With growth clocking in at Rs 11,000 crore, Arvind has emerged a power brand. Sanjay Lalbhai at the helm, manages his empire with two sons – Punit and Kulin. With an aim to take it forward, he plans to focus on technical textiles, customised retail solutions among others. For senior Lalbhai, GST has been good for compliant players. The unorganised sector, till the advent of GST, has had the bigger market share in entire $80-billion textiles space. So, the organised sector would be 15 per cent, while the unorganised would be 85 per cent. Now this is being rewritten. Once GST is enforced and all loopholes plugged – the industry will dramatically change.
He feels, the second-biggest change the industry has witnessed is bankruptcy code. All small and some large organised players who were evergreening their loans, taking advantage of the subsidies dished out to the industry and really misusing those are getting weeded out. They are going into insolvency and will be liquidated. The genuine, honest players will come into play now, which is exciting and a positive sign.
Growing expanse of technical textiles
Lalbhai is upbeat about technical textile space and particularly the India growth story. Protective clothing, for example, will now become mandatory if you are working in a steel plant or a refinery. You will have to wear protective clothing for fire and other hazards you will face. In defense, you will have to wear bullet proof. With Indian economy developing, specialised textiles will be required for all sorts of applications, from industrial end-use to medical, to roads, to new materials like composites which are going to be used for aerospace or automobiles to low cost, non-corrosive housing, etc. It is growing very rapidly. Lalbhai intends to build it as an IPR-led business, with many collaborations, unique materials, through R&D, a lot of patented processes, products and services.
Arvind is a truly diversified company today having technical textile as the New Age solutions business. For Lalbhai, it is about creating intellectual property rights and solutions or about building more conventional factories, assets, etc. It is at the cutting-edge of solving problems or inventing new things. He spends time in inventing things rather than managing because his businesses are run well by professional managers. For instance, when he sees an opportunity to use indigo on every consumable medium in the world from marble to nylon to leather to wood, it's never been done before and someone has to make a statement. But at the same time, it’s just a thought and not backed by reality. But he firmly believes that everything starts when the thought comes. You have to think and you have to have the courage to think without inhibitions.