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British Industrial History

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Yule Catto

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Yule Catto and Company, speciality chemicals manufacturer, of Harlow

1863 Andrew Yule (1834–1902), a native of Stonehaven, moved from Manchester to India to build a business as a merchant; started making acquisitions - the first was Hoolungpooree Tea company

1866 Andrew Yule and Co was established in Calcutta. The company became the Indian representative for a number of insurance companies, as well as being a textile company.

1870 Andrew and his brother George Yule set up George Yule and Co in London to act as agents for Andrew Yule and Company

By 1875 Andrew Yule had added coal, jute, and cotton companies.

Andrew's brother George Yule (1829 - 1892) and nephew David Yule (1858–1928) joined the company. Andrew returned to London shortly afterwards. George Yule took over the leadership of the company in India.

1891 David Yule took over as head of Andrew Yule and Company. By then, the Yule company's holdings consisted of four jute mills, three tea companies, its own insurance company, and a cotton mill.

1902 David bought out his uncles and became sole owner

By 1908 David Yule was arguably the most important businessman in India.

1908 Malaya General was founded, a rubber plantation owner and producer of natural rubber.

Yule expanded its interests to include 18 tea companies and eight jute mills, an inland shipping business, four coal companies, two flour mills, and an oil mill. Other acquisitions before World War I were a small railway and a real estate company.

By 1917 Andrew Yule and Co. managed more than sixty companies and was one of the leading businesses in Calcutta. At this point David Yule, not having an heir, decided to dispose of the company.

1919 Majority share in Andrew Yule and Co. acquired by merchant banker Morgan Grenfell. Yule remained as chairman. Thomas Catto (1879-1959) joined as vice-chairman and a director of George Yule and Co

1920 George Yule and Co, the London agency of the Yule company, became Yule, Catto and Co Ltd

1922 David Yule retired.

1940 Catto retired from chairmanship of the company.

Mid-1960s Malaya General began to diversify its operations, acquiring a number of palm oil plantations in Malaysia.

1968 Yule Catto acquired the building supply business William J. Cox, founded in London in 1936. That company had specialised in moulding and shaping plastics, and in 1950 had launched its first plastic rooflight. Sales of rooflights grew strongly through the 1950s, becoming the company's main business. In 1960, Cox created the brand name Coxdome for its rooflight products.

1971 Stephen Catto (1923-2001), son of Thomas, became chairman; company diversified further, including a small plastics and building supplies business. The company also owned and operated a number of marinas.

1971 Malaya General Company bought Yule Catto Ltd., at cost of £1.3 million, to provide diversification from its Malaysian businesses; name of the group changed to Yule Catto and Company

1970s Acquisitions of building materials companies including Cordar roof-lights, and other thermoplastic sheet operations, from Elders Walker and Co

1978 Yule Catto spun off its rubber plantations into a separate company.

Acquired stake in North Sea oil/gas company but sold off shortly after.

1981 the company acquired industrial chemical and paints concern Revertex.

Yule Catto went public on the London Stock Exchange.

1987 Bought chemicals group Reabrook, Greenhill, Nielsen, and Arrow Chemicals

1988 Further acquisitions in building materials.

1990s Focus on chemicals and building products.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • History of Yule Catto - Funding universe [1]
  • Thomas Catto, ODNB [2]
  • Stephen Catto, ODNB [3]
  • Yule Family, ODNB [4]