Interview with the Man behind first SME company from J&K to tap the stock market

The city of Jammu is an important trading center in the northern part of our country. However, even after repeated attempts by the government and the people of the area, the manufacturing industry in the region has not flourished and has remained confined to a few pockets. Against this backdrop the news of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) by Sarveshwar Foods Limited is heartening for the entire region of Jammu in general and the aspiring entrepreneurs of the area in particular. Our team met with Rohit Gupta, Managing Director, Sarveshwar Foods Limited for a brief chat. He is a commerce graduate and currently aged 48, has been instrumental in the setting up of Sarveshwar Foods Limited and its modernisation. Some of the excerpts from our conversation have been produced below.

Team Jammu Virasat (JV) – Please tell us a little about Sarveshwar Foods Limited. I mean how the journey has been like for the company till date and about the people who set up this company.

Sarveshwar Foods Ltd (SFL) –  Our Company was originally incorporated as a private limited company in 2004 and was converted to a public limited company in 2015. I have carried forward the legacy of the family which has been associated with the Rice business for several decades. The company during FY 2017 had sales of around Rs 420 crores with exports of around Rs 44 crores.  The company received the ‘Best Industry Award’ under the previous dispensation. As of November 30, 2017, we had 57 full-time employees and 89 people working as contract labourers. We adhere to a policy of nurturing dedicated talent by conducting regular training programmes.

Rohit Gupta, MD Sarveshwar Foods Limited Jammu Rice Interview
Rohit Gupta, MD Sarveshwar Foods Limited

JV – What are the major markets of the company and what is the process involved in the production of rice? Does it involve any special machinery?

SFL – Fortunately the Jammu region is home to the world famous naturally aromatic variety of rice which we know as Basmati. In addition long grain paddy variety called 1121 along with other variants of paddy are also sourced from Punjab and Haryana for use in the production of rice. The paddy procured then through the usage of specialised machinery is converted to Rice. Our fully automated plants use imported Rice Milling machinery sourced from Buhler Plc of United Kingdom in addition to the polishing, Colour Sorting, Grading and Packaging machinery. The company operates three plants across two facilities in Seora, Bishnah and in Sidco, Bari Brahmana with cumulative capacity of 19 Tonnes per hour. The Brands under which we sell our Basmati and Non-Basmati rice are “Sarveshwar Select“; “Sarveshwar Unique“; “Sarveshwar Ultra XL“; “Sarveshwar Magic” and “Sarveshwar Delight. Sarveshwar Rice under these brands is sold across the country and overseas.

 JV – What is the business philosophy of the company.

SFL – At Sarveshwar, the Himalayas are at the centre of our philosophy and our work. The tenets of karma and a satvic lifestyle drive all our efforts.The concept of karma says that all our actions have theirconsequences — what goes around comes around.When we mean well and do good, we are rewarded with happiness, peace and contentment.And so, we try our best to be conscious of our thoughts and actions towards everyone we connect with — our farmers, employees, consumers, guests, and their families.

This is our philosophy of 360° good karma — the best intentions in every direction.We believe that this idea is embodied through a satvic lifestyle, a conscious choice to be spiritual, live healthy,and help others, typical of the majestic mountains we call
our home. When you consume Sarveshwar foods, you consume satvic produce — food that has been grown as nature intended it, using the best traditions of centuries old farming, with the utmost respect for the grain.

Our farmers have been part of the Sarveshwar family for generations, and we have grown together by bringing to your table the finest produce from the lap of the Himalayas, grown in the mineral rich soils of the Jammu region and nurtured by the snow melted waters of the River Chenab.

JV – Why did the company come out with an Initial Public Offering (IPO)?

SFL -Objects of the Issue is to Part finance our long term working capital requirement, Invest in subsidiary i.e Himalayan Bio Organic Foods Private Limited and for General Corporate Purpose.
Read also: Sarveshwar Foods From Jammu will be First private sector Company of the Jammu & Kashmir to hit market with an IPO

JV – What was the total size of the IPO and the details of its subscription (Oversubscribed to the extent and the share of retail subscription)?

SFL– The IPO which was open from March 5 to March 7, 2018 aimed to raise Rs 54.97 crore from the general public at an issue price of Rs 83 to Rs 85 per share. The response to the IPO was very good and it was subscribed 1.56 times. With the issue of shares to the general public, the shareholding of the promoters has reduced to 73.67% with the general public holding the remainder of the company.

JV – Thanks for your time. We hope that this IPO by a Jammu based company will prove to be a cornerstone for the industry in the area and it inspires others to follow suit.

SFL – The pleasure is all ours.