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Built A Foundation On Stone

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Amit Shah, Managing Director, Classic Marble Company

Managing Director at Classic Marble Company (CMC), Amit Shah is a multi-faceted leader possessing a deep understanding of the marble trade. Acknowledged as an expert in assessing the quality of marble, he also holds an ability to foresee market trends. Shah is a people’s person with a knack for forging relationships. His key profiles are Finance and Corporate sales.

Hailing from a family with a business background in textile, Shah was naturally inclined to building his career as an entrepreneur, although in a different sphere. He had identified that the Indian market lacked any real organized players in the stone domain. He was quick to latch on the opportunity and assemble a team of experts in the field to launch Classic Marble Company (CMC). Soon he realized the wide demand for the product. At the time, no other player in India had step foot on this turf but he took the calculated risk of setting up production lines based mostly on his intuitive forecast on demand for this product both globally and at home. The decision worked in favour of CMC and saw the emergence of its flagship brand – Kalinga Stone which today is the leading name in the engineered or composite stones segment. In conversation with Dominic Rebello, he reveals how he turned the tables when he successfully began exports to the same countries from where CMC was earlier importing natural stones. Incidentally, ET Awards 2016 honoured Shah with the ET Inspiring Business Leaders of India 2016 award for his pivotal role in the corporatisation of the marble and stone industry and propelling CMC to the number one spot in India.

What drives you?
Classic Marble Company (CMC) had a very modest beginning but with clear defined goals, tangible projections and focus on quality offerings we have come to be recognized as the Numero Uno in the world of stones. It has been my endeavor to maintain this positioning for us and to offer our customers the best there is. Research and Development in our field is a primary driver for my actions. It is with the thorough research that we were able to introduce KalingaStone – CMC’s flagship brand for engineered marble and quartz. Its product offering has put CMC in the driving seat with demand soaring from all corners of the world. And we are constantly improvising designs and other aspects in our products that are outclassing others in the league.

How big is the potential for a business like yours: Any statistics to compare with international standards?
Very plainly put, so long as people need residences and commercial spaces we will continue to grow. Our products are used almost in all the places where construction and renovation work happen that include residences, commercial buildings, retail shops, malls, hotels, hospitals and many other such areas. Hence, growth of construction and real estate industry also brings along the growth for our sector. Presently, CMC enjoys the leadership status in its natural stone segment and is recognized as the largest manufacturers of agglomerated marble and quartz. We have been providing products to several known establishments, corporate and governmental and architectural firms, in India and outside.

How do you plan to scale up; raise funds through seed or venture capital or simply grow the old fashioned way through rising turnovers?
We have a comprehensive expansion plan lined up. So far we’ve been able to fund ourselves channeled through company profits and through financial institutions.

Who would primarily be your consumer audience?
As mentioned earlier, our product portfolio with a premium range of marble and granite best suits residences and this will continue to remain our primary projects. However, with our engineered marble and quartz offerings, we have re-introduced newer application possibilities in the architectural domain. We now have a product range that can offer some of the finest varieties of marble to premium residencies as well as township developments in tier 1 and tier 2 cities. We also have products that are apt for applications in the commercial segment including airports, malls and other high footfall spaces.

Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
We are planning to expand both our product portfolio and geographical presence worldwide. In India, we have identified regions that are key markets for our offerings. This will give our brand more visibility and will help us in reinforcing consumer faith and loyalty. Presently, CMC accounts for 50% of the total exports in engineered stones from India. The main reason for our success as exporters is our vast product range and quality that adheres to international standards. We expect our export market share to grow by 30% per annum.

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