Q&A: Adi Godrej, Chairman of Godrej Group

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adi Godrej, billionaire chairman of the family-controlled Indian conglomerate Godrej Group, sat down with India Real Time to talk about why India should tolerate a little inflation, about how India’s economy should really be growing at 10%, and about his optimistic outlook for Godrej’s expansion across 20 emerging markets in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

The Godrej Group runs companies that sell everything from animal feed to real estate to shampoo. Its biggest listed company, Godrej Consumer Products, has a market capitalization of $2.8 billion, according to Capital IQ. Mr. Godrej himself is estimated to be worth $6.8 billion by Forbes Magazine, making him the 10th richest person in India. He’s set in April to take over as president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, a key business group that many think of as the chief voice of India Inc.

IRT: Your strategy is to focus solely on the developing world. Why?

AG: We were never interested in the richer parts of the world because growth has been slow since before the crisis. We see tremendous opportunity both in India and the developing world. We are operating in 20 countries outside India and we’d like to add more countries. Asia, Africa, South America and mainly consumer products and mainly at what we call the bottom of the pyramid: good quality products that lower income people in the developing world can afford to use. That strategy is quite successful. These countries and continents are doing well. Growth in South America, by and large, is at its historic peak. Growth in Africa is certainly at its historic peak. India and China are not at their peaks but reasonably good. Revenue for our group is about 25% from outside India. About 10 years ago, it would have been 15%.

Source: Wall Street Journal (link opens in a new window)