Tata Chemicals Limited, which presently holds around 37 per cent market share in the country’s edible salt market, is planning to manufacture hi-grade specialised industrial salt for the export market. This grade of salt is used by chemical production and processing units, several of which operate in west Asia. The company will be targeting this market first.
Only two per cent of Tata Chem’s salt production was sold overseas in the last fiscal. Overseas sales are expected to rise to at least 5 per cent following the decision to export industrial salt with 99.9 per cent sodium chloride in west Asia.
Tata Chem has chalked out a plan for the export of hi-grade salts to the Middle-East and also to other countries, provided a cost- effective transportation method can be found. The hi-grade salts earmarked for export are expected to be bought by refineries and pharmaceutical companies for certain processes.
“We are hoping to get a good price for export consignments,” the chief operating officer of Tata Chem, R Mukundan, told Business Standard. He declined to reveal when the first consignment would sail for the Middle-East.
In the domestic market, Tata Chem is planning to roll out its new brand ‘Samunder’ nationally. It is presently being experimentally marketed at select towns in Tamil Nadu. The company’s frontline product continues to be its vacuum-dried edible salt ‘Namak’.
Samunder will be cheaper than Namak by at least Rs 2 a kg. “Samunder would not be vacuum-dried and was likely to be priced at Rs 5 per kilogram against ‘Tata Namak’ at Rs 7 for the same quantity. Instead, Samunder will be marketed as a refined salt and will help Tata Chem to expand its market”, said Mukundan. Instead of a separate plant for ‘Samunder,’ Tata Chem will procure salt from small manufacturers and resell it after refining and packaging it at its Jamnagar, Gujarat, plant, he added.
Both brands will be marketed strongly. The company has set for itself the target of increasing its market share in edible salt from 37 per cent at present to 41 per cent by end of the 2003-05 fiscal. “The new brand will help Tata Chem to increase market share in the refined salt segment,” said Mukundan.
The launch schedule was yet to be finalised. Mukundan said, “Tata Chem was in the process of analysing results of test marketing in Tamil Nadu”. Decision on the national roll-out will be taken thereafter.
Apart from the second brand, Tata Chem would market edible salt in more packaging options, sizes and types. The company is selling Tata Namak only in 1-kg packets now.
“The company was planning to launch more variants of packaging, types and sizes of edible salt,” he added. It may also launch salts in dispensers for urban markets.
Tata Chem expects sales to touch Rs 1700 crore this fiscal against Rs 1543 crore in the last fiscal. It will be aiming at a 10 per cent plus growth in the next fiscal.