K. Venkiteswaran

Targets Rs.1,000-crore turnover

Eastern Condiments is all set to increase capacity

Targets bulk exports to the European Union

KOCHI: The Adimali-based Eastern group has drawn up major expansion plans, including opening up three new processing factories, and increasing exports to the Middle East and foraying into European markets in a big way. Group chairman M.E. Meeran said Eastern Condiments is all set to become the largest integrated condiments processor in the country by increasing its capacity to 300 tonnes a day. Eastern Condiments, national award winner for outstanding performance in exporting branded spices masala mix and curry powder for 10 successive years, has clocked a turnover of Rs.200 crore in the financial year 2007-08.

He said the capacity expansion is part of a series of efforts to consolidate market leadership of the company and expanding to new areas. The flagship company of the group has started production from its new facilities after the installation of technologically advanced imported machinery and successfully conducting product trials.

The current capacity expansion was undertaken with an investment of Rs.50 crore. Eastern Condiments also plans to set up a chilli processing plant at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, coriander plant at Rajasthan and an export unit at Kothamangalam.

The group’s factories, which have the capacity to process one lakh bags of chillies every day, are all set to achieve a target of six lakh bags daily after the completion of the three new plants. The group is exporting 50 container (each container can handle about 15 tonnes) loads of processed spices and curry mix each month but this is to be doubled within two months. The Kothamangalam plant, which is fully export-oriented, would be able to cater to the needs of West Asia and European markets, Mr. Meeran said.

The group is also planning to move to the bulk export sector, especially to the European Union, and to achieve a target of more than 100 tonnes a day by the year 2010. Thirty per cent of the total revenue is contributed by the export division of the group, he said in response to a query. He said that the unique business model employed by the Eastern Group, by making every distributor a partner by providing additional incentive, has succeeded in its entering into new markets.

According to Nawas Meeran, managing director of Eastern, the group is making a major foray into the western region, especially in Maharashtra and Gujarat where there is a big demand for spices from Kerala. The number of vehicles of the group in Mumbai alone has risen to 61 after launching the scheme a year ago, he said. The joint venture with United Arab Emirates-based Jaleel Traders for processing spices is about to commence