In 1884 Alfred Baur of Switzerland arrived in Ceylon. He worked in various firms in Colombo until in 1897 he founded his own enterprise, A. Baur, the Ceylon Manure Works, dealing exclusively in fertilisers. The first office was at Baillie Street, the stores at Cramer's Lane between Pettah and Hulftsdorf. When in 1901 the premises proved inadequate, stocks and machinery were shifted to a spacious property in Kelaniya. The new works were developed 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' fertiliser mixtures were experimentally tested in the firm's own plantations.
Whilst the trade in
fertilisers was always the company's mainstay, other activities were added over time. Baurs became the owner of several up-country tea estates. The
famous Palugaswewa coconut property in the Chilaw District, was a world-renowned show-piece of efficient management with high productivity and
In 1928 the firm became A. Baur & Company and in 1938 was incorporated in Ceylon as a limited liability company. In 1941 the Baur's Building at Upper Chatham Street in the Fort was completed. It is an elegant, imposing structure and a well-known 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 & Company Limited. 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 fertiliser 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.
The firm employs about 1000 people in its Colombo establishments. To mark its centenary the Alfred Baur Memorial Trust was established in 1997 to render assistance to rural areas. As part of the centenary celebrations a book entitled 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.
Baurs looks forward with optimism to continued growth and development. As always, the name Baurs stands for trust and reliability, quality and innovation.
1897 - A.Baurs
1908 - J.Hamming
1913 - T.E.Wagner
1930 - F.Feller
1935 - A.Leiber
1897 - 1935
1938 - 1944
1944 - 1948
1948 - 1952
1952 - 1954
1955 - 1968
1968 - 1982
1982 - 1986
1986 - 2000
2000 - 2014
2014 - 2018
2018 - cont.