|'Close to creating India's first Rs1,000-crore apparel brand'|
The Economic Times
06 July 2012
On an overcast evening in Bangalore, as fashion designers spill in and out of corridors lined with mannequins, Ashish Dikshit strides into the boardroom of Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (MF&L ) for his first interview after taking over as the CEO in April.
Dapper and unassuming in a pink-and-white striped shirt without a tie, Dikshit is one part measured but is mostly forthcoming about the firm's ambitions and the slowdown in apparel industry.
He believes MF&L could create the country's first Rs 1,000-crore apparel brand, and that three of its brands- Louis Philippe, Van Heusen and Peter England-could reach this milestone within 3-4 years. Having joined the company from Asian Paints in 1998, the 43-year-old Dikshit has headed its supply chain, marketing and sourcing.
Ashish Dikshit tells ET that the company's long-term goal stays intact, as the recent slowdown in overall demand will not impact India's long-term growth potential. Edited excerpts
In 2010, MF&L said it would double turnover in two years. Having almost achieved that with around Rs 2,200 crore now, where do you see the firm over the next few years?
We believe we have an opportunity to grow more than twice the size of today, to clock a turnover of Rs 4,500-5,000 crore in 3-4 years. We do not want to be just a large conglomerate of multiple brands. This company is focused on creating each of its brands into powerful brands.
We have the opportunity to create the country's first Rs 1,000-crore brand and that too multiplying in the next 3-4 years. Three of our brands-Louis Philippe, Van Heusen and Peter England-are well positioned. Allen Solly is slightly behind, but it too has tremendous potential. Our EBITDA stood at 10% last fiscal and we aim to move it to around 15% in this period.
MF&L had been in talks with Gini & Jony to buy it at some point and then came Aditya Birla Nuvo's deal with Pantaloon. Is the company still acquisitive?
We would look at smaller opportunities. We do not think there are good enough ones, those that are clean and sustainable. And we need to determine what we can do organically. But we are not talking to anyone at the moment.
What was the rationale behind the deal with Pantaloon?
The Pantaloon business fills in some strategic opportunities. It's a large and successful format and has been known across geographies over a long period of time. Pantaloon format has revenues in excess of Rs 1,500 crore and 2 million sq ft of retail space.
Pantaloon plays across a large number of categories and consumer segments that our brands are not fully dealing with. It caters to the full family, including kidswear and ethnic wear, and plays across price points. Pantaloon is a retail player and will bring a new growth trajectory. The group saw an opportunity in it and our ambition is to be a large and dominant player in overall space.
MF&L was planning an IPO. Is that still on the cards?
We are a part of a large group and our growth requirements can be largely met by Aditya Birla Nuvo. There is really no need to look at the capital markets in any form.