Japanese stationary major Kokuyo, which recently acquired a 50.74 per cent stake in city-based Camlin Ltd, has put in place a blueprint that will see the largely school stationary company evolve into a diversified player. The endeavour is to triple the Rs 358-crore-firm’s turnover to Rs 1,000 crore in a span of five years.
For this, the $3-billion Japanese major has identified three key areas to push its India business that includes colour products, paper stationary and writing instruments.
While Camlin, which is now called Kokuyo Camlin, has been the leader in colour products, it is in paper stationary and writing instruments that the company has lagged. The firm has a small presence in writing instruments in segments such as pencils, pens and ball-point pens though it has done well in markers. In paper stationary, it has primarily operated through tie-ups with companies such as Kokuyo, whose Campus notebooks it has been distributing in India for a while now.
But Akihiro Kuroda, president & chief executive officer of the Osaka-headquartered Kokuyo Company Ltd, says the focus will now be to increase Camlin’s presence in paper stationary and writing instruments. “We will try for a combination of initiatives which involves ramping up both production and distribution,” said Kuroda, who is currently in India.
The firm at the moment is hiking capacity at its plants located at Taloja, Tarapur and Vasai in Maharashtra and Jammu respectively. It is also looking to double its direct coverage of outlets, which stands at 1.25 lakh, in the next few years.
According to Dilip Dandekar, chairman &managing director, Kokuyo Camlin, the firm may also look at setting up new plants in the future in both writing instruments and paper stationary besides looking at increasing third-party manufacturing tie-ups. Currently, Camlin has two third-party manufacturing arrangements for notebooks in Maharashtra.
Besides increasing turnover, the endeavour, says Kuroda, is to also convert India into a manufacturing hub. “The cost of production of stationary products is lower in India in comparison to China and Vietnam, where we also have a presence,” he says.
“By converting India into a manufacturing hub we can export to markets in the Middle East and Africa,” he says. “But that is a long-term plan. For now, the focus remains on tapping into the growth opportunities that the local market presents.”
The Rs 10,000-crore Indian stationary market has grown very fast in the last few years with the entry of writing companies Cello, Reynolds, Linc and Luxor, besides ITC, which has introduced Classmate notebooks and allied products. European and American stationary and art brands such as Faber Castle, 3M and Staples are also trying to consolidate their position in the domestic market.
Kokuyo Camlin will primarily push the Camel brand in colours, Camlin in writing instruments and Campus in notebooks. The firm has also reconstituted its board and has refurbished its corporate logo to reflect the change in ownership.