Steel Brothers & Co Ltd, Burma

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Steel Brothers & Co Ltd

The company was first named as 'W Strang Steel & Co', founded in Rangoon, Burma in 1870 by William Strang Steel, a Glasgow merchant who had worked for British merchant houses in the Dutch East Indies and Burma. Steel moved to London in 1873 and set up Steel Brothers & Co Ltd that took over the interests of the former company. James Finlay, who owned James Finlay & Co Ltd was a shareholder in the new company [1].

Rice Production

Their initial interests were in rice cultivation, with their first rice mill opening in 1871 [1].

Forestry Interests

In the 1890's they began exporting teak. In 1900 they purchased a teak forest and an elephant herd The following Forest concessions have been identified see individual pages for more information:-

The teak forests were nationalised by the independent Burmese Government in 1948.

Oil Interests

  • Indo-Burma Petroleum Co was founded in 1906 in conjunction with an Indian merchant - they subsequentlyn took over complete control of the company which was the second largest oil company in Burmah after Burmah Oil. In 1954 the company was merged into the Burmah Oil Company[1].

Agency Business

Cement Industry


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compiled by Simon Darvill. Published by ‘The Industrial Railway Society’ 2013. ISBN 978 1 901556 82-7. Available at Reference: Entry YA20 page ....