Orkla had entered the Indian market in 2007 by buying MTR Foods, and in 2020, obtained a 67.8 per cent stake in Kerala-based spice manufacturer Eastern Condiments.
The 4,000-employee-strong India arm will morph into three business units: MTR (foods company), Eastern (condiments and spices), and International Business (MTR’s international operations), according to its press release.
“This marks Orkla’s presence as a distinct entity in the country, bringing together the rich heritage and expertise of two iconic brands, MTR, and Eastern. This move will enhance the collective business capabilities and drive sharper growth focus across business units,” the release said.
The century-old brand MTR will look to grow its presence in the vegetarian food category in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Eastern, a 40-year-old brand in the masala category, will diversify into a broader food category, according to agencies.
Both MTR and Eastern will maintain their independent brand identities and also benefit from mutual synergies, scale, expertise and cost advantage that the reorganisation brings.
It will also enable the business units to leverage strengths and enhance their position with other leading brands in their respective segments and geographies.
Sanjay Sharma, chief executive officer (CEO) of MTR will lead Orkla India and will be responsible for overseeing the operations of the three business units each having its own independent CEOs.
Atle Vidar Nagel Johansen, chairman of Orkla India said, “Our acquisition of Eastern has significantly scaled our business in India reaffirming our position in this market. The three business units will play a pivotal role in fortifying Orkla’s overall portfolio which believes in the strength of local brands and leadership within distinct markets.”
Sanjay Sharma, CEO of Orkla India said, “We believe, in India food is local. It is intrinsically tied to our culture, language, and customs, rooted deeply in our local heritage. We are a collection of such heritage brands that are considered to be the custodians of culture and regional food on their soil. Each of our business units is at a different stage of evolution, and under one umbrella of Orkla India, we will have a deep dedicated focus to accelerate their growth.”