We intend to grow at double the industry average, at least

In the March quarter, when leading paints majors posted declines of 11-22 per cent, Shalimar Paints, a one-time market leader, posted a modest four per cent growth. Established in 1902, Shalimar dropped from leadership position to several notches below the present market leaders. As the company sailed through a successful rights issue of Rs.2 billion and focussed on scaling up R&D and production facilities, MD Ashok Kumar Gupta spoke to Senior Editor E Jayashree Kurup on how the organisation plans to re-establish leadership position in a couple of years.

The change happened about five years ago when stakeholders decided to revive the company's position. The organisation banks on research at the Nashik unit to push it into consistent growth in performance. MD Ashok Kumar Gupta, who took over in 2020, has not only pushed the company into consistent growth, approximately twice the industry average over the past few years, but also steered the company through a successful rights issue worth Rs.2 billion. This gave the company enough capital to scale up and seek to achieve leadership position in the Indian paints segment. He spoke to Construction World about strategies to restore the brand to its earlier glory.

What is the strategy to regain lost ground?
We have a huge legacy dating back to 1902. A couple of decades ago, we were a leading company in the sector. In between, we did not focus on research and new products and dropped behind others.

A few years ago we took a calculated decision for a makeover. Since then, we have been regaining ground. Any journey that is halted in between takes a while to restart. We held first or second position in the industry and over half a dozen players have overtaken us.

In our makeover journey, the first starting point has been research and development (R&D). We had a small set-up which is being completely revamped at our Nashik plant and will be comparable to our competitors. It will have a full team of scientists.

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