Living in India, it is next to impossible for you not to come across a Godrej product in some form or the other. Not quite as flashy as some of its recent upstart rivals, the Godrej group has for long symbolized the quintessential traditional Indian brand, having gone about its work in a typically under-stated fashion, and is today recognized as one of the leading conglomerates in the country, with a presence across an entire gamut of sectors- be it FMCG, consumer goods, beverages or even industrial engineering, Godrej is one name that’s hard to ignore.
Whether it’s Cinthol, their hugely successful soap brand , the Godrej Expert, the secret of that unusually black crop of luxuriant hair on your head, or Kiwi , the eternal secret of your shining shoes, Godrej has helped an entire generation of Indians to not only look their best, but also put a highly polished foot forward. However, with its sights set on clocking upwards of 30% growth over the next five years, Godrej Industries would appear to have its task cut out. The Indian market is already flooded with a slew of rival brands, both domestic as well as global, and given the price-pressures confronting almost every major FMCG player in the country, the Mumbai headquartered firm has already begun to seek out growth opportunities in foreign shores, with Asia, Africa and Latin America emerging as the preferred destinations for consolidating the group’s global footprint. But while existing strengths of the $ 2.6 billion group have served it well for more than a century (it was founded in 1897), the Godrej group increasingly seems keen on foraying into uncharted territories, with one of the key growth drivers emerging from the unlikeliest of sources- the large reserves of unutilized land it has in its possession in prime Mumbai locations, more specifically, in Mumbai’s Vikhroli area.
At nearly 3000 acres, the Godrej group is among the biggest land-holders in Mumbai, having the potential to yield multi-billion dollar returns once archaic government land use regulations are amended, allowing builders greater freedom in construction of apartment buildings. With daily reports of escalating realty prices showing us a glimpse of what the future holds, it’s no wonder that real estate has emerged as the next big thing on the Godrej radar and Godrej Properties has already set the ball rolling, having recently put two prime apartments in downtown Mumbai, belonging to members of the Godrej family, up for sale in the property bazaar, with the base price hovering in the Rs.15 Crore plus region( incidentally, just slightly above the price band I was looking at for my 1 b-h-k.)
However, irrespective of its new-found zeal for the real estate sector, it will be essential for the iconic FMCG major not to lose sight of the opportunities that the coming years will open up in India’s vast untapped markets, especially in our vast hinterland. With increasing purchasing power of the Indian masses ensuring continued demand growth for the foreseeable future, the Godrej brand, already established as a trusted name in Indian hearts and minds for more than a
century, would find itself in the enviable position of starting ahead of the curve- correctly leveraging such an enormous head-start could prove to be the determining factor in deciding the course Godrej takes in the years ahead.