In 1844, William Miller and David Sime Cargill commenced a general warehouse, import and wholesale business in Colombo, Fort. The establishment was named the 'House of Cargills'. A successful bid by Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner saw the House of Cargills being incorporated as a Public Limited Liability Company on 1 March 1946.
In 1981 Ceylon Theatres acquired controlling interest of the Company and Mr. Albert A. Page was appointed the Managing Director. Mr. Albert Page went on to become the Chairman of Cargills on 26 November 1982.
Under the new management, Cargills explored the potential of innovating on its trading legacy. As a result, in 1983 Cargills established the first supermarket chain in Sri Lanka with the opening of its first outlet at Staple Street.
Cargills ventured into the production of processed meats in 1993 when the Company invested in its first manufacturing facility Cargills Quality Foods, in Mattakkuliya. In 1996 Cargills acquired the franchise license for KFC and innovated on its secret recipe to deliver products that suited the local palate.
Cargills began sourcing fruits and vegetables directly from farmers in 1999 when it established its first collection centre in Hanguranketha. In 2002 it invested in a dairy processing plant and thereby expanded its outgrower network to include dairy farmers. Cargills Magic ice cream was the outcome of this endeavor. In the same year Cargills diversified into agri-processing with Cargills Kist which created further market opportunities for farmers.
In 2008 Cargills acquired Millers Limited consolidating its marketing and distribution operation.