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DS Group's dairy arm eyes new markets, targets Rs. 350 cr turnover
The Hindu BusinessLine, New Delhi, March 29, 2015


The Dharampal Satyapal (DS) Group - best known for brands like 'Catch' table spices and beverages, 'Baba' chewing tobacco and 'Rajnigandha' pan masala - is aiming to see its dairy venture expand its fresh milk products category across the north, east and northeast regions in the coming fiscal.

The division has done significant business over the last three fiscals, from revenue generation of Rs. 30 crore in 2012-13 to about Rs. 250 crore in the current financial year. It has a revenue target of Rs. 350 crore in 2015-16.

"The plan is to market fresh dairy goods beyond Rajasthan in States such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and others from August or September. We have 600 distributors across the north, east and northeast regions who are selling value-added products. Now we're strengthening the cold chain channels to cater to fresh produce demand," said Sunil Bansal, Business Head, DS Group (Dairy Division).

The product basket, marketed under the 'DairyMax' and premium 'Ksheer' brands, contains fresh milk, chaach, curd, ghee, dairy whitener, skimmed and whole milk powder, and flavoured milk. Currently, its fresh produce is available mainly in Jaipur although retailing of curd and ghee began around two months ago in the Capital region.

Existing networks
Using the conglomerate's existing networks from other verticals such as 'Catch' has already yielded results for the young division, particularly in parts of the north-east where it has emerged as the second-largest player in the tetra-pack milk segment by selling between 220,000 and 250,000 litres of milk over the previous year, according to Bansal.

"Each business in the group has its own network and that's a strength we're leveraging. For instance, we are using the Catch network which has tie-ups with almost 35,000 kirana stores in the regions we want to move into," he explained.

New facility
After working out of one acquired facility with 400,000 litre/day processing capacity at Reengus near Jaipur, the company recently acquired another 100,000 litre/day plant in Udaipur that will begin operations within six months. For the former plant, around 600 collection centres were created and close to 125,000 litres of milk is procured each day from nearly 30,000 dairy farmers.

"The focus remains on brand building and distribution and we are beginning to create standalone stores in Jaipur over the next half year which will then be introduced in other cities to increase our reach," said Bansal.

He added that the venture had received its export certification four months earlier and would likely step in with selling SMP once global prices firmed.