Feature

Packing a punch

After emerging as the global leader in the oral care segment, Essel Propack is betting on the non-oral space to sustain its growth momentum

Photographs by Soumik Kar

From being the company to introduce laminated tubes in India for the first time in 1980’s to becoming the largest player in the oral care segment with 36% global market share; Essel Propack has definitely come a long way.  Riding on product innovation, the company is looking to repeat its success in the non-oral category (3.5% market share), that is nearly 3x the size of oral care. Part of the $2.4 billion Essel Group, the company sells more than 6.5 billion tubes a year. Essel Propack caters to around 400 customers including the likes of Colgate, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Nestle, P&G, Unilever, Cadbury, among others. Currently, international revenue accounts for 64% of sales with Europe and Americas making up for 18% and 20%. Emerging markets, including India (37% of overall topline), account for a chunk at 40%.

Post the acquisition of Propack in 2000, the company became the largest player in the oral care segment with a global market share of 33%. While being a market leader is a matter of pride for any company, it also became a cause for concern. “We were at cross-roads. How do we grow from here? “Some said let’s take our market share in oral care to 50%. However, that would have meant incurring significant capital investment and compromising margins. That strategy didn’t seem sound,” says Ashok Goel, managing director, Essel Propack.

The right choice
In 2004, Essel Propack acquired a plastic tube-making company in the UK catering to the non-oral care segment. “The oral care market size was 14 billion tubes. When we explored the potential of non-oral care market, the beauty and cosmetics space offered a 12 billion tubes opportunity and another 10 billion aluminium tubes in pharma and food could be replaced with laminated tubes. So suddenly, our market size nearly tripled,” says Goel. Besides, the machines required for non-oral care would be the same machines that Essel Propack was using to cater to its oral care

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