Kolkata-based FMCG firm Emami is gearing up for a major expansion in the healthcare products category with plans to enter neutraceutical business besides expanding its pharmacy chain in the rest of the country.
The Rs 3,500-crore group, which runs around 70 pharmacies under 'Frank Ross' brand in Kolkata, is modeling its expansion similar to UK-based Boots retail chain that sells medicines online and provides services like home delivery and free consultation to patients.
"We are formulating strategy how we should enter the neutraceutical market and are evaluating what produts we should bring in," Emami Group of Companies chairman RS Agarwal said.
The Indian neutraceuticals market is estimated to be valued at around $1 billion in 2010, growing at a rate of 7% per annum, as per a joint study by FICCI and Ernst & Young. Neutraceuticals are products that offer both health and medicinal benefits.
He said the company is even "looking for tie-ups with foreign firms," but did not give further details on the kind of products the company plans to launch and the foreign companies it is in talks with.
"Everything is at planning stage right now. It will probably take some time to finalise it," Agarwal said.
Emami had earlier said one of the focused categories for future growth would be the healthcare products category and also been scouting for acquisitions both in the domestic and overseas as part of strategy.
"We see a lot of opportunities in the neutraceuticals market. We feel that the sector is growing. Only the general Over-The-Counter segment in India is around Rs 600-700 crore," said Emami director Harsh Agarwal, adding that it might take around three months to finalise the plans.
Commenting on expansion of 'Frank Ross' pharmacies, RS Agarwal said: "We are studying different models from different parts of the country. We have selected the Boots model. We shall modify a bit and follow it here."
Boots is a leading pharmacy chain in the UK. It has its presence in Ireland, Sweden, Norway and other parts of the world. Apart from selling medicines, it offers health club facilities, provides services on weight retention and insurance plans as well.
Apart from increasing retail presence, it also plans to introduce services like home delivery to regular customers, supply medicines 24 hours and provide free consultation to patients for common health issues.
At present, Frank Ross Pharmacy generates a revenue of around Rs 150 crore.