My Best Pick 2016

Ajay Relan

Ajay Relan of CX Partners finds Ashapura Intimates Fashion an exciting play in the growing innerwear market

Vishal Koul

This is the kind of story dreams are made of. A young man, barely 17 years old, leaves his village in Kutch, Gujarat, in 1993 with ₹100 in his pocket and travels to Mumbai to work at his uncle’s multi-brand store, which sells imported innerwear. Six years later, he sets up his own manufacturing and distribution arm, launching his own brand of Valentine innerwear with the ₹100,000 that he has saved. Today, his company, Ashapura Intimates Fashion, is poised to finish FY16 with revenue of ₹230 crore and a market valuation of approximately Rs.500 crore. This is the story of 39-year-old Harshad Thakkar, still young and still very hungry.

Perfect fit
Harshad talks a good game — the kind that is music to the ears of investors. Yes, he plans to grow at more than 25% for the next several years. Yes, he could grow even faster; after all, the size of the market for his products is gigantic at ₹50,000 crore, with market leader Page Industries owning only 3% of this market.

But Thakkar wants to eschew this more rapid growth because he is debt-averse. He would rather focus on margin expansion through direct sales to consumers via e-commerce sites and company-owned and -operated stores. He believes in staying asset-light. Investments in buildings, plant and machinery can wait; in fact, they may not even be required if the company can develop a network of strong and loyal vendors.

Thakkar would r


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