Cigarettes to hotel major ITC has made a quiet foray into the pens segment.
The diversified giant has conducted a soft launch of ballpoint and gel pens in select markets, including Kolkata, under the Classmate banner with the aim to emerge as one of the top three players in the Rs 3,000 crore writing products arena. Currently, the major players in this market include Cello, Linc, Luxor and Reynolds.
ITC education and stationary products business CEO Chand Das said the company has initially launched two gel and three ballpoint variants. “We are now outsourcing the products from China and Malaysia, in addition to pen makers in this country,” he said.
Das said ITC — which has also launched a geometry box lately — is also introducing markers and highlighters under the Paperkraft brand. “Classmate is mainly aimed at students and thus we have launched the ballpoint and gel pens under this brand. Similarly, Paperkraft is targeted at
executives and thus, we are using that for markers and highlighters,” he added.
Elaborating on ITC’s education and stationery business, the divisional chief executive said the segment has achieved a CAGR of 80% for five consecutive years since inception. The business has recorded a turnover of Rs 280 crore in 2008-09 compared to Rs 20 crore five years back. The segment is likely to cross the Rs 1,000 crore mark in three years, he said.
“We are already the largest player in the fragmented note book segment with 12% marketshare. Our target is to achieve the top slot in pens. Our immediate target is to be among the top 3 in pens,” he added.
He said ITC’s stationery range reaches 65,000 outlets countrywide. “Our notebooks are made of green ECF (elementary chlorine free) paper which is also an advantage,” he added.