We are seeing a continuing slowdown in the Indian economy but has the Godrej Group been able to achieve what you had targeted to achieve?
Yes, by and large we have achieved our targets. Of course, in the last 12 months or so, we have faced a slowdown in the economy and so growth is not as well as one would have expected.
You have been quite optimistic on the reforms brought about by the government. There was nothing much, however, on the real estate space, especially in budget 2020. What is the on-ground difference you have witnessed in the reforms?
Some of these reforms have gone well, some do not seem to have taken effect. I think GST was a good reform and GST should help the economy in the long run. But our real estate business continues to do well. We are not dependent on government reforms and even under the present circumstances, we will continue to do well. The last two years have been record years for Godrej Properties.
Godrej Consumer is in the business of premium, discretionary products. How have you seen the Indian consumer change choices especially amidst the fact that the consumption environment is a bit weak?
Yes there is a little pressure. People’s purchasing power has come down somewhat and that has affected their buying propensity. This may continue until the general economic situation improves completely.
Do you think Indian chemical companies are being regarded as more competent than before? What is the opportunity there and what can we expect from your own chemicals business?
Our chemicals business is doing well. We have good growth, good profitability and we expect it to continue to do well.
There is also the extended monsoon, the delayed sowing and that does impact the sales and profitability during the quarter. What do you think will drive growth more than in the coming quarters?
We have some monsoon related problems. The agricultural sector was affected but now we expect a very good rabi crop. That will mean a turnaround in the agri sector. We expect Godrej Agrovet to do very well in the quarters to follow.
At what stage of the cycle are we right now? How many quarters more when meaningful revival in growth happens in our economy?
It will take two or three quarters. Some parts of the economy might revive earlier and some a little later but overall two or three quarters. I expect 2021 to be much better overall than 2019-20.
We have also got the coronavirus outbreak. What will be the impact on the Godrej Group of companies? What us the impact on the economy as a whole as per your assessment?
That is very difficult to predict from the economy point of view. But generally I think there would not be much effect on India. India may even benefit in certain cases. We as a company are not dependent on imports from China and so we do not expect to be affected much by the coronavirus situation. This could even be an opportunity in certain cases because China will be unable to supply some of the products and India could take its place.