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BW Businessworld

The FMCG Champion

Ashish Sinha profiles Priti Agarwal Sureka, Wholetime Director, Emami Group

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Priti A. Sureka, is one among the two women directors on the board of Emami Ltd, a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company engaged in the personal care/cosmetics and healthcare businesses. Sureka is one of the key players in the management team of Emami that is driving the company's product lines, marketing divisions and the research and development divisions. Priti not only leads her team of professionals from the front, but also mentors the group's retail businesses and advocates the cause for woman empowerment and actively supports the Udayan Shalini project that provides education to underprivileged girls.

Daughter of Emami Group co-founder R.S. Agarwal, Priti has been at the numbers game right from her early years. "I had an interest in my father's business since I was in Class VI. I used to go to my father's office from my school [Loreto Day School, Bowbazar], I used to go to the factories with him… I was just drawn towards this entire business and its various facets," Priti told a local daily two years ago.

As per company's annual report, Emami was valued at around
Rs 21,200 crore in market capitalisation as on 31st March 2016, growing by nearly 40 times in value since its Public Offer in 2005. And Priti has been associated with the company for the period and even before that.

Priti has been instrumental in expanding the brand connect of some of Emami's key products like Fair and Handsome, Boroplus, Himani Fast Relief, Himani Navratna Extra Thanda Cool Oil, Boroplus Lotion and the Sona Chandi Chyawanprash by roping in key celebrities as the brand ambassadors. Be it Shah Rukh Khan's association with Fair and Handsome or Amitabh Bachchan's iconic television commercials for Himani Navratna Extra Thanda Cool Oil, it was Priti and her teams customer connect that helped the brand expand Emami's business.

Emami has also acquired a number of brands in the recent years. Priti is said to have played key roles in most of these acquisition. For example, in June 2015, Emami announced the acquisition of ayurvedic hair and scalp care brand Kesh King for Rs 1,651 crore. This marked the company's foray into the fast-growing hair-care segment. Before that Emami had acquired a controlling stake in Australia-based Fravin Pty, along with its three subsidiaries for an undisclosed sum. Fravin Pty manufactures natural and organic personal care products.

In 2014, it acquired sanitary-napkin brand 'She Comfort' from Royal Hygiene Care in an undisclosed all-cash deal to enter into the Rs 2,100-crore women's hygiene segment dominated by Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. The company also acquired Zandu brand in 2008 for Rs 700 crore. At that time, Emami Director Priti Sureka had said that as part of its core business strategy, the company was always open to growth "through inorganic route".

"We always consider acquisitions that not only add value and have synergy with our current line of business, but also offer opportunities for us to be present in categories that have high growth potential," she had said back then.

Talking to the shareholders in its annual report for FY16, Priti said: "We believe that Kesh King, which has already started contributing significantly to the Company's topline, will emerge as a key business driver in the years ahead. In terms of financial numbers Emami Ltd has been clocking healthy growth over the past several years. Take for example its revenue figures. Its revenue jumped by 40 per cent in three financial years - from FY 14 (Rs 1,705 crore) to FY16 Rs 2.391 crore.

*Fair and Handsome' and 'Himani Fast Relief' is handled by the other second generation promoter - Mohan Goenka. Navratna Oil is handled by Harsha V Agarwal, the younger brother of Priti. Harsha also heads the M&A cell of the group. However, Kesh King as a brand/business is handled by Priti.