Incorporated as Hindustan Woollen Mills and promoted by M P Birla in 1945, the company was renamed Universal Cables (UCL) in 1961. It manufactures and markets electric cables, wires and conductors. It also co-promoted Vindhya Telelinks which manufactures jelly-filled telephone cables. Along with Vindhya Telelinks and Ericsson Cables, Sweden, Universal Cables promoted a new company, Birla Ericsson Opticals, to manufacture fibre optic cables.
UCL tied up with BICC, UK, world's largest cable producer, for production of paper-insulated power cables. The company has since expanded to produce bare overhead conductors, copper alloy trolley wires and catenaries for electric traction, thermoplastic cables upto and including 11 kV, elastomeric cable upto 35 KV, continuous cast and rolled aluminium, aluminium alloy rods, etc.
Its capacitor division tied-up with Toshiba, Japan, and General Electric, US to manufacture paper-insulated power capacitors. The cable division, in collaboration with Asea Kabel, Sweden, manufactures polythene power cables upto 33 kV, which was extended to extra-high tension cables upto 145 kV and fluoroplastic cables. UCL has developed several new products for the Defence sector as well as electronic equipment and has also embarked on collaborative research in specific hi-tech areas in association with BARC and IIT.
The company is planning to diversify its product range and enter into manufacture of Telecommunication Cables. It also came out with Rights Issue in April, 1999 at a premium of Rs 10 per shares. Vindhya Telelinks Ltd and Birla Ericsson Optical Ltd, promoted by the company have shown improved results.
During the year 2000-01, the company's turnover increased about 26% inspite of trying times due to the company's strategy to diversify into Polythene Insulated Jelly Filled (PIJF) Telephone Cables. The company along with Vindhya Telelinks Ltd., and Birla Ericsson Optical Ltd., has promoted a new company called Optic Fibre Goa Ltd., for the manufacture of Optical Fibre which is under implementation and is scheduled to go into production in the coming year.