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29 February 2024

India's ITC plans entry into UAE, GCC markets

Billion is the market capitalisation of the Indian Tobacco Company, or the ITC. (REUTERS)

By VM Sathish

ITC, one of India's leading private sector conglomerate, is planning to enter the UAE and GCC food markets through a partnership with the Al Seer Group of the UAE.

ITC, with a turnover exceeding $5 billion (Dh18.3bn) and market capitalisation of $19bn, is participating for the first time in the Gulfood exhibition. The firm has displayed a number of its confectionery products in Dubai World Trade Centre.

"We are currently not marketing any of our food products in the UAE but we plan to enter the market in a big way. There is an alliance with the Al Seer Group to distribute our confectionery products in the market," said a company source.

ITC, rated among the world's best big companies and among the top 10 brands in India, has a strong foods division supplying packaged foods, including packaged food staples, snacks, confectionery and biscuits.

The company has been diversifying its business from tobacco manufacturing to food and biscuit.

The ITC group has diversified presence in various businesses including packaged foods, consumer goods, hotels, information technology, branded apparel and agri business. The company forayed into the branded biscuits market in India in 2003 with a brand, Sunfeast. Since then many new variants of the brand have been launched in the Indian market.

The products that it plans to market in the UAE and GCC include Sunfeast wheat biscuits, cream biscuits, cookies, tea biscuits and crackers.

Other food products that the Indian company intends to market in the UAE include Candyman Minto for children, Minto for adults, Candyman Eclairs, Minto Cough lozenges, chews etc.

The firm has managed to capture nearly 10 per cent of the Indian biscuit market and the overseas expansion seems to be part of its aggressive marketing plans.The company officials attending Gulfood were tight lipped about their plans in the GCC market.

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