Sir Robert Stanes was the founder of UNTE. He arrived in India in 1858, having spent 96 days on a ship named Trafalgar. Still a young boy of 17, Robert Stanes immediately launched himself on a career that was remarkable blend of entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

He had been in India 55 years before UNTE was formed, by which time he had already been Knighted in recognition of his generous contribution to society. Those 55 years also saw Robert Stanes grow from a diffident boy who had written about his landing in Madras as being "quite an ordeal and somewhat alarming", into a dynamic head of a business empire. Cotton mills, coffee plantations, tea, coffee curing, motor works and tyre retreading made up the diverse interests of his business. . He set up and developed the Stanes High School, the city's premier educational institution of its time. The Stanes family subsequently started the Stanes School in Coonoor too. For his contribution to society Robert Stanes was also conferred the title of Kaiser-e-Hind.

Robert Stanes was also a man with a commendable sense of social responsibility. When the City Council for Coimbatore was first formed, he took on the Chairmanship.

In 1960, Sri. S. Anantharamakrishnan, father of the present chairman Mr. Sivasailam, bought over the interest of the Stanes family, not only in UNTE, but in a score of other family businesses in Coimbatore and the Nilgiris. UNTE along with other companies from the Stanes 'stable, became a part of South India's pioneering business conglomerate the Amalgamations Group.

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