Byline: MIKE HUGHES
"TETLEY play down Tata rumours", said the headline, with a short story underneath that had Tetley Tea denying reports that a deal was close for a pounds 270m takeover by India's Tata Tea.
A spokeswoman for Tetley, which then had 250 staff at its Eaglescliffe factory, said the report was premature.
It wasn't, of course. But of more interest is that this is the first mention in the Gazette Business archives of Tata.
From there it all picked up speed at a fair rate of knots and the name is now firmly welded into Teeside's conscience.
Globally, its statistics are mind-boggling: * It comprises 90 companies; * Has bases in 80 countries; * Recorded $67bn revenues in 2009-10, and * Has 395,000 employees.
The name has been respected in India for 140 years and is renowned for strong values and business ethics.
Every Tata company or enterprise operates independently with its own board of directors and shareholders - and they all seem to know their business.
Tata Steel became the tenth-largest steel maker in the world after it acquired Corus on Teesside; Tata Motors is among the top five commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world; Tata Beverages is the second-largest player in tea in the world and Tata Communications is one of the world's largest wholesale voice carriers. And that's only four companies.
It be worth waging a few rupees that the other 86 Tata companies are also doing well.
The brand was born in India and has an overwhelming presence there. But is an international giant as well.
In Britain, Brand Finance consultants ranked it 65th among the world''s Top 100 brands. BusinessWeek magazine ranked it 17th among the "50 Most Innovative Companies" list and the Reputation Institute in America placed it 11th on a list of world''s most reputable companies.
Founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, Tata pioneered several industries of national importance in India: steel, power, hospitality and airlines. In more recent times, its pioneering spirit has been showcased by companies such as TCS, India's first software company, and Tata Motors, which made India's first indigenously developed car, the Indica, in 1998 and recently unveiled the world's lowest-cost car, the Tata Nano.
Despite its billions, Tata is also a giver. Two-thirds of the equity of Tata Sons, the Tata promoter company, is held by philanthropic trusts that have created national institutions for science and technology, medical research, social studies and the performing arts. The combined development-related expenditure of the trusts and the companies amounts to around 4% of the net profits of all the Tata companies taken together.
UK FACTFILE BASED on Tata''s 19 separate companies in the UK. * Brunner Mond - $180m; 2005 (now called Tata Chemicals). EMPLOYMENT * Tata has a nationwide presence across over 40 sites.
* Tata established in the UK in 1907. * Tata is the sixth largest industrial investor in UK R&D. TATA INVESTMENTS IN THE UK (QUOTED IN US$) * Tata has made a total investment of $15bn through the acquisitions of: * Corus Steel - $12.bn; 2007 (now called Tata Steel).
* Tata is the biggest Indian employer in the UK.
* Tata currently employs just over 41,000 people across the UK.
* Tata generates over pounds 11bn revenues in the UK.
* Jaguar Land Rover - $2.3bn; 2008 (now part of Tata Motors). …