Pran, a Bangladeshi fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand, expects its sales to jump more than 68 per cent to Dh160 million in the UAE this year.
It expects sales in the GCC to reach Dh300 million.
"Last year, our sales revenue reached Dh95 million and we expect it to reach Dh160 million this year," Hasan Mahbub, Managing Director of Pran Foods UAE, told Gulf News.
"In the UAE our consolidated current average turnover per month is approximately Dh9 million. We tentatively have coverage of 12,000 groceries and cafeterias, 500 supermarkets and more than 100 hypermarkets." The company's sales network is served by 218 people including 145 in direct sales, 28 in distribution support, 18 professionals engaged in audit and merchandise, nine people in marketing and 18 general staff.
Pran, which in Bengali means ‘life' actually stands for "Programme for Rural Advancement Nationally", is one of the biggest success stories of Bangladesh's agro-processing industries, being produced by Agricultural Marketing Company, which was set up in 1981.
The company produces soft drinks, juices, snacks, biscuits and spices.
"Recently we have added rice and lentils as basic commodity products into our distribution network," he said.
Pran established its first branch office outside Bangladesh in the UAE in 2003. Before that, the brand started exporting to Saudi Arabia in 2001.
From a slow beginning, the company's sales gradually grew from Dh4 million in 2007 to Dh24 million in 2008. Despite the financial crisis its sales continue to grow, reaching Dh40 million in 2009, Dh55 million in 2010, and then to Dh95 million in 2011, Mahbub said.
Pran is Bangladesh's largest grower and processor of fruit and vegetables, currently serving 300 million customers in 77 countries. Pran, which employs 30,000 people, is currently producing more than 200 food products in 10 categories. It exports products to 77 countries.
Pran plans to introduce a number of products in the market.
"Beverages is a segment where we have lot to do and confectionary is another segment where we are planning to focus," Mahbub said.
New brand"Bakery is a group of products which we will bring in. We are expecting quadruple growth in trading [rice and lentils] this year. Power is our new brand of energy and hopefully this summer we can bring critical mass to this product movement."
The group last year reported pre-tax profit of 55.36 million taka (Dh2.4 million) and gross turn-over of 1.44 billion taka. The total export of the company was reported as 279.32 million taka.
"The GCC is a great market for FMCG activities with its huge potential. FMCG companies with long-term sustainable plans have a great future in the GCC," he said.
"Compared to the UAE, FMCG markets in other GCC countries are still immature. Saudi Arabia and Oman are two examples. Easing cross-border movements of goods and relaxing rules might increase inter-GCC business manifold."