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Rajesh Mehta: Shining Like A Star

With presence across the value chain of gold, from refining to retailing, Rajesh Exports’ path to glory is lined with gold

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Rajesh Mehta has carved a name for himself in the global jewellery market rather silently. He leads Rajesh Exports, a company he founded in 1990 along with brother Prashant Mehta. Today, it is a global leader in the gold business, processing about 35 per cent of the metal produced in the world.

And, that’s not all. Rajesh Exports is the only company in the world that has a presence across the entire value chain of gold, starting from refining to retailing. In fact, it is touted as the largest exporter of gold products from India.

It is through Mehta’s vision that the company has been able navigate itself even during difficult times in the past. Take fiscal 2016-17 for instance, that had some negative outcomes for jewellers across the county.

First, there was ambiguity of higher tax rate under GST regime. Second, the imposition of 5 per cent import duty by the UAE government on jewellery along with fall in gold prices and appreciation of the Indian rupee against US dollar had put pressure on the financial performance of a lot of jewellers. Stringent KYC norms for buying gold jewellery over Rs 50,000 had also curbed gold demand in the domestic market for sometime.

But did that deter Rajesh Exports’ revenue? “The company has been able to manage stability in the operational performance primarily on account of increasing sales from retail business and change in product mix,” says Deven R. Choksey, MD at KR Choksey Investment Managers.

Rajesh Exports, on its part, said it created a ‘milestone for the company’ in its 2016-17 annual report. During the fiscal, it posted profit after tax of Rs 12436.33 million, a 16.34 per cent jump from Rs 10,690.03 million in the previous fiscal. It also posted record breaking revenues of Rs 24,21,319.84 million last fiscal (a growth of 46.55 per cent) compared to Rs 16,52,114.37 million in the year before.

What is noteworthy is the fact that Rajesh Exports managed to keep up its growth trajectory amidst challenging times not only in the domestic market, but also in the global market, where currencies had been impacted because of the dwindling global trade. Ever since Rajesh Exports completed the acquisition of Swiss company Valcambi, the world’s largest gold refiner, it has been able to establish a strong global presence for itself. While the main purpose of the acquisition in 2015 was to secure raw material at lower prices and adding technological prowess, it has also helped the company become the largest gold refinery in Switzerland.

In the years to come, the company’s strategy is to grow its retail presence by increasing the number of its showrooms globally and launching an e-commerce platform for global distribution of its products. It also plans to focus on changing its product mix. “We have also been launching new products across different lines and at different price points in the retail segment on a regular basis,” the company said in its annual report.

All in all, it’s a long journey ahead. As Mehta was recently quoted saying in a media publication: “Expansion is in our blood. We can’t sit quiet, we are always doing something.”

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