Already rewarded with the PLI sanction for the first phase of expansion with an investment of Rs 135 core: Amar Tulsiyan of Niine | INTERVIEW

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Local feminine hygiene brand Niine is planning to increase its capacity and has already received sanction under the PLI scheme for the first phase of expansion with the investment of over Rs 135 crore in plant and machinery. Niine had applied under the PLI scheme for capacity expansion with a proposed investment of over Rs 500 crore in phases. The brand was selected for the PLI Scheme for Textile Industries, approved by the Indian government, last July. The investment, said Amar Tulsiyan, founder and CEO of Niine, will be made in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, where the brand has its existing facilities. “A total of 61 projects have been selected across India. The same will be funded through internal cash accruals and private equity fundraising as well,” he said.

Launched in 2018, Niine competes with segment majors like ITC Limited, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble. Amar Tulsiyan, Founder and CEO, Niine spoke to FinancialExpress.com about his retail presence, expansion plans, growth prospects, overall feminine hygiene industry, among others.

Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:

Tell us about your current business presence and your plans for expansion. Do you plan to explore new retail channels?

Currently, we have a strong offline presence with 4.8 lakh retailers, over 4000 channel partners, modern trading partners, 25 online platforms and a D2C network. We are constantly striving to expand the distribution network across India and our aim is to be present in all relevant modern retail and commercial outlets.

In terms of new retail strategies, although we are not considering subscription models at this time, I think we should consider it after at least 1 year. Currently, our focus is on maximizing trials.

What percentage of your sales come from offline retail channels versus online channels?

Niine business is mainly built in the offline channel. 95% of FY22 sales came from the offline channel. However, we are gradually working to strengthen our online presence as well.

What kind of investments do you anticipate for all expansion plans and new initiatives (if any)?

Niine has already invested more than Rs 150 crores in the first phase of expansion and a second phase has also been planned. While the baby care products market in India is expected to grow by $26.35 billion, at a CAGR of 11.11% from 2020 to 2025, Niine has further expanded into the baby care segment and later to hand hygiene products. We are looking to expand the capacity of the sanitary napkin and baby diaper lines, and add adult diapers in the near future to our product portfolio.

How do you see the current growth of the D2C segment? How are you leveraging this growth for Niine?

The D2C segment is growing tremendously as more and more companies offer customers the option to buy direct. This happened mainly due to the ease of payment and delivery brought to the game by platforms like Shopify. Since the current sale rate of sanitary napkins is much higher in offline channels, we first focused on this and are now expanding to build our D2C channel.

How do you see the competition in this space? What are your strategies for staying ahead of the game?

Non-market leading players in feminine hygiene and baby care are the ones that have quickly jumped on the D2C bandwagon. Market leaders are still a bit slow to react with their D2C sites. The goal here is to start and aggressively build a consumer base with product trials and differentiated offers. The quality of our products, with European-style packaging, really appeals to consumers and the biodegradable bin bags are a feature that Niine is the sole and exclusive supplier of.

Describe the company’s performance over the past year and your outlook for 2022.

We did extremely well last year as we hit the sales target of Rs 300 crore. As a new brand and local company, we are eager to enter the areas where the giants have not reached. Our outlook for 2022 is also positive. We will certainly further increase our sales.

How do you see this segment developing in the next 5 years?

We are seeing a CAGR of over 20% in the sanitary napkin and baby diaper markets, and with greater sensitivity to personal hygiene, this growth rate may increase by 4-5% YoY. Thus, the opportunity is huge for brands like Niine who have delivered consistent quality and a better experience to consumers compared to leading brands in the market. We have attracted additional attention from trade and consumers. So the next five years will also see a lot of disruption in this segment and Niine will definitely lead this change.

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