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 in Delhi. While the Festival of Gold exhibition in Delhi has become a biannual affair (around Akshay Tritiya and Diwali), MMTC has taken the Festival of Gold to other cities also such as Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai. Ved Prakash, Director, Marketing, MMTC, spoke to Hindustan Times on a range of issues. Excerpts:
How was MMTC's bullion business in 2011-12?
Overall MMTC achieved a turnover of approx. Rs. 45,000 crore in the bullion sector. Imports were reflective of market trends wherein during the period April-October 2011, there was phenomenal growth. After October 2011, due to weakening rupee against the dollar and economic factors related to Eurozone, imports were on decline. There was also customs duty hike in January 2012 followed by another hike in March 2012, resulting in lower off take of gold and silver by the industry.
What's the target for retail sales and growth in 2012-13?
Bucking the trend, MMTC's retail precious metals business has achieved around 35% growth in last fiscal. Growth has been substantial in retail sales of silverware, silver/gold medallions and gold jewellery. Exhibitions have contributed significantly to the value chain of MMTC. An ambitious growth target of over 25 per cent is planned for retail products during 2012-13 over the previous year's sales of around R650 crore.
Elaborate on the current scenario of high prices of gold versus strategy for growth consolidation in precious metals.
Post customs duty hike and low margins, MMTC is reviewing the consignment model for bullion. Efforts are concentrated on targeting corporate/institutional manufacturers and offering value added services. MMTC is also coordinating with its joint ventures for offering refined gold and silver bars in different denominations. In line with customer preferences, MMTC is also introducing coloured silver pendants with superior quality finish hitherto unavailable in Indian market.
What are your major plans for Akshay Tritiya 2012?
Gold is the central theme of Akshay Tritiya. Originating in the south, the culture and flavour of this festival has now a pan-India presence with familial and cultural binds being the unifying theme for celebrations of prosperity with gold and silver. The exhibition is being held at Hyatt Regency from April 21 to April 25, 2012. Jewellery from all regions of the country will be showcased here under a single roof. In line with customer preferences, new trendy fashion jewellery for the youth is an added attraction.
What is MMTC's focus in the retail sector?
We see a big opportunity to meet people's demand in the jewellery and bullion sector. We are expanding our footprints in some new terrains. Recently during Ugadi, we had our first Festival of Gold exhibition in Vizag that received tremendous response. Our customers have responded positively to our commitment to give them hallmarked products guaranteed for purity. We stand firm on this commitment. We will be opening around five more MMTC Jewels exclusive showrooms in Delhi/NCR and planning another showroom in Goa, as well as Vizag in the days to come. Through IPL, (Indian Potash Limited), two more showrooms are planned for Patna and Lucknow.