Madurai would soon be the home of direct selling major Amway’s research and development centre, where a manufacturing facility also is expected to be fully functional by the third quarter of this year.
The research and development (R&D) facility is expected to take shape in the next 18 to 24 months,” said Anand Budhraja, general manager, Amway India.
On the sidelines of the launch of Amway’s product All Plant Protien Power in Chennai, Budhraja said: “We are planning to set up a high-end R&D centre at Nilakottai, near Madurai, where around 50 acre land is available. A manufacturing sector is coming up on 25 acres.”
Sam Rehnborg, president, Nutrilite Health Institute, said, “India has already been selected by our global research and development team as a key location which could be used as an R&D centre.” The company is looking at India as a key regional export base as well as an R&D hub.
There would be an R&D facility coming in the upcoming manufacturing centre, but the plans are to set up a high-end R&D centre which would both work with the other existing global R&D centres of Amway and also work on specific regional projects. The company, at present, has similar high-end R&D centres in the US and China. Budhraja said details, including investment and the number of scientists to be engaged, have not been finalised yet.
Amway is investing around Rs 550 crore in its facility in Nilakottai. It would start manufacturing in the third quarter of 2015.
The company is currently validating the lines and the launch of the first line of production from the facility, expected in March.
The facility would initially address the domestic market, but plans are to export products. The company is targeting to hire 500 employees at the manufacturing site, which will double its employee strength by the end of the year.
The products, including the newly launched All Plant Protien Powder, would be manufactured in the new facility. Once established, the facility have a capacity to service a $1-billion market.
The company, which closed its business at Rs 2,045 crore last year with a tapering of around five per cent, is expecting the market to be almost the same for the year or two, after which it would see the revenues doubling.
A few regulatory issues in the recent past has slowed down growth, but it would expect the government to come out with some framework in the direct selling market in the near future, said Budhraja..