What Mr E. Sridharan is to Metro Railways, Mr P. Subramanian, founder of Shanthi Gears Ltd, is to gears!

Shanthi Gears is well known for the manufacture of gears, gear boxes, geared motors and gear assemblies.

For more than four decades, it has been into the designing, manufacturing and supplying of products for conceivably every industry that uses them.

To many of the journalists here, Mr Subramanian is an enigma; he rarely interacts with the media, even at times when the company is in trouble as during the labour unrest some years ago.

Apart from his activities in the manufacturing sector, it is his social service activities that have made him a formidable personality. Be it in road works, health care, petro products distribution or running a canteen, he has virtually eliminated competition in the vicinity.

Mr C.R. Swaminathan, former CEO of PSG Group, Coimbatore, speaking about the SGL founder, said that the success he has achieved, over a span of four decades, is only due to his hard work.

After completing his diploma in PSG Polytechnic, Mr Subramanian, in the late 1960s joined the same institution as an instructor. But he had big dreams and soon he started a workshop. He was a first generation industrialist.

His trips abroad gave him exposure to the manufacturing technology there and he used to stock good quantity of steel for fabricating custom-made machines. In fact, when industries wanted to replace faulty gearboxes that the OEM units could not supply in a short time, they would turn to Mr Subramanian and he would supply in 15 days.

Mr Swaminathan said the growth of SGL was because of the single minded devotion of its founder. He was essentially focused on gears and in a way he could be called ‘the Gear Man of Coimbatore’, akin to Mr E. Sridharan being called the Metro Man, he added. His fascination for fabricating engineering products was such that he would design and fabricate them as a challenge or to satisfy his curiosity.

The company has made a name for itself in the social services area, too. Mr Subramanian started Shanthi Social Services (Shanthi is the name of his late wife) which, apart from supporting underprivileged students, is into construction of roads, school buildings etc. It runs a petrol pump in Singanallur on Trichy road here that is famous for selling fuel at pre-hike rates till the old stock is exhausted.

SSS also runs a medical shop, a clinical lab and a canteen that are known for quality service and low prices. Shanthi Gears’ Web site says it is “committed to the pursuit of social welfare” and that “it is our solemn responsibility to give back to the society our sincere contribution”.

Shanthi Social Services, which was created in 1996, owns 8.69 per cent stake in Shanthi Gears Ltd (as on June 30, 2012) that was donated by its promoters. This stake also is being sold to Tube Investments.

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