Duncans Industries: Why India's oldest tea company is gasping for survival

Duncans Industries, one of the world’s oldest tea companies, is battling insolvency proceedings in the National Company Law Tribunal. At stake are the dues it owes to workers of as many as nine tea gardens who have filed claims before the tribunal

Duncans Industries, India’s oldest existing tea company with plantations across Darjeeling and Dooars in West Bengal, is in total disarray.

Shares of the company (Duncans Industries), hovering around Rs 9 apiece, have not been traded for almost a month on the BSE and the National Stock Exchange (NSE). Trading in the stock has been suspended on penal grounds.


The tea gardens, which once employed thousands of workers, have been slowly getting out of the grip of the Kolkata-based company which has abandoned many of its plantations since 2015.

The Duncans had 14 tea gardens encompassing over 12,000 hectares of land spread over the Dooars, Terai and Darjeeling regions of North Bengal. The company has been engaged in the business of cultivating, growing and processing tea. Among its plantations are two prestigious gardens in Darjeeling — Marybong and Runglee Rungliot.

Duncan Tea was set up in 1858 as Duncan Brothers by Walter Duncan. It is one of the world’s oldest tea companies and the oldest continually existing tea company in India.