The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ITC to spend Rs 200 cr on food

Calcutta, July 30: ITC will be investing Rs 200 crore in its food brands over the next few years, a senior official of the foods division said.

ITC is aggressively diversifying into various consumer goods businesses as it seeks to position itself as a FMCG-behemoth, or the “Wal-Mart of India” to quote chairman Y. C. Deveshwar.

Food, one of ITC’s key new businesses, is expected to generate Rs 500 crore in revenues four years ahead.

Ravi Naware, chief executive of the foods division, said: “In line with industry standards, we envisage an investment of Rs 200 crore or thereabouts, in our food brands in the next few years,” he added.

ITC’s foods business comprises cereals, biscuits, candies and ready-to-eat food products. For each of these products ITC is developing new brands — ‘Aashirvaad’ for cereals, ‘Sunfeast’ for biscuits, ‘Minto’ for candies and ‘Kitchens of India’ for canned food.

Naware said ITC was aiming to gain “leadership position” in each of these products within five years. In biscuits, however, it may have to be content with the third spot, behind Britannia and Parle.

ITC would jettison any business that did not gain “leadership position within a reasonable length of time”, its chairman said at the annual general meeting held last week.

Even as it commits Rs 200 crore in building brands, ITC does not intend to set up its own production facility within the next couple of years. Biscuits, for instance, are outsourced from contract producers.

“Until we get a segment going full-steam, we are not going to invest in setting up own production facilities,” Naware said. ITC, however, is keen on gaining market share through acquisitions.

Nasscom award for ITC

ITC was adjudged the “Best IT User in FMCG” by Nasscom — the apex body of IT companies. The tobacco major spends around Rs 100 crore on information technology. ITC director Anup Singh said: “ITC is overwhelmed by a feeling of profound fulfilment in winning the prestigious Nasscom IT Users Award.”

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