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Page Industries: Acing The Ins & Outs Of Business
His obsessive attention to quality and detail has ensured that Jockey owns a third of the total innerwear market in India
Photo Credit : Bivash Banerjee
Innerwear is no longer meant to be innerwear; it’s now been repositioned as loungewear. Jockey, the cool and trendy innerwear giant from the United States, believes that innerwear lends itself well to “jockeying around” and is now giving big fashion labels a run for their money.
But not many know that a Bangalore-based company is behind the wide popularity of Jockey in India.
Page Industries, as Jockey India is called, is the manufacturer and distributor of the international brand in India. It is helmed by Sunder Genomal, managing director of the company and the youngest of three brothers who own the brand and are also licensees for the Jockey brand in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and UAE.
Page Industries has emerged number two in BW Businessworld’s rankings of the Most ‘Valueable CEOs in the medium companies’ category. Last year, a leading business magazine listed the Genomals as India’s 95th richest with a net worth of $1.2 billion, courtesy their 51 per cent holding in Page.
Page Industries has grown by leaps and bounds since 1994, when Genomal, whose family owned the Jockey franchise in Philippines for over three decades, laid the company’s foundation in Bangalore with a franchise license for 50 years.
Page Industries now operates in the mid and premium category segment, with net sales of Rs 15, 430 million, and constitutes a third of the total innerwear market in India. Page’s stock has soared over 60 per cent in the last couple of years owing to increased revenues and profits.
After over a decade of entering the Indian market, Page decided to raise money from the markets in 2007. Sceptics pointed out that the company was “just a licensee” of the Jockey brand and could have borrowed from banks and financial institutions, apart from internal accruals, to continue its growth story as it had become profitable in the third year.
But Genomal chose to take the risk and go the IPO way, a move that benefited the company and investors.
All those who invested in Page at the IPO price of Rs 360 have been handsomely rewarded. A Rs 1 lakh investment at the IPO price would eight years later yield approximately Rs 36 lakh, not taking into account the regular dividends paid by the company.
In 2008, Page renewed its licensing arrangements for the Jockey brand for another 50 years, till 2058, and “thereafter to be continued in perpetuity every 50 years”.
Genomal’s obsessive attention to quality and detail is what led Page Industries to success. It was essential that the company maintained control over every step of the manufacturing process to get the kind of quality standards Jockey demanded. Genomal decided that he would retain complete quality control by saying no to outsourcing. Even today, more than 95 per cent of all products sold in India by the company are manufactured in-house.
Page now has 223 exclusive Jockey outlets, and is available in 726 large format stores and 35,000 retail outlets across 1,200 cities and towns of India. It also has the licenses for manufacturing and distributing Jockey in the Middle East, Asia, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In UAE, for instance, it has already opened four exclusive stores and has a presence in 40 other multi-brand outlets.
In 20 years, Genomal has managed to make the brand synonymous with premium innerwear and has gone on to garner a marketshare of over 5 per cent.
The entire credit goes to Genomal, now 63, who is a postgraduate in industrial management engineering from DeLaSalle University, Manila, Philippines. His work has won him many awards and he received a special one in 2001 — the 125th anniversary of Jockey International — for his dedicated association with Jockey International.
Harish Bijoor, marketing guru and CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, feels that Page Industries, “through Jockey, has built an enviable premium brand positioning for itself, and the management deserves full kudos.”
There are a lot more years for Genomal to build on that.