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`Cycle' brand agarbatti makers plan expansion in Gujarat

Our Bureau

To introduce new variants, fragrances exclusive to the market

The Group has introduced an initiative to provide training to tribals from Gujarat and neighbouring Rajasthan on rolling agarbattis.

Ahmedabad , June 2

The Mysore-based N Ranga Rao and Sons, makers of `Cycle' brands of incense sticks (agarbattis), on Thursday announced their expansion plans in Gujarat by ramping up their distribution network and manpower, besides introducing new brands, in an attempt to increase their business by six times in the next five years.

Addressing a news conference here, Mr Arjun Ranga, CEO and Managing Partner of the Rs 160-crore NR Group, said the incense market in Gujarat was worth about Rs 75 crore per annum, of which the Cycle brands currently had only a five per cent market share, which the company intended to increase to 30 per cent in five years. With this objective, the five-decade-old ISO-9001-2000 Certified Enterprise was planning new initiatives in the area of rural marketing to strengthen their marketing network. It planned to increase its distribution network by 50 per cent this financial year and double their manpower. In all, the company would double its current 150-strong distributors to cater to some 45,000 outlets, he said.

Besides, the company would also enter the "dhoop stick" market, which is about 10 per cent of the entire agarbatti market in Gujarat. In addition, it planned to introduce new variants and fragrances exclusive to the Gujarat market in view of the customer's preferences for spicy and masala fragrances.

With a view to generate new jobs in this market, the NR Group had introduced an initiative to provide training to tribals from Gujarat and neighbouring Rajasthan on rolling agarbattis, thereby making them earn a livelihood, on its pattern in the southern states, which it would emulate at the national scale, Mr Ranga said. The company had already employed some 750 people in Gujarat.

The Cycle brands currently have a 30 per cent market share in the organised agarbatti market with around 58 product variants ranging from Rs five to Rs 100 per pack. The total size of the incense industry in India was about Rs 1,100 crore.According to Mr Ranga, India had some 450 incense-making major companies in the organised sector and another 8,500 registered ones. In view of this stiff competition, there was no market leader in this sector in Gujarat where regional players held the sway. In fact, the market share of Karnataka has gone down from 90 per cent to 60 per cent.

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