The Dadabhoys belong to the Halai sub-Caste. The arrival of the British facilitated opening up of new markets, notably in South Africa, where many Memons set up their business. One of the settlers was Mr. Ali Muhammad Dadabhoy, the grandfather of Mr. Muhammad Hussain Dadabhoy, who set up a flourishing business in shape of a large Departmental Store & Trading House, and become a well-known personality in Pretoria. He was instrumental in organizing an association of Memon businessmen. Ali Muhammad Dadabhoy was poised to explore new vistas in business but left for his heavenly abode at a very young age. He died in 1910, at the age of thirty-five, leaving behind a widow, a daughter and a son.
The daughter was raised in Porbander and she shifted to South Africa after her, marriage, where her children still reside in the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The son, Abdul Ghani, was born in Porbander in 1909. After losing his father at the age of one, he was brought up there. Until the age of 18, he continued to receive an income from his late father’s business in South Africa, and had built up some capital. However, in 1927, the South Africa shareholders stopped the payment. Mr. Abdul Ghani filed a suit in the court of law in Bombay, and such renowned lawyers as Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Bhulabhai Desai were involved at various times. After a legal battle that lasted for ten years, Abdul Ghani Dadabhoy, son of Mr. Ali Muhammad Dadabhoy, got the then large sum of 9 million pounds.
It was the second generation of the Dadabhoys, headed by Abdul Ghani Dadabhoy, who immigrated to Pakistan in response to the call by the Quaid-e-Azam, in 1946, that laid the foundations of the business and industrial empire of the family. Abdul Ghani launched trading in many commodities, but did particularly well in the cotton trade, becoming a member of Karachi Cotton Exchange. He branched out into a number of fields, setting up a Ginning Factory, a Steel Rerolling Mill, and an Edible Oil Mill.
Though he suffered a major loss in the cotton trade in the late 50s, his sons stepped forward to help out the family business. They launched out into “low cost housing schemes” which were such a success that the Dadabhoy Group recovered its fortune, and maintained its growth in various areas of industry and finance. By the time Abdul Ghani Dadabhoy passed away in 1973, the group was poised to take off, and his sons were ready to expand into the vast array of fields of business, opening up in the country. These ranged from cement, agriculture equipment, sanitary ware, plastic ware; lubricants, prefabricated construction material, paper sack and real estate. At later stag,e they also added leasing and insurance companies.
Even after his death, the five brothers continued to work jointly till 1992, though the different brothers showed an inclination to branch out into specific fields. The eldest brother, Noor Muhammad Dadabhoy, who acted as Chairman, provided a leadership role, as he enjoyed the confidence of the entire family. The untimely death of his younger brother, Ghulam Muhammad Dadabhoy, and later the demise in an accident of his eldest son, Ali Muhammad, had a shattering effect on him. However, he remains active, looking after his share of business together with the youngest brother, Abdullah Dadabhoy, who got mainly financial and housing components of the Dadabhoy business, when they were divided up in 1992. The two brothers also look after the Dadabhoy Foundation, that runs educational and welfare institutions.
Muhammad Hussain Dadabhoy, the fourth brother, has played the lead role in his generation. He has concentrated on the industrial and construction segments of the Dadabhoy business, and these segments have registered exponential growth. The flagship of the MH Dadabhoy Group, that emerged following the division of family assets in 1992, is the Dadabhoy Cement Industries, that has pioneered in many areas, including reliance on national technology, and on coal, as a fuel that has transformed the cement industry. He has shown entrepreneurship and imagination in developing special varieties of water-resistant cement that can play a key role in water conservation. He has also played a leading role in developing the Nooriabad Industrial Area.
Among the other elder brothers of M.H Dadabhoy, the second brother, Mr. Ghulam Muhammad Dadabhoy had been joint Chairman, and a hardworking and enterprising businessman. He died of a heart ailment in 1992, and his four sons look after his part of the Dadabhoy business. This part includes a large sanitary ware company runs jointly with Germany. The other major components of this family’s share in the Dadabhoy Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Limited. The third brother, Mr. Muhammad Farooq Dadabhoy, has worked quietly to achieve a considerable expansion of the family’s business. In the division of the Dadabhoy assets in 1992, he received several financial institutions. Such as Dadabhoy Insurance, Dadabhoy Leasing, Dadabhoy Modarba and Dadabhoy Agricultural Leasing.
Dadabhoy Group has won many export performance awards. The Dadabhoy Family won the “Businessman of the year” award from the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry in 1983. The Dadabhoys are collectively contributing to building up the infrastructure of Pakistan as it approaches the take-off stage, thanks to the macro-management of the economy over the past five years. The MH Dadabhoy Group, in particular, has the right mix of leadership, enterprise and management to be a pacesetter. Apart from consolidating its leading position in the cement industry the Group is branching into tackling other challenges confronting the nation, notably in energy and exports. Mr. Muhammad Hussain Dadabhoy is an exacting manager. But such are his qualities of the heart that he commands loyalty and respect by his courteous and sympathetic approach.
Amin Dadabhoy the eldest son is already functioning as the Managing Director. He qualified in his graduation in commerce & then got a Master’s in Business Administration. He benefited in his business training from the guidance & leadership of his father and is rated a highly successful Managing Director of M.H. Dadabhoy Group of Companies. His sense of mission, and capacity for hard work are great assets for the growth of the group. He was elected to the Senate of Pakistan in 2002 and sits on committees dealing with planning and finance, water and power, and industries and production. He may have a future in politics.
The younger son Fazal Karim Dadabhoy, is tall and athletic and travels increasingly aboard to promote business & its development. He is a young & energetic and has gained qualification in such diverse fields as management, engineering, economics & administration. Like his father, he is research-oriented person and under his leadership and guidance Research & Development Department of the Group has introduced several new technologies in member companies of M.H. Dadabhoy Group. His initiative and enterprise have been recognized by the Government of Sindh, which has appointed him honorary “Justice of Peace”.
One can visualize a promising future for the role of the Dadabhoys as pioneers and innovators to contribute to the rise of Pakistan as a prosperous country. The Dadabhoys have to mind their health, having lost many distinguished members to heart disease. As good Muslims, they continue with their lives with faith and trust in Almighty. Mr. Muhammad Hussain Dadabhoy, remains energetic and enjoys the esteem of his colleagues, friends and business associates for the way he operates, and introduces innovative ideas. Many of his visionary concepts have brought international acclaim, such as increased reliance on coal in the cement industry, which he pioneered.
Muhammad Hussain Dadabhoy continues to expand his business, venturing into new areas, such as coal-based energy, and planning entry into Gas Fuel. His vision is still guiding the Group plans, that seek to broaden Pakistan’s industrial horizon, and he is not averse to seeking new joint ventures abroad, while his sons manage the Group’s expanding domestic and foreign ventures. His business experience and negotiating acumen are linked to his dreams for Pakistan, whose image and international standing he wants to rise. The family is all socially active and even the Chairman takes vacations abroad & maintains the wide range of contacts arising from family and business linkages, both at home and abroad.