Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

K.P. Ramasamy: Playing the long game in garment exports

K.P.R. Mill churns out 128 million garments annually—from sportswear to sleepwear—that end up on the clothes racks of international retailers such as H&M, Marks & Spencer and Walmart

Published: Oct 19, 2023 06:10:24 PM IST
Updated: Oct 20, 2023 05:25:54 PM IST

K.P. Ramasamy: Playing the long game in garment exports K.P. Ramasamy, Founder and Chairman of KPR Group Image: Courtesy KPR MIlls

From the southern Indian city of Coimbatore, K.P.R. Mill churns out 128 million garments annually—from sportswear to sleepwear—that end up on the clothes racks of international retailers such as H&M, Marks & Spencer and Walmart.

The BSE-listed company draws its name from its founder and chairman K.P. Ramasamy, who makes his debut among India’s richest this year at No. 100 with a net worth of $2.3 billion.

Shares of K.P.R. were up by a third in the past year thanks to a 28% uptick in revenue to 62.5 billion rupees ($750.8 million) for the year ended March 31. The company also produces yarn, textiles and sugar but is betting big on garment exports. Two years ago it opened a new factory with the capacity to produce 42 million knitted garments annually. This strategy “is paying rich dividends in terms of robust revenue growth, stable margins, and superior efficiency ratios,” noted research analysts Vikas Jain and Avinash Karumanchi at Mumbai-based Equirus Securities in a March report.

Also read: Landmark Group, now with Renuka Jagtiani at the helm, is in expansion mode

The global textile market is expected to grow to $755 billion by 2027 from $611 billion currently, according to London-based market research outfit Business Research Company. The Indian government’s renewed thrust on boosting garment exports should unlock huge growth potential for K.P.R., according to Harsh Sheth, research analyst at Mumbai-based HDFC Securities. “We believe K.P.R. is a long-term play on

India’s textiles exports theme,” wrote Sheth in an August report. Ramasamy, 74, who grew up in an agricultural family, founded K.P.R. Mill in 1984. He expanded into sugar production in 2013 and started selling Faso, a men’s innerwear brand in 2019. The company, run by Ramasamy and his two brothers, employs 30,000 people, of which 90% are women.

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