VN Dalmia Group To Enter Edible Olive Oil, Food Retailing

New Delhi: | Updated: Sep 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
VN Dalmia, once associated with Dalmia Biscuits, is making a comeback into the foods business by entering into two new streams of businesses: edible olive oils and food retail.

While the olive oil foray is being made through a newly formed division Olive Products Division of Dalmia Continental Pvt Ltd which Mr Dalmia heads, the restaurant business is being spearheaded through a newly floated company called D&A Hospitality Services Ltd.

While Mr Dalmia is the majority stakeholder, Mr PV Anand is a minority equity holder (20 per cent) in the company, which has been set up to launch a chain of Pan-Indian restaurants in the country under the brand name Good Karma. According to Mr Dalmia, the first restaurant will be opened in Gurgaon in one of the upscale malls in the next three months. He refused to divulge investment details about the project but said that all outlets would be company-owned.

Meanwhile announcing its formal entry into the 1,000 tonne imported olive oil market with the launch of Leonardo brand of olive oil, Mr Dalmia said the company plans to sell over 60,000 litres of olive oil by the end of March 2004 amd 5,00,000 litres by March 2005. The company plans to invest Rs 5 crore till March 2004 and Rs 100 crore over the next five years. Our entry into the olive oil business is very strategic and well-orchestrated, Mr Dalmia said and added that our product will be the price leader. We have already made substantial investments in this venture and have plans to emerge as a national player by the end if this fiscal. Besides this we have identified other related business areas in the FMCG sector which is poised to grow in future.

The company is currently importing the product directly from Italy where it has entered into a technical tie-up with Nicola Panteleo. After paying an import duty of 50.1 per cent, the company is retailing Olive Pomace Oil at price points of Rs 290 (1-litre) and Rs 170 (500 ml).

Unfortunately in India, usage of Olive oil is restricted owing to misperceptions regarding its flavour and steep price, Mr Dalmia said. Keeping the Indian palate in mind, the company has launched Olive Pomace Oil, which it claims is neutral in taste and flavour and ideal for Indian cooking.