With Indian footwear export eyeing a healthy growth, shoe testing companies seem to be a beneficial lot, thanks to stricter norms imposed by the developed markets, to curb use of hazardous chemicals.

India exported Rs 22,000 crore (approximately $4.4 billion at current exchange) worth of footwear in 2010-11. According to a recent study by Assocham, exports are slated to zoom by 70 per cent to Rs 37,000 crore ($7.4 billion).

As the developed world, especially Europe, is imposing increasingly stringent norms on the usage of hazardous chemicals, footwear exports are reportedly asked to undergo an ever-increasing list of tests to identify “Substances of Very High Concern” (SVHC).

According to Mr Dilip Gianchandani, Regional Director, Consumer Goods, Intertek India – a testing solution provider – the average number of SVHC tests prescribed by European Union, for shoes imports, has gone up from 53 to 73 in last one month.

The stringent monitoring by the importing nations, is telling on the expanding client list of Intertek, having its shoe-testing facility at Kanpur. Having started its India operations with 30 plus clients in 2009, the company now has a portfolio of nearly 200 customers.

“We are looking forward to approximately 20 per cent growth in business to nearly Rs 234 crore in 2011-12,” said Mr Gianchandani. Nearly four-fifth of the revenue is expected to be generated out of EU bound exports.

Mr D. Salai Maraan, Executive Director, Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), a testing house under the Union Commerce Ministry, confirms the boom in testing business. “A lot of private players are entering the segment (along with government institutions) to tap the lucrative market of footwear testing,” he said.

Chennai-based SGS Consumer Testing Services is looking at nearly Rs 400 crore turnover during the fiscal, said Mr P. Venkatesan, Manager, business development. He, however, did not declare his present business value.

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 19, 2012)
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