The State Trading Corporation of India Ltd (STC) is a government-owned international trading house. Set up in 1956, STC has developed expertise in handling bulk international trade. Though dealing largely with the East European countries in its early years, today it trades with almost all countries of the world and deals in trading a wide variety of products. The company’s chairman and managing director Dr Arvind Pandalai spoke to Gaurav Choudhury. Excerpts:
In the new global business environment, what are the changes that are being brought about in STC?
A number of changes have taken place in STC in the past five years. During the late 1990s and early 2000, we began to work on our policy to compete with the private sector. From a net loss making company, we have now posted a turnover of more than Rs 15,000 crore in 2006-07, with net profit of over Rs 100 crore. The turnaround is significant because in 2002-03 and 2003-04, STC posted losses and was identified as one of the public sector companies for disinvestments.
STC was predominantly an agriculture products export import company. Which are the new areas the company has diversified into?
STC was conventionally seen as predominantly dealing with export and import of agriculture commodities trading company. With liberalisation, the new areas we have branched out into include steel, power, coal and pharmaceutical products among others.
Apart from export and import, which are the other areas STC has diversified into?
We have started providing business solutions to customers. We do this by providing information on a whole matrix of issues that include market potential, saleablitity of products and potential market destinations.
In the area of pharmaceutical exports, which are the products that STC is exporting from India?
We export mostly formulations. Bulk drugs constitute a very small proportion of the total drugs that we export from India.
Which variety of tea does STC predominantly export?
We are mainly exporting Nilgiri tea. Now, Indian tea has got entry into Egypt after a long time.