In 1884 Alfred Baur of Switzerland arrived in Ceylon, by which Sri Lanka was then known. He worked in various firms in Colombo until in 1897 he founded his own enterprise, “A. Baur, the Ceylon Manure Works”, dealing exclusively in fertilizers. The first office was at Baillie Street, the stores at Cramer’s Lane between Pettah and Hulftsdorp. When in 1901 the premises proved inadequate, stocks and machinery were shifted to a spacious property in Kelaniya. The new works were provided with the first railway siding in Ceylon and a laboratory.
Baurs are the pioneers of scientific manuring in Sri Lanka, particularly for coconuts. Since its inception the firm has maintained a first-class agricultural advisory service. Baurs’ fertilizer mixtures were experimentally tested in the firm’s own plantations. Whilst the trade in fertilizers was always the company’s mainstay, other activities were added from time to time.
Baurs was the owner of several up-country tea estates. The famous Palugaswewa Coconut property in Chilaw, was a world-renowned show-piece of efficient management with highest productivity and diversification.
In 1928 the firm became “A. Baur & Company” and in 1938 was incorporated in Ceylon as a Limited Liability Company. In 1941 Baur’s Building at Upper Chatham Street in the Fort was completed. It is an elegant, imposing structure and a much acclaimed architectural landmark in Colombo, which houses the Company’s Head Office. Alfred Baur, Founder and Life Director, died in 1951 in Geneva.
After the Second World War, A Baur & Co. Ltd. expanded rapidly, becoming one of the major importers and distributors in Sri Lanka of agro-chemicals, pharmaceutical specialties, industrial chemicals and textile dyes.
A factory for the local manufacture of agricultural sprayers and an agro-chemicals repacking facility were built. The fertilizer mixing works have been expanded over the years and now constitute an imposing complex at Kelaniya.
The import department, with extensive stores and other facilities, is housed at Grandpass in Colombo. There are branches of the firm in Kandy and Anuradhapura.
Today the firm employs in its Colombo establishments over 600 people. To mark its centenary the Alfred Baur Memorial Trust was established in 1997; it will render assistance to rural areas. As part of the centenary celebrations a book titled ” A . Baur & Co. Ltd. 100 years in Sri Lanka” was published. In tracing back the history of the firm, tribute is being paid not only to the founder but also to the many fellow-workers who contributed much to the success of the firm.
Today Baurs looks forward with optimism to continued growth and development.
As always, the name ‘Baurs’ stands for trust and reliability, quality and innovation.
The regional company Baur Asia supports companies wishing to expand to Asia.
While the industrial revolution was widely recognized as one of the most important developments in economic history, the transformation of the emerging countries is of larger significance to the global economy. Baurs as a Swiss company, present in Asia since 1897, is the right partner for ambitious and enterprising companies focusing on new opportunities in the world’s fastest expanding market – Asia.
Recognized as a leader in marketing innovation, imports, exports, manufacturing and distribution in the fields of agriculture, industrial raw material, healthcare, airlines, travel, optics, machinery, engineering and consumer goods, Baurs will help you grow your brands in markets with the largest growth in the consuming class.
Baurs founded by one of the greatest pioneers – Alfred Baur – prides itself on its Swiss heritage and tradition.