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For other uses, see Emami (disambiguation).
Emami Limited
Public Ltd Company
Industry FMCG
Founded 1974
Founder R S Agarwal
R S Goenka , Amit FMS and 50 others.
Headquarters Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Key people
R S Agarwal
R S Goenka (sales incharge) and 70 others.
Products Hair care, skin creams, soaps and lotions, talcum powder, Ayurvedic health care products
Website emamiltd.in

Emami Limited is an Indian producer of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), such as cosmetics and health and baby products. The company is based in Kolkata.


The company is well known in India for its fairness cream products for men.[1]

In 2008 the company announced that it intended to offer baby care products.[2]

The company's health products unit offers tonics for colds and coughs as well as nutraceuticals.[3]

The company forayed into men's deodrant market by launching HE brand of deodrants. Hrithik Roshan was appointed as brand ambassador for HE brand. .[4]


The company has the following subsidiaries:[5]

  • 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, R S Agarwal and 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.

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 1983 Bollywood film Agar Tum Na Hote, one of the earliest brand placement campaigns was achieved with lead actor Rajesh Khanna playing the managing director of Emami.

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 5 million 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. 3 billion followed by Boroplus at Rs. 2.50 billion and Fairness at Rs. 1 billion. 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 5.16 billion 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 7 billion. 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. 10 billion Emami Ltd under the Rs. 30 billion 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.


Fair and Handsome[edit]

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.[1]

In July 2013, WOW a Chennai based NGO launched a campaign against Emami asking them to remove the Fair and Handsome advertisement starring Khan, saying that it is discriminating against people on the basis of skin color.[6][7] The campaign has been supported by celebrities like Nandita Das[8] Tannishta Chatterjee. More than 22,000 people have signed an online petition launched by them.[9]

Hospital fire[edit]

On 9 December 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 AMRI 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.[10]


  1. ^ a b India's hue and cry over paler skin, Daily Telegraph, 1 July 2007
  2. ^ "Emami to enter baby care products". The Hindu Business Line. 1 August 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Golikeri, Priyanka (24 May 2008). "Nutraceuticals make it to the grocery shopping list". DNA MONEY. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/emami-enters-deodorant-market/article6097488.ece.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "About Us". Emami Limited. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  6. ^ [1], DNA, 31 July 2013
  7. ^ [2] The Atlantic, 5 August 2013
  8. ^ [3], The Guardian, 14 August 2013
  9. ^ [4], Business Standard, 14 November 2013
  10. ^ [5], Economic Times, 10 December 2011

External links[edit]