MMTC has been in the bullion trade since 1988 and over the years has transformed itself into one of the largest bullion importers in the subcontinent. As part of its commitment to bullion industry, MMTC hosted its first ‘Festival of Gold’ exhibition in 1994 at Hotel Ashok. While the exhibition in Delhi has become a feature, hosted twice a year (around Akshay Trithiya and Diwali), MMTC has taken the Festival of Gold to other cities such as Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai. Its Chairman and Managing Director Vijay Laxmi Joshi spoke to Hindustan Times on a range of issues. Excerpts:
How do you see the gold demand this season?
Festive season is the time when women buy jewellery. India traditionally has been a global leader when it comes to gold, diamonds and jewellery and for which MMTC has a mandate. As an organisation, MMTC has performed well, even during difficult times, importing gold close to Rs. 50,000 crore and over 240 tonnes. Indians have an insatiable appetite when it comes to gold. MMTC’s last year’s exhibition recorded a turnover of Rs. 56 crore over a period of nine days which reflects the trust of people on the jewellery sold by us. We are making every effort to enhance last year’s levels despite the high prices of gold.
What is the Festival of Gold to Delhi?
The theme of the Festival of Gold exhibitions is to offer hallmarked gold jewellery signifying purity. The exhibition spreads over 10 days and covers major festivals such as Karva Chauth and Dhanteras, providing the customers an opportunity to source jewellery and value-added bullion products from various parts of India, under a single roof. Traditional jewellery from Punjab and Chattisgarh are also on display, adding to the variety.
How are the MMTC Joint ventures (JV) in precious metals progressing?
MMTC has a JV with PAMP SA for manufacturing of gold medallions and refining of gold and silver. The project has an investment of R200 crore and gold and silver medallion of 9999 purity are manufactured in state-of-art facility with world-class quality. The JV has an annual refining capacity of 100 tonnes of gold and 600 tonnes of silver. The current equity capital of the JV is R60 crore with MMTC’s contribution at 26% (R15.60 crore).
MMTC also has a JV with Gitanjali Gems and their expertise in retail marketing along with wide range of jewellery would add considerable value to the exhibitions hosted by MMTC. The jewellery are retailed under the brand name Shuddhi and 17 retail stores are operational across India. This JV has equity capital of R45 crore with MMTC’s contribution at 26%.
What is MMTCs role in the bullion trade?
MMTC was designated as agency for import of gold by the commerce ministry in 1988. Over the past three decades, MMTC has played a pioneering role in bullion trade and its contribution to industry has been duly recognised. During 2010-11, MMTC handled a quantity of 245 tonnes of gold and 880 tonnes of Silver. MMTC roughly accounts for 25% of gold imports in India. MMTC is the largest importer of gold in India handling about 9% of World Mine production.