India Today - - STATES - —Ki­ran D. Tare


To­day, Re­liance Polyester is the world’s largest man­u­fac­turer of polyester fi­bres and yarn. With a pres­ence in Turkey, the US, Bel­gium, Denmark, Ger­many, France, China and the UK, among many other coun­tries, Re­liance Polyester has left its mark on the global mar­ket. Its strength lies in the fact that the cor­po­ra­tion has com­pletely in­te­grated the var­i­ous com­po­nents of the polyester value chain into its op­er­a­tions, be­gin­ning from crude oil right up to the fi­nal prod­uct.


For Re­liance, the tex­tile busi­ness has sen­ti­men­tal value. Its first brand, Vi­mal, was launched in 1966 at Nar­oda in Gu­jarat, later be­com­ing the foun­da­tion of its polyester busi­ness. It is prob­a­bly the only busi­ness that the late Dhirub­hai Am­bani as well as his sons Mukesh and Anil have per­son­ally han­dled at some point of time. Founded by Dhirub­hai, the brand was pop­u­larised by Anil and later ex­panded by Mukesh. Sev­eral celebri­ties, in­clud­ing ac­tors Sridevi and Jaya Prada and crick­eter Ravi Shas­tri, were roped in as prod­uct am­bas­sadors for the brand. Vi­mal also launched sa­rees, and af­ter 1993, shifted its fo­cus to suit­ing tex­tiles. Nick­named ‘Queen of tex­tiles’, Vi­mal soon es­tab­lished one of In­dia’s first tex­tile chains and be­came a for­mi­da­ble player in suit and shirt tex­tiles, as well as sa­rees, dress ma­te­ri­als and home tex­tiles. The com­pany be­gan fo­cus­ing on ex­ports be­tween 2000 and 2001.


Un­der Mukesh, Re­liance has an­nounced the revival of its Vi­mal brand, in as­so­ci­a­tion with China’s Ruyi group. The com­pany has de­cided to scale up its polyester busi­ness af­ter a short hi­ber­na­tion. The grow­ing de­mand for In­dian fi­bre across the world is one of the rea­sons. At the same time, cot­ton prices have al­most dou­bled in the past few years al­low­ing mak­ers of man-made fi­bres like polyesters to wield enor­mous pric­ing power. Re­liance Polyesters sees this as an op­por­tu­nity for ex­po­nen­tial growth be­cause of the de­mand from in­dus­tries such as bot­tling, pack­ag­ing and food.

SPIN­NING DREAMS Dhirub­hai Am­bani (ex­treme left) shows in­sti­tu­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives the tech­nol­ogy in­stalled at the Nar­oda plant in 1973

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