The amalgamation was expected to result in administrative rationalization, organizational efficiencies, and optimal utilization of various resources.
Milestones achieved by the Company since incorporation are listed below: