"This is the first Nivea product plant in India. Initally we will have a capacity to produce about 50-70 million units of our 60-odd products at this greenfield unit at Sanand. This unit will focus on manufacturing products with lower price points. This does not mean that there will be any change in our quality, but the size of the packaging will be smaller," said Stefan De Loecker, corporate senior vice-president (Near East Region) of Hamburg-based Beiersdorf AG, a parent company of Nivea India Pvt Ltd.
The manufacturing units is expected to become operational by 2015. "The first products will roll out by March 31, 2015," he said. This Nivea unit is expected to manufacture Nivea creme, body lotion, shower gel, deodrants and other products.
"Secondly, we also plan to move our R&D from Hamburg (Germany) to India. So we will be developing an R&D centre here at Sanand. We have already recruited Indians for this R&D centre in 2013. They are currently undergoing training in Germany and will be moved to Sanand, once the facility is ready. Initally a team of 10-12 persons will shift to Sanand from Hamburg," Stefan said on the sidelines of the ground-breaking ceremony which was attended by Michael Ott, Deputy Consul General of Federal Republic of Gemany and Dr Reinhard Pollath, chairman of supervisory Board of Beiersdorf AG.
The company officials however refused to divluge the investment figures. However, according to sources in the Gujarat government, the Nivea India Pvt Ltd has acquired about 70,000 square meters (or 7.53 lakh square feet) of land at the cost of Rs 3250 per square meter within Sanand GIDC for the project. The company will be investing about Rs 1000 crore in this project, officials added.
Officials of Nivea said that they choose Sanand because it was close to large consumer markets and more importantly they were well supported and assisted by the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) which manages the industrial cluster at Sanand, located 40 kilometers from Ahmedabad.
Once operational, the Sanand units is expected to cut the imports of Nivea by 50-60 percent, said Rakshit Hargave, managing director of Nivea India.
Nivea is the sixth major FMCG brand to set up base at Sanand, which is fast turning into a an FMCG hub with big brands like Nestle, Colgate Palmolive, Rasna, Inbisco and Greek-snack maker Chipita pitching tent at this industrial cluster.