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Indian candles light up US homes

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Primacy Industries is supplying perfumed wax candles to major retailers

`LIGHT'ING JOB: Women making jar candles for the US market at Primacy Industries in Mangalore.
`LIGHT'ING JOB: Women making jar candles for the US market at Primacy Industries in Mangalore.

A.J. Vinayak

Mangalore, July 16

Did you know that the US a major candle market in the world - is sourcing perfumed wax candles from India? A one-year-old Mangalore-based company is supplying nearly 60 containers of perfumed wax candles to the US market every month.

Primacy Industries Private Ltd, a joint venture between the Manipal Primacy and the Charleston-based MVP Group, is supplying perfumed wax candles to the most of the major retailers in the US.

The Chairman of the Primacy Industries Pvt Ltd, Mr T. Gautham S. Pai, told

Business Line

that the retail sales of candles in the US market are estimated at around $7 billion, and growing by 30 per cent every year.

Offering employment

"I had some friends in America who were in this business. I thought it is a good opportunity to invest in this as we have a port here. It is also a good business to help boost economy of this place, providing employment in the region. That is how it started," he said.

Nearly, 900 people work in the candle-manufacturing unit in Mangalore, which began its operations last July.

Of the total workforce, nearly 40 per cent are women.

The stakeholders in Primacy have invested around Rs 35 crore in the project. The unit did a turnover of around Rs 40 crore last fiscal.

It may be mentioned here that the New Mangalore port exported 5,818 tonnes of perfumed wax candles during 2005-06.

The port handled 484 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of wax candle containers during the period. Wax candle was a new export cargo for the port in the last fiscal.

Highly skilled

Production of perfumed candles is a highly labour-oriented and skill-based work. It requires the selection of appropriate colour, aroma and shape to meet the needs of customers. Consumers in the US use candles as a focal point for their home decor and for aromatherapy. Candles of various sizes, shapes and aromas are manufactured in the Mangalore unit.

Asked about the entry into the other overseas markets, Mr Pai said there are plans to enter the Europe and the Australian markets during the year.

DOMESTIC MARKET

The retail boom in the country seems to have made the company to focus on domestic market also. "Right now, the market is very small but it will definitely grow up in the next three years, as more retail stores are coming up," Mr Pai said.

Considering this, the company is planning to launch the candles in the domestic market by Diwali. Stating that the company is yet to decide on the brand name for the Indian launch, he said an agency is working on it.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 17, 2006)
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