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|Industry||Fast-moving consumer goods|
|Headquarters||Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India|
|Karsanbhai Patel (CMD)|
|Products||Nirma detergent, Nima soaps|
Number of employees
Nirma is a group of companies based in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India that manufactures products ranging from cosmetics, soaps, detergents, salt, soda ash, LAB and Injectables. Karsanbhai Patel, an entrepreneur and philanthropist of Gujarat, started Nirma as a one-man operation. Today Nirma has over 15,000 employees and a turnover of over ₹3,550 crores.
- Soda ash
- Linear alkyl benzene
- Edible & industrial salt
- Alpha olefin sulfonate
- Sulfuric acid
- Critical care products
- Medical disposables
- Single super phosphate
- Castor oil
- Multilayer tubes
- Seamless tubes
- Tube laminate
- Flexible laminate
- Paper & plastic cups
- Injection molding
- Phosphoric acid
Starting as a one-product, one-man outfit from a 100 sq ft (9.3 m2) room in 1969, Nirma became a very successful company within three decades. The company had multi-locational manufacturing facilities, and a broad product portfolio under an umbrella brand – Nirma.
Nirma successfully countered competition from HUL and carved a niche for itself in the lower-end of the detergents and toilet soap market. However, Nirma realised that it would have to launch products for the upper end of the market to retain its middle class consumers who would graduate to the upper end. The company launched toilet soaps for the premium segment. However, analysts felt that Nirma would not be able to repeat its success story in the premium segment.
In 2000, Nirma had a 15% share in the toilet soap segment and more than 30% share in the detergent market. Aided by growth in volumes and commissioning of backward integration projects, Nirma's turnover for the year ended March 2000 increased by 17% over the previous fiscal, to ₹1,217 crores.
In 1969, Dr. Karsanbhai Patel, a chemist at the Gujarat Government's Department of Mining and Geology manufactured phosphate-free synthetic detergent powder, and started selling it locally. The new yellow powder was priced at ₹3.50 per kg, at a time when HUL's Surf was priced at ₹13. Soon, there was a huge demand for Nirma in Ruppur (Gujarat), Patel's hometown. He started packing the formulation in a 10x10ft room in his house. Patel named the powder as Nirma, after his daughter Nirupama. Patel was able to sell about 15-20 packets a day on his way to the office on bicycle, some 15 km away. By 1985, Nirma washing powder had become one of the most popular, household detergents in many parts of the country.
By 1999, Nirma was a major consumer brand, offering a range of detergents, soaps and personal care products. Nirma's success in the highly competitive soap and detergent market was attributed to its brand promotion efforts, which was complemented by its distribution reach and market penetration. Nirma's network consisted of about 400 distributors and over 20 lakh retail outlets across the country. This huge network enabled Nirma to make its products available to the smallest village.