Karuturi Global Limited (KGL) BSE Code: 531687 NSE Id: KGL
CMP (BSE): Rs. 4.5
Karuturi Global was incorporated in 1994 and today it is a world leader in production of cut roses with operations spread across Ethiopia, Kenya and India. With an area of over 239 hectares under Greenhouse cultivation, they annually produce around 555 million stems of quality cut roses, essentially for exports to high-value markets such as Europe, Middle East, Far East, Australia, New Zealand and the US.
CMP (NSE): Rs. 4.5
Industry - Agricultural Products
More food will have to be produced worldwide over the next 50 years than has been during the past 10000 years combined.
In an interview, Warren Buffet said that he would rather have all the farmland in the US than all the gold the world has ever produced. This is simple logic- when hunger strikes, we crave for food and not gold.
More than crude, the more enduring challenge would be how to feed the world population which is set to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. This will require a 70% increase in food production. Not that the world does not produce enough food for 7 billion people, it does. But the problem arises due to the poor infrastructure due to which about 30-35% of fruits and vegetables are destroyed in transit. Thus with such massive challenge in front of us, it is the time to concentrate on AGRICULTURE. Karuturi Global is one such Indian company that has identified agribusiness as its prime growth domain.
After identifying agribusiness as the next prime growth domain, they have taken up cultivation in Ethiopia on a mega scale to become a key player in the global agro-products market. They have acquired around 7.65 lakh acres of land in Ethiopia and they aspire to become a complete agriculture production company. Their goal is to make a significant contribution to alleviate the global and african food crisis. Their other business interests include food processing, floriculture retailing and information technology.
The demand- supply situation is tightening and this could put the world in a very delicate situation since demand is soon expected to outstrip the supply. It is not that the world does not produce enough food for 7 billion people. It definitely does. However there is a lot of wastage due to poor infrastructure and inadequate facilities.
So now Karuturi Global's goal is to alleviate the global food crisis, and the aim is to become a complete agriculture production company with global presence. Thus in the 1st phase, they are cultivating cereals (maize and rice) on the 70000 hectares of land and oil palm on the 20000 hectares land of the total 311000 hectares of land that they have acquired on a lease basis in Ethiopia.
Maize is considered to be the third most important cereal grain in the world after wheat and rice. In developed countries, maize is consumed mainly as second-cycle produce, in the form of meat, eggs and dairy products. In developing countries, maize is consumed directly and serves as staple diet for some 200 million people. Most people regard maize as a breakfast cereal. However, in a processed form it is also found as fuel (ethanol) and starch.Global demand for maize to increase by 45% - Global cereal demand in 2020 is estimated at 2.1 billion MT and will show a major shift in the favor of maize with demand estimated at 852 million. This reflects a substantial growth of 72% for maize in developing countries.
Floriculture has witnessed significant growth in the past few decades, and has today matured into a dynamic, global and fast-developing industry. While the developed world viz., the EU, the U.S. and Japan, continues to account for two-thirds of the world market for cut flowers, developing countries situated along the equatorial line have now emerged as major producers and exporters. The main drivers for this paradigm shift are favourable climatic conditions for cultivation, and lower production and labour costs.The floriculture industry has been blooming at a healthy 11-13% over the past few years and is expected to maintain its growth momentum. And, Karuturi Global, the world’s largest, multi-location producer and exporter of quality cut roses, aims to spearhead this growth and consolidate its position in the global market. They have identified two African nations0 Ethiopia and Kenya for developing their production base. Their distribution network includes auctions (for about 55%) and the remaining 45% is distributed directly to wholesalers and retailers.
They even have their own retail initiative in India called 'Flower Xpress', which aims at revolutionise marketing of flowers directly to the end-users. Under this initiative they have a total of 22 shop in shops and stand alone outlets located at highly accessible and strategic locations in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai. Along with this it has also picked up 54% stake in Mumbai based Florista. Florista has chains of floral designing boutique stores spread across India. It speacializes in designing exquisite flower arrangement and decorations made from exotic flowers imported from across the world. It currently has 15 retail boutique stores in India and has a strong network. Karuturi is planning to merge its retail operations carried under the brand name 'Flower Xpress' with Florista. This will result in consolidation of KGL's retail presence. The main aim is to tap the potential of the modern retail, improving visibility and branding and to become the largest retailer in the floriculture space in India, Thus with this aim, KGL intends to aggressively grow the retail network in India to over 100 stores in 2 years.
After setting a firm footing in floriculture, Karuturi Global commenced its onward journey. The goal now is to alleviate the global food crisis, and the aim, to become a complete agriculture production company with global presence. They identified Ethiopia as a land of opportunities, especially for agro-based businesses. A stable political and macroeconomic system, suitable climatic conditions, abundant availability of low cost, favourble investment climate, disciplined and productive work force, and above all, easy access to the African market are some of the key factors favouring Ethiopia.
They acquired 311,000 hectares of land on lease hold basis from Ethiopian Government in Baka and Gambela region in Ethiopia. They intend to cultivate short, medium and long gestation crops. In the first phase they intend to cultivate cereal crops (rice and maize) on 70,000 hectares and oil palm on 20,000 hectares.
(3) Food Processing:
They have set up a food processing plant with an installed capacity of 6,000 tonnes per annum at Tumkur, located about 85 kms from Bangalore. At this facility, they have taken up bulk processing and bottling of gherkins (baby cucumbers), essentially for exports to Europe and the U.S. Depending on the type of pickles prepared in sweet or sour tastes, they are bottled and preserved in acetic acid, vinegar or brine medium. Encouraged by the promising response to the food processing business, they have initiated steps to take up bottling and exports of other vegetables such as raddish, beetroot, carrot, baby corn, jalapenos and green ball peppers. The produce for their food processing plant is currently procured from farmers under a contract farming model. To supplement this, they intend to acquire around 200 acres (approximately 81 hectares) of land near Mysore for cultivation of gherkins and other vegetables.
(4) IT Business:
Their highly-profitable IT business division is growing at rapid pace. They have obtained a Category-A licence for Karnataka state and have been a prominent internet services provider (ISP) to large MNCs and medium-sized companies, and their R&D centres in and around Bangalore. Given the thrust for broadband penetration in India, they have entered the consumer broadband business. They have tied up with cable operators in five cities of Karnataka to provide last mile access.
Their business has been showing remarkable progress, growing at 30-50% over the past few years. To expedite their expansion, they are adopting the inorganic route. They have taken over Estel Communications, an ISP with pan-India presence, robust network and excellent client-base. They are also toying with the idea of acquiring other B-category ISPs in South India. In the times to come, Karuturi Global aims to develop the plug and play broadband service products, which will substantially augment revenue flow.
KGL has an equity of Rs. 56.08 cr and reserves of approx Rs. 719.69 cr. It has a total debt of around Rs. 439.72 cr. Its debt equity ratio comes to about 0.6. Its book value stands at Rs.13.83 which means the stock is currently available at a discount at just 0.9 times the book value. On a consolidated basis, it earned a total of Rs. 3.03 per share which is currently available at around Rs. 12.5. Thus the PE for KGL stands at just 4, which therefore makes KGL very attractive for investments at current levels.
KGL's 52 week high and low are Rs.38.70 and Rs. 10.49 respectively. Its touched its 52 week high on 21st Oct last year. However now it has come down loosing almost 70% in span of just few months. The reason behind this is supposedly thought to be SPECULATION. However, people with long term view in their mind can have a look at KGL. Although it seems risky, owing to the speculation, the business prospect seems much more promising to me. So someone who is ready to take on the risk can look at KGL. Depending on ones risk tolerance, investment in KGL should be viewed.