|Type||Public Ltd Company|
|Founder(s)||R. S. Agarwal
R. S. Goenka
|Headquarters||Kolkata, West Bengal, India|
|Key people||R. S. Agarwal
R. S. Goenka (joint chairmen)
|Products||Hair care, skin creams, soaps and lotions, talcum powder, Ayurvedic health care products|
|Revenue||Rs 1400 crores (2011–12)|
In 2008 the company announced that it intended to offer baby care products.
The company has the following subsidiaries:
- Emami Paper Mills Limited
- Emami Chisel Art
- CRI Limited
- South City Projects (Kolkata) Ltd
- Advanced Medicare & Research Institute Ltd (AMRI)
- Frank Ross Limited
- Emami Realty Limited
- Emami Retail Pvt Limited (Starmark)
- Emami Biotech Limited
- Emami Cement Ltd
- AMRI Hospitals
The inception of Emami Group took place in the mid 1970s when two childhood friends, Mr. R.S. Agarwal and Mr. R.S. Goenka, left their management jobs with the Birla Group to set up Kemco Chemicals, an Ayurvedic medicine and cosmetic manufacturing unit in Kolkata in 1974. At that time the Indian FMCG market was still dominated by multinationals. Several such companies headquartered in Kolkata were considering shifting out of West Bengal due to labor unrest and political problems.
The company was established with modest capital of Rs. 20,000 and started manufacturing cosmetic products as well as Ayurvedic medicines under the brand name of Emami from a small factory in Kolkata, targeting sales at the Indian middle class.
In the early days the founders personally sold their cosmetics from shop to shop, using hand-pulled rickshaws. They soon established recurring consumer demand, and gradually hired additional staff. A chain of distributors was established and the sale of Emami products spread from West Bengal to rest of Eastern India and gradually to other states. Emami Talcum, Emami Vanishing Cream and Emami Cold Cream sold well. The company's marketing techniques were to sell dreams of beauty to Indian women using radio and TV advertising.
In 1978, Agarwal acquired Himani Ltd, a privately owned cosmetics company with a factory in Kolkata. The business of Himani was almost 100 years old, although it had only been incorporated in 1949 company; it had a good brand equity in Eastern India, but was in financial trouble. Agarwal and Goenka managed to restore it to profit, at considerable risk considering the small capital base of their own company at the time; this later proved to be the turning point for their business.
Agarwal decided to produce health care items and toiletries based on Ayurvedic preparation in the Himani factory. Ten years after commencement of the company, it launched Boroplus Antiseptic Cream under the Himani umbrella in 1984. This became a flagship brand and was extended to other products such as Boroplus Prickly Heat Powder. Emami brands started selling in all states of North, East and West India. Today Boroplus is not only the largest selling antiseptic cream in India but also in Russia, Ukraine, and Nepal.
In the 1990s, Emami launches another flagship brand under the Himani Umbrella, Navratna Cool Oil, and expanded production by opening its second factory, at Pondicherry.
The introduction of new brands continued and the company extended its distribution network to South India, with Navratna spearheading the process. In 1995, the partnership firm Kemco Chemicals was converted into a Public Limited Company under the name Emami Ltd. In 1998, Himani Ltd was merged into Emami Ltd.
In 2000, with a view to concentrate on its core FMCG business, Emami's investment undertaking was demerged by issuing shares in Pan Emami Cosmed Ltd to shareholders of Emami. In 2003 a new factory unit was set up at Amingaon, Guwahati. A public issue of 50 lakhs equity shares at Rs.70 followed in 2005. The issue was oversubscribed by 36 times. The share price later rose to Rs.210.
In 2005 Emami launched Fair and Handsome, the first fairness cream for men.
In 2006 the company decided to introduce a Health Care Division and a number of new brands of Ayurvedic OTC medicines.
Among the brands created by the company, annual sales of Navratna are at Rs.300 crore followed by Boroplus at Rs.250 crore and Fairness at Rs.100 crore. Sona Chandi Chyawanprash, Menthoplus and Fast Relief also among the top brands in their respective categories.
In 2006, J B Marketing & Finance Ltd., the erstwhile marketing company of the Emami Group merged with Emami Ltd. and the total turnover of Emami including sales in domestic and export market stood at Rs 516 crores at the end of the fiscal year 2006-07.
Emami Limited acquired a major stake in Zandu Pharmaceuticals Works Ltd, a century-old household name in India, for Rs 700 crore. Emami added some of Zandu's prominent brands like Zandu Balm, Zandu Chyawanprash, Zandu Kesri Jeevan, Zandu Pancharishta, Sudarshan and Nityam Churna to its own range.
Within three decades, the company has grown to Rs. 1000 crore Emami Ltd under the Rs.3000 crore Emami Group.
Emami is still led by Agarwal and Goenka, with the help of second generation directors from their two families and professional staff. The group recently moved to a new corporate office “Emami Tower” in Kolkata.
In 2007, the company attracted controversy with an advertisement for its skin whitening cream for men, Fair and Handsome. Emami and the star of the campaign, Shahrukh Khan, were accused of perpetuating racism.
On December 9, 2011, Kolkata police arrested Agarwal and Goenka, founders of Emami and directors of AMRI Hospitals, for negligently causing death to 91 people as a result of a fire at ARMI Hospitals on the same day. It is recorded as the largest hospital tragedy in India, caused due to storing toxic and inflammable materials in the basement of the hospital, which was sanctioned for car-parking. The fire alarms and sprinklers installed at the hospital did not work during the fire.
In July 2013, WOW a Chennai based NGO launched a campaign against Emami asking them to remove the Fair and Handsome advertisement starring Shahrukh Khan, saying that it is discriminating people on the basis of skin color. The campaign has been supported by celebrities like Nandita Das Tannishta Chatterjee. More than 22,000 people have signed an online petition launched by them.
- "Emami to enter baby care products". The Hindu Business Line. August 1, 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- Golikeri, Priyanka (2008-05-24). "Nutraceuticals make it to the grocery shopping list". DNA MONEY. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- "About Us". Emami Limited. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
- India's hue and cry over paler skin, Daily Telegraph, 1 Jul 2007
- , Economic Times, 10 Dec 2011
- , DNA, 31 July 2013
-  The Atlantic, 5th Aug 2013
- , The Guardian, 14 Aug 2013
- , Business Standard, 14 Nov 2013