Cash-strapped Gitanjali plans mega push into Dubai

PTI Posted online: Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 0000 hrs
Mumbai, Dubai : Cash-strapped jewellery and diamond major Gitanjali Gems, which already nets over 40 per cent of its revenue from overseas markets, is increasing its focus in the Gulf region.

The Mehul Choksi-promoted, city-based company is already present in leading global markets like the US, Japan, China and the UAE among others.

"We are increasing our presence in the Gulf market. The plan is to open seven more stores in Dubai alone over the next seven-eight months. Already we have 10 shop-in-shops in the city, being run under the Paris Gallery brand," Gitanjali Exports Corporation chief executive Sanjeev Agarwal told PTI recently in Dubai.

"In the second phase, we will enter the rest of the UAE markets, especially Abu Dhabi and other emirates," he said, adding that in all these markets the product focus will be diamonds.

Agarwal, who was in Dubai to receive the 'Asia's Most Promising Brands' award, instituted by the World Consumer Research Corporation, also said Gitanjali is the seventh largest brand in the US with 110 stores and the largest Indian brand in Japan with 30 stores, where it sells its mostly diamonds under various labels.

As part of the Dubai expansion plan, Agarwal said the company will be hiring nearly 40 people.

Gitanjali, which is facing cash crunch currently and is reportedly seeking Rs 1,000 crore working capital loan from banks following the recent tightening by the Reserve Bank, is also the biggest diamond retailer in the country with 60 per cent of its revenue coming in from this business.

Amongst its 37 brands the most popular are Asmi, Gili, which is the country's first jewellery brand, Sangini and Nakshatra, sold over 4,000 retail outlets.

Banks have an exposure of Rs 4,500 crore to the group, and two-thirds of it is to Gitanjali Gems, the flagship company.

Gitanjali brands cover ranging from loose diamonds to diamond studded jewelleries and other stone-studded jewelleries like precious and semi-precious, in gold, silver, steel and combinations, as well as high-end watches, jewellery-watches, luxury artefacts and accessories.

In the April-June quarter, the group reported a massive 76.4 per cent decline in consolidated net to Rs 35.13 crore even though its sales rose 16 per cent to Rs 3,919 crore.