Dabur India Ltd vice-chairman Amit Burman spearheaded the company’s entry into the foods business. However, the Burman family member currently spends about a third of his time on Dabur even as he steers Lite Bite Foods Pvt. Ltd, a company that runs restaurants chains in India and abroad. The 47-year-old licensed pilot is unruffled by the much-talked-about emergence of Patanjali as a competitor to Dabur. Burman says his focus is to build Dabur as the multinational from India. Edited excerpts:
How big a threat is Patanjali?
Besides that fact that you can’t fight faith in India, I see Patanjali as an opportunity builder rather than a threat. Ramdev and Patanjali have expanded the market, turned a lot of non-users to users of Ayurvedic products. We have been selling Ayurvedic and natural products for more than 130 years. Our products are based on scientific research based on old Ayurvedic knowledge. We have the advantage. With time, more people will turn to science-based Ayurveda from faith-based Ayurveda. Innovation and efficient communication will definitely help us in staying ahead in the curve.
But it has impacted Dabur.
Except honey, there has not been much impact. We have taken some steps to address this, and sales of honey have already picked up. Overall growth, primarily in the past couple of quarters, was impacted due to many reasons, such as slowdown in rural markets.
With the good monsoon, coupled with government initiatives, things should get better in the coming quarters.
At Dabur, I involve in strategy, and expansion in new markets. Our aim is to make Dabur a multinational from India. That’s the long-term goal we have been working on.
What are the things you would like to change if you were to run Dabur?
Hunger for acquisitions should grow. There’s a limit on how much you can grow organically. Mergers and acquisitions are the route for faster growth. But that does not mean you can go for overpriced buys. The focus on international markets should increase. Markets outside of India should contribute more to overall sales. The third thing is the focus should be on healthcare. This is one area that would be very big in future. Everything, even food, should have a health focus. These are not new areas but enhanced focus on these will ensure faster growth.
Market analysts have indicated a potential change in management. Will there be more involvement of the family in Dabur’s day-to-day operations?
No. There is no plan of changing the management. Dabur will continue to be run by professionals and the involvement of the family will not increase from what it is at present.