Our Bureau

Mumbai, Feb. 3

VENKYS Pet, a division of the Venkateshwara Hatcheries group, has announced an investment of Rs 15 crore in its pet food manufacturing plant and research centre for companion animal nutrition.

Focusing on the top segment of dog and cat foods in terms of quality, the new investment will be aimed at getting new technologies for quality production of pet food for the Indian market.

This will be the first plant in India producing pet food in the premium range. The company said that it plans to add capacity at its pet food manufacturing plant at Morwadi, near Pune.

The capacity addition is to the tune of 10,000 tonnes, said Mr O.P. Singh, CEO, Venkateshwara group.

Bolstered by the 26-27 per cent growth in the pet foods category, the group has decided to spin off Venkys Pet as a separate entity.

The capacity additions would also help it drive overall turnover higher and specifically that of the animal foods segment; the other segment is animal health, in which it has 7-8 brands.

"With this capacity addition, the foods segment would contribute as much as 60-70 per cent of the revenue," said Mr Singh.

The facility would be operational by June 2006, he added.

Venkys Pet is also focusing on nutrition research. According to Mr Singh, there are nutritional gaps in the diet of companion animals such as dogs and cats.

There are 12 million dogs and three million cats under domestic care. "They live on household food. They need a full diet. Often hygiene is an issue when it comes to cooked food. We have products for various age groups and needs of animals," Mr Singh said.

Relying on its nutritional research, Venkys Pet has been designing foods for animals in varying age groups.

In the second phase of expansion, Venkys Pet would look at food for other companion animals including rabbits and parrots.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 4, 2006)
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