Initially envisaged as a trading company to institutionalise the country's mineral wealth, MMTC was hived off from STC in 1963 as the Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation. Its Director-Marketing, Sunir Khurana spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts:
How MMTC's experience has been in the precious metals business so far?
MMTC started importing gold in 1988 for supply to units located in export zones and export complexes.
As permitted by the government, supplies to exporters located outside zones commenced in 1992 and supplies to domestic industry against SIL (Special Import Licence) started in 1994.
MMTC remains the most favoured supplier to the gold industry.
It is India's largest importer of gold and also a major player in import of silver.
Moreover, MMTC is the first organisation in India to have set up an assaying and hallmarking center for quality testing and certification of jewellery. Elaborate on plans to diversify through joint ventures and other agreements?
MMTC keenly pursues a long-term strategy to innovate and diversify into new areas, particularly into projects that could be developed for the domestic and overseas markets.
MMTC has taken a stake in Neelachal Ispat Nigam Limited in Orissa as a joint venture company.
MMTC's other joint venture with PAMP SA, Switzerland, the largest gold medallion manufacturer in the world, is for refining of gold and silver and for manufacture of gold medallions with superior quality and proof finish that would be retailed by MMTC.
MMTC also has a joint venture with Gitanjali Group, one of India's leading jewellery manufacturers and retailers. The jewellery is retailed under the brand name 'Shuddhi'. Moreover, MMTC has recently revived its long-term agreements with the Japanese Steel Mills (JSMs) and South Korean steel company Posco for supply of 2.8 MT of iron ore annually for a period of three years.
What is your future strategy for growth/consolidation 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 gold festival exhibition in Vizag, which received tremendous response.
Our recent retail initiatives include setting up a new MMTC Jewels showroom in Goa, appointing our first stockist of silver and gold medallions in Odisha, and opening a new company outlet in Puri.
Three more MMTC Jewels exclusive showrooms in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) are planned this year.
An ambitious growth target of over 25 % is planned for retail products during 2012-13 over the previous year sales of around R650 crore.
What are the company's plans for its golden jubilee year?
This year, 2012-13 is the golden jubilee year of MMTC as the company.
This will be celebrated with a ‘Purity You Can Trust’ campaign with more gold festivals, events, corporate social responsibility initiatives in Delhi and other cities.
There are also plans to launch MMTC's own brand of gold jewellery and a sub-brand of teenage jewellery.