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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sucess stories of entrepreneurs

I give a lot to individial management guys and even if a company has got nothing but is runned by aggresive visionary guys I tend to buy those stocks.I read a lot about entrepreneurs and their sucess stories.Presenting you some of stories which posses the potential to influence you folks.The companies are listed too so you can always buy them.

1)Company:Karuturi Global Ltd
Entrepreneur:Ramakrishna Karuturi

Story:Ramakrishna Karuturi, a mechanical engineer with MBA from the US, founded the company in 1995 as a 100% export-oriented unit in Bangalore.In 1999, he set up an internet auction portal by the name Rose to derive benefits of weeding out intermediaries through the use of the Internet. The same year, he set up a second production facility for roses near Bangalore taking the total size of his rose farms to 10 hectares.Roses for Valentines Day in 1998 earned him his first million. There was an order to supply 22 tons of roses to Europe, and the Air France flight that was to ship it, got cancelled. There was no flight to the destination after that. The buyers were not ready to wait, they would have switched to another supplier.I was the president of the flower association and bought up the entire stock that was lying there on the tarmac at a a throwaway price as the sellers were desperate to get rid of it. I drove a truck all the way to Chennai, and finally after some haggling, got all the stuff in a Lufthansa flight. That consignment alone netted me my first million, says Karuturi reminiscing in his Embassy Centre office in Bangalore. By 2003, the company was the countrys biggest producer of roses through efficient farming techniques.Producing in India was getting costlier and the customs regulations did not make matters any easier. So in 2003, he took a call. To be, or not to be in India, as he puts it. Finally, he decided to kickstart the next acres of farms in Ethiopia, a country which has been wooing investors and giving out lands at much cheaper rates. The wholly-owned subsidiary, Ethiopian Meadows Plc is now the epicentre of the groups activities.In 2006, he got his largest order from Tesco and that has been a terrific partnership. All the partnerships that we have had with the retail chains have endured, says Karuturi. He made the leap from just another producer to the worlds largest producer of roses last year when he acquired Dutch firm Sher Agencies for $69 million. That acquisition boosted the revenue of Karuturi, which is also into food processing and software services, to Rs 4 billion from a billion rupees. The capacity now grew to 650 million rose stems from 150 million with this single deal. That changed everything, says Karuturi.Growing at over 30% annually, the company acquired one lakh acres of land in May this year, and will soon add 6.5 lakh acres on long lease in Ethiopia for which he has garnered $250 million through debt and equity. This addition will put Karuturi on the fast track as a horticulture major.Here he plans to grow paddy, palm and sugarcane for both sugar and ethanol, while other crops such as sorghum and vegetables would be rotated to take advantage of the growing global demand for these commodities. We are going to process crude palm oil for trading in ethanol. With the global energy crisis getting serious, there are plans for tapping the big oil companies selling ethanol for blending with petrol, he says.When he is not dabbling in shipping roses to almost all of the worlds big chains, horticulture and his Bangalore-based internet connectivity business, he likes to go on long drives with his family. Through his business he has come across some interesting clients like a UK customer who wanted a heart-shaped bouquet made with 2,000 roses. Now that must have blown away his fianc, says Karuturi with a guffaw. Much in the same way as he has ridden over competition from around the world and come up trumps.I got my largest order in 2006 from Tesco. Since then, all the partnerships with the retail chains have endured.

2)Company:OK Play India Ltd
Entrepreneur:Rajan Handa

Story:The story of Rajan Handa, 48, is cast in plastic. From Aquapure Containers, a company he founded two decades ago to manufacture water tanks, to OK Play in 1993, Handa's been a visionary in the plastic utilities space. Be it the high-capacity bus seats in Delhi, signage or the ubiquitous phone booth, Handa is fantastic with plastic.So when Handa acquired UK-based OK Play in 1992, he had his task cut out-replace wood and metal with plastic. Today, with clients like Reliance, Airtel, Sony Ericsson and JCB in his kitty, the Rs 50-crore OK Play is poised to double its turnover next year.Handa's first venture, Aquapure Containers Ltd., was into plain-vanilla water tanks. At 22, with Rs 2 lakh from his father, he dove right in to a business where rotational moulding (of plastic) was the key. However, overhead water storage tanks, and that too made of plastic, were a low-margin game, and his business turned topsy-turvy."The market was not right for the product that we were manufacturing then and there was no awareness. I was in a Catch-22 situation-whether to earn money and invest in marketing and promotion, or to promote the company and get publicity for more orders," elaborates Handa.The entrepreneur's experience in rotomoulding saw him through the patchy phase when he acquired the OK Play and decided to play on in India the subsequent year. But the range of existing OK Play products were definitely ahead of their time. Things like plastic signages and plastic phone booths were akin to Tofflerian futurology in the-still-coming-to-terms-with-IT India.So Handa's vision was met with a dampener in 1999 when his company went into the notorious Bureau of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) list of the country's several red herrings.A strife-torn career and with little to lose, like many more discerning first-generation businessmen, Handa looked homeward for succour."My family members, friends, employees and other institutions with whom we had tied up, supported me. I think my ideas didn't work then because they were ahead of the times," confesses Handa. But then, India too was changing. With a bursting population and burgeoning GDP, demand was peaking. Plastic substitutes were a need of the hour and it was eventually time for OK Play to play.With over 16 years of experience in rotational plastic moulding, Handa struck back with variations on his plastic theme-moulded plastic signage, plastic telephone booths, roto-moulded bus seats and roto-moulded fuel tanks, for instance.The going, however, was not easy. finally, in 2001, the market took OK Play seriously for the first time. The company's foray into newer product lines paid off. Today, it is the largest manufacturer of moulded plastic products in the country with an extensive distribution network. "One thing that we always followed was not to compromise on quality. Today, the market abounds in cheap copies of the original," rues Handa.The company also has a role to play in social uplift. It bagged an order from the Haryana government last year to manufacture and distribute 150 tanks a day to people below the poverty line. Then, it has also chipped in for UNICEF during the 2004 tsunami by providing moulded plastic school tables and chairs to the affected areas.Today, the company offers a range of over 150 moulded plastic products catering to toys, playground equipment, children furniture, automobile parts, points of purchase materials, signage and water storage tank, among others. OK Play has recently formed an alliance with the US-based Solar Plastics Inc. to augment technical capabilities and offer high-quality products in the automotive sector.Considering the significant demand, Handa is now on expansion mode and is planning an investment of Rs 70 crore by setting up manufacturing facilities in Bawal, Haryana, for which the Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) has allotted 15 acres of industrial land. The company has also been allotted five acres of industrial land by SIPCOT in Ranipet, Tamil Nadu, for setting up a manufacturing unit.

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