Orkla has over 4000 employees in India in the food companies MTR Foods and Eastern Condiments. MTR Foods is located in Karnataka and headquartered in Bangalore, while Eastern Condiments is located in the Kerala area. As is the case all over India, the pandemic has hit these states hard, with high infection numbers, many deaths and an overburdened health service.
“We have been impacted by the pandemic all over the world, but the pictures we have seen from India when it was struck by the second wave of infection have made a particularly deep impression on us. We have been in continuous contact with our Indian colleagues, who have had to face a totally extreme situation in every way,” says Jaan Ivar Semlitsch, Orkla President and CEO.
Orkla has also been in close dialogue with the Norwegian embassy and Innovation Norway in India to discuss what type of assistance that Norwegian companies represented in the country could contribute.
Orkla ultimately decided to make a contribution to combating COVID-19 through its local Indian companies, based on the needs the companies themselves have witnessed in the states in which they are located. The contribution has been used to fund medical equipment, support for local health services, distribution of ready meals and beverages, and other measures for which there has been a need.
In both MTR Foods and Eastern Condiments, the process of vaccinating the employees is underway. At MTR Foods, a total of 86 per cent of the employees have now been vaccinated, while at Eastern the figure to date is around 71 per cent.
As food companies, both MTR Foods and Eastern Condiments are regarded as businesses of critical importance to society. The companies have managed to maintain production and substantial stocks throughout the pandemic, despite the fact that many employees have been absent from work at times due to high infection rates.
“The managements and employees in India must be highly commended for their committed efforts despite the entire society being so severely impacted by the pandemic,” says President and CEO Semlitsch.
MTR Foods was established in 1924 and has been part of Orkla since 2007. MTR Foods is recognised for its excellent brand-building, stable leadership, solid financial position, productivity improvements, and leading food safety and EHS standards. In addition to good growth in India, MTR Foods products are now available in 32 countries around the world, of which North America, Australia and New Zealand are the biggest markets. MTR Foods has two factories located in Bangalore, Karnataka and Pune, Maharashtra, and is headquartered in Bangalore. The business has 1,018 employees and achieved a turnover of INR 9.2 billion (approx. NOK 1.2 billion) in 2020.
31st of March 2021 Orkla completed the purchase of 67.82 per cent of the shares in Eastern Condiments Private Limited. Eastern Condiments was established in 1983 by M. E. Meeran. In the last 12 months ending 30 June 2020, the company achieved a turnover of INR 9.0 billion (approx. NOK 1.1 billion) and normalised EBITDA of INR 1.1 billion (approx. NOK 129 million). Turnover increased by close to 8 per cent per year in the 2014-2020 period. Around half the turnover comes from Kerala, and the other half derives from sales in other states in India and exports. Eastern Condiments has seven factories in four different states in India, and around 3,000 employees. The company’s headquarters is located in Edappally, Kochi.