Interview with Mr Sanjay Lalbhai

Face2Face
Mr Sanjay Lalbhai
Mr Sanjay Lalbhai
CMD
Arvind Ltd
Arvind Ltd

Well, in previous comments you have underlined your plans on venturing into apparel, branding and retailing in a big way. How do you look at Arvinds future in this context?

We are still growing and upgrading in these arenas. This year as per consolidated results, we would be a billion dollar company, and just five years from here, I foresee our brands and retail business sector alone would be of a billion dollars. Thus we see a lot of growth coming to these new areas.

Our best wishes too! So, what all are movements in the Indian denim market currently?

Denim is doing extremely well in India. It has grown almost from nothing to 300 million meters; this is the denim consumed in India for domestic market. And it is growing by 12 to 15%. So, Indian denim is growing very fast, and we believe that in another ten years it would become a billion meters of domestic market that is as large as American market.

Tell us please, what all issues could be identified as blockages in Indian industry today?

Major problem faced by Indian industry is that we have no bilateral treaty or multilateral treaty with any of the largest apparel consumer markets like European Union or America. We have no preferential duties worked out with these largely consuming blocks. Current laws are not conducive enough.

Secondly, our macro economic factors like exchange cost of utility and cost of raw material fluctuates a lot. So we don’t have kind of controlled environment in which we can grow like China. China has controlled their exchange, so one can predict how the business will grow there, whereas we fluctuate by 10% to 15% every year which cause a lot of discontinuity in business.

Thirdly, the labor laws are not conducive enough for garment industry to grow in India. They are being controlled by the Industrial Dispute Act, IDR Act, which has not clearly been modernized.

Fourth is high transaction cost and poor infrastructure.

So haven’t TUFs been beneficial to industry?

To certain extent yes, and to certain extent no; because people who are not genuine competitors also get into this business lured of subsidized interest cost. People with no background and experience try and create asset bubble as assets are available at cheap interest cost. So to certain extent it is disadvantage. Hence TUF is needed but how to execute- is a matter where difference of opinion prevails.

A lot is heard nowadays about your current interest in Technical Textiles. What attracts you to this new field, and how are you planning to make appreciable entry into it?

Technical Textiles, both– nonwoven and wovens, are going to flourish much in India. It is a nascent kind of industry. We are into fire retardants, and high visibility fabrics which are all protective fabrics. We are also going to enter into filtration and bullet proof fabrics. So, these are the areas where we are to focus and we expect immense growth.

Apart from the field of business the Lalbhais over generations have contributed to education, social and religious causes. Have you any plans to add further values to such efforts?

Ahmedabad Education Society, where I chair as President, runs a number of colleges in Ahmedabad. Recently, we have got the permission to set up a private bureau. So we have created new University called Ahmedabad University, and we are integrating all these colleges into private university, where we will build the world class University for undergraduate, graduate and PHD level programmes for all discipline.

On textile front, we are rejuvenating Ahmedabad Textile Industry Research Association (ATIRA) itself as the textile body. There you will see a lot of developments in laboratories testing, research, product research, and also pilot plans where industry can work with the research body to enhance their performance.

Another CSR effort at Arvind is that we are also working with Municipal Corporation, and we have taken up three schools where we are teaching English, Maths and Computer from sixth to eight standards, thus upgrading skills of children going to Municipal School.

We have also undertaken some slum up-gradation projects in Ahmedabad.

The major CSR plan we have undertaken is in Akola, where we are working with 1500 farmers to grow organic cotton in 10000 acres of land. This project is going to grow up to 100,000 acres in next five year. So we will be working with 10000 farmers in upgrading their fields from inorganic to organic farm and helping them increase their revenue from their land.

####### Click to view previous interview on Arvind Ltd
Published on: 26/04/2010

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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