London: Indian-born British businessman Sanjiv Mehta, who bought the East India Company in 2005, is re-launching the world’s first multinational firm on Saturday after 135 years of its dissolution, by opening a luxury food store in London, which he says would eventually take the company once again to India.
“The project was not simply a commercial venture - there was an emotional connection too. It is a dream come true to build a business like this and to acquire a brand like this to own the company," BBC quoted him as saying.
Mehta dismissed fears that the reappearance of a company long associated with colonialism would open old wounds and insisted that he had been inundated with messages of support from his compatriots.
"It`s a disproportionate joy, I have received more than 15,000 e-mails of support from various Indians across India, even from Barbados to Fiji to Canada to Boston," he added.
Mehta eventually hopes to make a return to India to tap the market for luxury goods in one of the world`s fastest expanding economies.
His shop in London is stocked with 350 luxury products, including 100 varieties of tea, chocolates, spices and mustards developed by the company from across the world.
The East India Company was created by the granting of a charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1600 and given a monopoly on English trade to Asia. Its early business activities focused on cotton, silk and tea.
At the height of its power, the company controlled large parts of India with its own armed forces. But it was disbanded after soldiers of the company`s own Army rose in revolt against the British in 1857.