Hyderabad: Groupe Lactalis, a family-owned French dairy company and the largest cheese manufacturer in the world is strengthening its base in India, through its arm Lactalis India. The company has significantly invested in local facilities across the country, with processing facilities spread across Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. There will be more investments in the future in India, including Telangana.
Rahul Kumar, MD, Lactalis India told Telangana Today, “We have a plant at Gungal in Ranga Reddy District of Telangana where we currently make tetra pack milk products with long shelf-life and other processed dairy products catering to both Hyderabad and key nearby cities such as Warangal. Telangana remains a key market for us and we constantly see opportunities to expand existing facilities and add new facilities in the future.”
Lactalis has been aggressive in its inorganic growth. The company acquired Thirumala Milk Products in 2014 which has a presence in the Telugu States, followed by the acquisition of Anik Dairy having a footprint in northern and eastern parts of India and Prabhat with operations pan-India, in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Lactalis has so far invested Rs 4,000 crore in large ticket acquisitions in the last six years.
The company continues to grow both organically and inorganically. There will be 70 percent organic growth and 30 percent inorganic growth in the future, Kumar informed.
The company has rolled out ghee, butter, cheese, and milk brands in India, in addition to several value-added fermented products. The company has just rolled out its global ultra-heat treatment milk brand Lactel in India, which is sold in over 50 countries. This product could be made both in Telangana and Maharashtra, going forward.
Kumar added, post-Covid, the company will draw out fresh expansion plans. The company has been witnessing a CAPEX of over Rs 100-110 crore every year, primarily into procurement, testing, machinery, and other facilities. Lactalis with a focus on R&D is looking at a range of new products that have nutritional value, particularly aimed at women’s and children’s health.
On the retail front, the company has a large offline base with about 500 stores across India. There are plans to add at least 300 stores every year from now on. Kumar says, India is a large market and can accommodate many retail stores for the value-added products that the company is targeting.