I've studied commerce at St. Xavier's College, Calcutta. Finance and research is where my calling is. I find it it fascinating. The strategies of companies, people behind them, the innovative ideas, political turmoil and the associated history is something which captivates me.
I met Anjan Chatterjee, founder and owner of Speciality Restaurants Ltd. on his home turf. Mainland China is his flagship chain with 32 outlets now. The meeting was a couple of weeks before his company’s IPO hit the market. Though the agenda for our meeting was not fund raising, the conversation veered to the IPO towards the end of our chat. I asked him how things were holding up, as it was almost a year since Speciality had filed their Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP). Chatterjee pointed out to the weak market and said the wait would soon end. He seemed quite confident of being able to carry it off, even though many others were faltering.
Well, turns out his confidence was justified. Since its listing On May 30, the Speciality Restaurants Stock (NSE: SRL) has gone up by almost 50%. That’s a phenomenal rise in a falling market. This certainly is not the best time for IPOs as Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri, Mumbai's marquee jeweller found. Their IPO was barely subscribed and scraped through on the last day and trades below its listing price. Another company, Samvardhana Motherson, an auto component manufacturer, had to cancel its Rs 1,665 crore IPO because it failed to attract the requisite number of investors. For SRL to have done exceptionally well in such conditions, speaks volumes not just about the company, but also investor appetite for stocks that play on India's consumption space. Of course, no one has proved this as convincingly as Jubilant Foodworks, the owner of the Dominos Pizza franchise. In over two years that the stock has been listed, it has multiplied 7.5 times. It seems that SRL is headed the same way. Even though it was at one time the leading fine-dining restaurant chain in India, it has since relinquished its position to Blue Foods now the biggest fine-diner in the country. SRL, though, has a plethora of good brands like Mainland China, Sigree, Oh! Calcutta, Sweet Bengal, Machaan that can be scaled up to drive profitability in the future. “Every growth is possible, profitable growth is more important,” says Chatterjee. Well, you can't question that- the man has clearly proven his chops.