Eastern to foray into northern market

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The Kerala-based Rs 208-crore Eastern Group will enter the northern market by mid-2008 and is targeting a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore from its curry powder business. The company will expand its production capacity to 300 tonnes a year, from 100 tonnes. It is also planning to set up a new curry powder manufacturing plant at Kota in Rajasthan.

“We have generated revenue of Rs 162 crore in the last fiscal in the curry powder business. We have reached a critical mass to scale up our operations in a big way. We will increase our production capacity to 300 tonnes by the middle of next year and will tap the northern market with our unique distribution system,” Navas Meeran, managing director and vice chairman of Eastern Group, told Indiaretailing.

When quizzed about the investments planned for expansion, Meeran informed: “The new territory expansion and upcoming plant is expected to absorb over Rs 50 crore.”

Eastern Condiments, the flagship company of the group in which the US-based New Vernon private equity fund had recently invested $10 million, will increase its production capacity at its two plants in Kerala and the third plant in Andhra Pradesh. The company supplies its curry power through a fleet of 400 vehicles to retail shops directly. All these vehicles are outsourced.

“With our pan-India rollout, we will increase the strength to 4,000 vehicles and replicate our successful distribution model,” Meeran added.

He said the company, as part of its growth strategy, is developing regional curry powder to cater for each region.

– Vishnu Rageev R, Bangalore Bureau

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