Grasim Industries, a flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group plans to invest around Rs 150 crore for product development, R&D and business development in the next fiscal for its viscose staple fibre (VSF) brand Liva launched earlier this year to target retail customers, as the usage of viscose staple fibre (VSF) is already catching up among domestic processors with VSF-made winter collection expected to go up from 20 lakh garments this year to about 50 lakh garments next winter season, said Grasim Industries Managing Director KK Maheshwari .
The Aditya Birla group company has enhanced its VSF production capacity in March from 1,20,000 tonnes per annum to 5,00,000 tpa with the completion of the last phase of its greenfield project at Vilayat in Gujarat. The company sells about 3,00,000 tonnes of VSF in domestic market and the rest is exported.
India, being the largest producer of cotton, the usage and awareness on VSF is limited in the domestic market.
Globally, the annual demand growth for VSF is about four percent. The biggest challenge is to widen the market base by promoting garments made of VSF. While the cotton production has limitations worldwide, the consumer demand for natural and comfortable fabrics is growing in India. Grasim see this as an opportunity and are trying to reach out to the consumer with the Liva brand, Maheshwari added.
The capital expense incurred on promoting VSF may not add our revenue or bottomline immediately, but it would reap benefit for us and the industry on the whole in long run, he said.
To reach the end-consumer, the company has partnered with designers. Till now they have been supplying the fibre to major fashion and home textile brands like Pantaloon, Van Heusen, Global Desi, Allen Solly and looking at tie ups with more brands.
The company also plans to sell some of the garment collections made of VSF through the recently launched online venture abof.com (Aditya Birla Online Fashion).
Apart from leading domestic brands, international brands such as the Spanish fashion chain Zara and British multinational retailer Marks and Spencer have also launched new collection using fabrics made of VSF.
Maheshwari further added that Grasim Industries expects to complete the proposed merger of Aditya Birla Chemicals with itself by March next year.
Birla Cellulose, the pulp and fibre division of Grasim, as part of national drive is also organizing Liva Accredited Partner Forum (LAPF) a stakeholder conclave in various parts of the country aiming at improving the entire gamut of the textile value-chain.
So far, Grasim has over 335 partners including spinners, weavers, knitters and fabricators, with major participation from textile hubs in the LAPF. Their plan is to strengthen the textile value chain and align it with the 'Make in India' campaign of the government.
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