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BW Businessworld

Fortune From Fitness

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Do what you love and wealth will follow. This is exactly what Rajesh Batra, chairman and MD of Cravatex which represents the 100-year-old Italian brand Fila in India, has been doing for the past 29 years. A tennis enthusiast — he was ranked in the top 5 in India during 1976-77 — Rajesh and his brother Rajiv founded India's first sports apparel brand Proline in 1983.

Today, the Batra group under Rajesh's leadership has a portfolio of brands in retail, fitness and exports. In the past year, Rajesh and his family's net worth in Cravatex has jumped nearly 450 per cent to Rs 136 crore as on 30 March 2012 from a mere Rs 25 crore as on 31 March 2011. The rise in wealth has been due to the impressive results reported by Cravatex.

In four years, the profits and revenues of the company have jumped over seven times and five times, respectively. The Batras have expanded the company's presence beyond India; in early 2011, they acquired a sub-licence to distribute the products of Fila in the UK and Ireland. They have also formed strategic partnerships with various health club chains in India such as Talwalkars and Gold's Gym in the fitness equipment segment. These initiatives have seen the firm's net profit (on consolidated basis) jump 35 per cent to Rs 9.19 crore as on 30 March 2012, compared to Rs 6.79 crore the previous year. The revenues jumped nearly 2.5 times to Rs 244 crore from Rs 97 crore.

Rajesh plans to capture 15-20 per cent of the Rs 4,000 crore sportswear market by doubling the size of his retail chain and coming out with a private label. Seems the Batras are on a winning track.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 30-07-2012)