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Textile & Apparel


Fu t u r e I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r Su p p l y C h a i n

Published By
Januar y, 2014

About the Whitepaper

Globally, the Textile & Apparel (T&A) industry is evolving from lower to higher value-added products through
optimizing such functions as design, lead times, response to market demands, and compliance. The industry is now
gradually moving out of the turbulent times it saw due to the global financial meltdown. The increasing globalization
and evolving consumerism have had organizations developing strategies to leverage and cash in on this wave.
This industry, being highly globalized in nature, faces severe challenges. For instance, industry leaders are only now
realizing the importance of improved sourcing, an efficient supply chain, higher productivity, and effective resource
management. In the future, a successful business will need to utilize advanced technology, realign production processes,
ensure end-to-end supply chain solutions, and consolidate its processes. Further, there is need for higher transparency
and also for building a sustainable value chain. The T&A supply chain needs to become increasingly sophisticated, with
virtual sampling, integrated production, and multiple vendors; be transparent; and have integrated order systems and
supply alliances.
This Whitepaper attempts to identify new pockets of future growth and emerging opportunities across the T&A supply
chain, within both the domestic market as well as the global one. It also elaborates the key challenges firms face while
trying to maximize profitability and sustainability. While defining the challenges that lie ahead for the industry, this
Whitepaper makes an attempt to list some of the initiatives industry leaders can take to make their businesses more
focused, transparent, and cognizant.

Technopak- Fashion Division Services

Textile & Apparel Services

Apparel Operations Services

Strategy and Planning

Business Entry
India Entry and Partnerships
Growth and Diversification - India and Global

Performance Enhancement
Productivity/Efficiency Enhancement
Material Utilization and Quality Enhancement
Streamlining Merchandising and Preproduction
Lean Manufacturing Tools
Visual Control and SOPs

Industry Studies
Research-based Studies
Manufacturing Benchmarking

Total Quality Management

Mergers & Acquisitions/JVs

Partner Search
Due Diligence
Investment Evaluation
Partnership Structure

Start-up Assistance
Planning and Design of Factory
Implementation of Layouts and Process
Selection and Training of Middle Management
Efficiency and Production Build-up

Public Private Partnerships

Mega Cluster Development
Skill Development
Textile Parks

Setting-up Operator Training Center

Capacity Building
Pre-production Process Streamlining
Incentive Schemes
Sourcing Services









The Textile & Apparel Supply Chain:

An Overview

Higher Growth of Per Capita Apparel

Consumption in Developing Countries

Evolving Role of Retailers and

Increasing Customer Demands

The Distinctive Need for an Adaptive

Supply Chain Strategy



Amit Gugnani | Senior Vice President
Aseem Doda | Associate Vice President
Prerna Kaushal | Senior Consultant
Design & Development:
Arvind Sundriyal | Assistant Manager-Design

The Steadily-Reducing Share of Apparel in

Household Consumption in the US and EU

Apparel Retail: Growing outside

of the US, EU, and Japan

Growth of Alternate Retail Channels:

Online Retail

The Need for a Sustainable

Supply Chain

Whitepaper January, 2014| Textile & Apparel Retailing: Future Implications for Supply Chain

The Textile & Apparel Supply

Chain: An Overview
It is a moment for which many of us have been waiting: after nearly three years of stagnation, the world economy is
slowly coming back to life. Companies across the globe have begun shifting their focus from cost control and survival
mode, to growth. As industry leaders pursue dreams of profitable growth, they have started realizing that ensuring
sustainable profitable growth requires one to look at factors besides operational efficiency. There is much need to build
up a supply chain which can address the needs of highly connected and dynamic customers. Apart from the Retail
sector, no other sector has been as much at the forefront of these new growth initiatives. Globally, retail is the largest
private sector industry, and is exceedingly organized in developed markets such as the US, where the penetration of
organized retail is nearly 85%. Within the organized retail sector, apparel is the strongest category.
The world of apparel retailing has changed dramatically since the emergence of departmental stores, chain stores,
and supermarkets in the early 1900s. The driving forces back then were mass production, wide distribution, effective
advertising, consumer credit systems, and innovative customer service offerings (such as formal return policies). The
same factors continued to urge the industry towards globalism, supported by the opening up of economies worldwide,
falling transport costs, rising standards of living, and the emergence of popular culture as a global phenomenon. With
the expansion of the retail industry and of cross-border retailing in the past two decades, internationalization has
become one of the most important issues in retail strategy. Revenues earned within the domestic market have been
invested in operations in new markets in an attempt to sustain financial growth targets. This, in turn, has allowed
retailers to consider further expansion, outside of domestic markets.
However, in recent years, as the global economy continues to remain uncertain, the apparel trade scenario has also
changed. Although companies continue to expand beyond their home countries, business and operational strategies
have evolved. The recent global financial crisis has had a large impact on most businesses, creating unique challenges
for supply chain management executives. Today, they are forced to deal with declining sales, growing inventories,
and aggressive cost reduction goals, uncertain energy and commodity pricing, global sourcing initiatives, quality
improvement programs, and budget reductions. In the light of the competition extant in the market, firms have to
focus on continuous improvement of the extended supply chain. The battleground becomes supply chain versus supply
chain efficiency, and quicker delivery and higher levels of customer service at substantially lower cost. Further, it is
no longer just about the enterprise and its profitability, but also about the extended supply chain. In an increasingly
volatile global market, crucial decisions need to be made not just about reducing costs, but also about how to position
the inventory within the value chain and manage available production capacity in order to meet uncertain demands.
Inaccurate information about supply chain can result in inefficiencies, excess inventory and inventory costs, poor
customer management, low revenues, misguided capacity plans, ineffective logistics, and mismanaged production
schedules. While research, development, and innovation can facilitate an organization in terms of gaining a competitive
advantage, the novelty of innovative products makes the demand for such products hard to predict. Furthermore, the
lifecycles of such products are typically short as competitors imitate these products and end up splitting the margin. The
shorter lifecycles and the larger variety, which are the USP of these products, further add to the unpredictability, the
risk of obsolescence, and the cost of added inventory. The important components in the manufacturing-focused supply
chain include material planning, production planning and scheduling, replenishment planning, demand planning and
collaborative planning, store and DC replenishments, promotional planning, category management, and shelf analysis
and retail-side store forecasting. The T&A supply chain can be segmented into seven main phases, viz. fiber production,
textile manufacturing, garment manufacturing, distribution, consumption, disposal, and aftermarket.
This Whitepaper elaborates on the global scenarios existing within the T&A retail industry which are leading to changes
in operational strategies and tactical measures. Also, it discusses certain measures that need to be taken by the industry
in order to become sustainable and scalable.

The Steadily-Reducing Share

of Apparel in Household
Consumption in the US and EU
In the past few years, as a result of the global economic instability, it has been observed that the share of apparel in
household consumption in the US and EU has been declining.
Share of Apparel and Footwear in Household Consumption (%)

Exhibit 1














Source: US Census, Eurostat, Technopak Analysis

This can largely be attributed to shrinking economies, reduced disposable incomes, and a dented consumer confidence.
If we look at one of the key indicators of an economys health, viz. GDP growth rate, all major consuming economies,
except China and India, are expected to register a rate below 5%. Apparel retailers have therefore started broadening
their horizons, and are more than willing to look at foreign markets for their growth and profitability.
GDP Growth Rate Projections (%)

Exhibit 2





















Source: IMF










Whitepaper January, 2014| Textile & Apparel Retailing: Future Implications for Supply Chain

Higher Growth of Per Capita

Apparel Consumption in
Developing Countries
Developing countries like China, India, and Brazil are fast emerging as apparel retail markets, going beyond being just
manufacturing hubs. They will form significant alternative markets to the US, EU, and Japan in the near future. It is
projected that the per capita apparel consumption will increase by approximately 50% in China, and 25% in India,
between 2011 and 2015.
Per Capita Apparel Consumption (USD)

Exhibit 3























Source: US Census Bureau, EU CBI, NBS China, Technopak Analysis & Estimates

Major retailers and brands based in the US, EU, and Japan, have also realized this trend and are now exploring
international markets, especially in developing countries, and are expanding much more aggressively. This initiative is
already showing positive results as retailers have started registering much higher growth in their revenues from overseas
Sales Growth of Major Brands (%)

Exhibit 4






Ralph Lauren





Overall Sales Growth: 3-yr CAGR


International Sales Growth: 3-yr CAGR

Source: Company Reports, Secondary Research


Apparel Retail: Growing outside

of the US, EU, and Japan
Earlier, retailers used to have a presence in only one country. But now with retailers expanding into international
markets, they need to supply merchandise to various markets while maintaining consistent quality standards and
at the same time, establishing efficient supply chains. This results in the need for market-specific planning tuned to
local consumer preferences and requirements. There is thus an increasing need for localized merchandise planning,
depending on the country, which encompasses product categories, garment sizes and cuts, designs, colors, pricing,
seasonality, and prominent selling channels.
The past few years have seen an exponential growth in rental spaces globally. Again, many stores have started offering
similar products, leading to stronger competition between brands to capture the limited share of customers wallets.
Within this environment, as markets become more customer-focused and dynamic, a key differentiator for any
company can be its supply chain. As customers are now much more demanding in terms of broader selection, superior
quality, and higher availability, it becomes critical for any apparel company to invest in and develop a supply chain
which is adaptive and anticipative.

Evolving Role of Retailers and

Increasing Customer Demands
With the evolving role of a store and of retail spaces, physical stores will not just be a point of sales anymore, but will
instead act as a customer interaction medium for brands. Stores will eventually play a larger role in the overall buying
experience of customers. They will act as a point of product display, for customers physical interaction with the brands
products made available online, and a point of distribution to online shoppers, besides being a point of sale.
Sales Growth of Major Fast Fashion Retailers vs. Major Traditional Retailers (CAGR)

Exhibit 5

Sales (USD mn)







Inditex (Zara)






Fast Fashion Retailers

Traditional Retailers

- No. of customer visits per year: 15-20

- No. of customer visits per year: 3-6

- Average goods marked down (%): 15-20

- Average goods marked down (%): 40-50

- No. of seasons: 12-24

- No. of seasons: 2-4

Source: Company Reports, Secondary Research

Whitepaper January, 2014| Textile & Apparel Retailing: Future Implications for Supply Chain

With the increased incidence of impulse purchasing and shorter product lifecycles in clothing, fashion seasons are
increasingly becoming shorter, and there is wider acceptance of fast fashion models. It is crucial that response times are
reduced, which in turn necessitates establishing a strong and collaborative supply chain between the buyer and supplier.
Thus, shifting sourcing patterns are requiring teams to work through a greater number of seasons, often as many as
12 instead of the earlier two or four seasons. Again, the need for better control on raw material costs and improved
responsiveness to changing fashion has squeezed lead times. Consequently, manufacturers do not have the luxury of
receiving orders for greige fabric, or for blocking capacity, in anticipation of future orders anymore.

Growth of Alternate Retail

Channels: Online Retail
With the acceptance and increase of alternate retail channels such as e-commerce, there is now a heightened need for
collaboration. E-tailing offers a host of advantages to apparel brands and thus has the power to transform traditional
retailing economics. Thus, with the rise and acceptance of apparel e-tailing, there is a need for collaboration and
strategic alliances between manufacturers, retailers, and such service providers as logistics players and warehouses.
Exhibit 6


Online Apparel Sales Projections

in the US (USD bn)

Growth in Online Sales of Selected

Companies (%)





















2013 (P)

2016 (P)

Ralph Lauren

YOY growth in 2012

Source: Emarketer

Source: Company Reports, Secondary Research


The Distinctive Need for an

Adaptive Supply Chain Strategy
Within Indian retail, the major segments are food, clothing, consumer durables, and books and music. Again, within
organized retail, clothing is the fastest-growing category, and parallels food. The growth in the apparel segment is
predominantly driven by the development of modern retail.
The increased presence of organized retail has created an opportunity for such new retail formats as hypermarkets, cash
& carry, and e-commerce. As a result, a large number of international apparel brands have forayed into India to leverage
the potential. The consequent increase in competition has impelled international brands to customize their products
and policies to suit Indian tastes and preferences.
Modern Apparel Retail (USD bn)

Exhibit 7



2013 (E)

2018 (P)
Total Market

Modern Retail

Growing Presence of International Brands in Modern Apparel Retail (%)

2013 (E)

2018 (P)





Domestic Brands

International Brands

Source: Technopak Analysis

Whitepaper January, 2014| Textile & Apparel Retailing: Future Implications for Supply Chain

Similarly, the consumption supply chain is unique as the consumers tastes changes every few kilometers. The ethnic,
linguistic, and cultural diversity of India results in sharp differences in tastes, habits, incomes, and consumption.
This results in retailers product proposition becoming region-specific, leading to a multiplicity of stock keeping units
(SKUs). Further, the phenomenal increase in operating costs due to the increase in real estate prices is pushing down
retailers profit margins constantly. These high real estate rentals leave no room for retail stores to stock excess or
additional inventory. The combination of these factors leads to a unique Indian consumption supply chain which
includes the handling of a large number of SKUs in pieces, in contrast to the handling of limited SKUs in the form
of pallets, by most large retailers across the globe. Further, in emerging countries like India, the retailing business
continues to be dominated by independent retailers, mom-and-pop stores, and unorganized markets. Here, wholesalers
and distributors carry goods from various suppliers to the independent retailer (owned shops and unorganized markets).
Due to such inherent dynamics and multifaceted nature of the clothing industry, fashion retail has its own special
prerequisites. Thus, there is a growing need to learn the art of handling these complexities, and to design, develop, and
execute supply chain solutions that are distinctively Indian.
Typical Apparel Retail Supply Chain

Exhibit 8

Fabric Mill





Physical Product Flow in Apparel Retail Supply Chain

Tracking of Items
Better Replenishment
Reduced Shrinkage
Improved Inventory, Receiving, and Shipping Accuracy
Efficient Reverse Logistics
Demand Information Flow
Source: Technopak Analysis



To survive in todays challenging global market, alongside buying the right goods at optimum prices, it is also crucial
to have products at the right place, at the right time, at the right operational expenses. This requires efficient logistics
systems and processes. The T&A industry stands out as one of the most globalized industries in the world, with a supply
chain spread across the globe which includes retailers, contractors, merchandisers, buyers, suppliers, logistics players,
warehouses, and customers, each with an important role. The entire supply chain needs to be integrated, as managing
logistics requires close coordination across the network of suppliers, manufacturers, co-packers, distribution centers,
transportation providers, and stores. Traditional supply chains generate sequential and isolated plans for inventory,
production, distribution, and procurement.
Retailers worldwide are attempting to implement various supply chain practices in order to efficiently manage their key
goals, including reducing slow moving inventory and thereby improve stock turnover, reducing clearance inventory,
improving the process of ordering, receiving, packing out from receiving, improving the process of products markdowns,
improving the sales per footfall, sales per employee, reducing out-of-stock inventory, guaranteeing accurate store sales/
inventory data, and improving merchandise availability.
Global buyers increasingly prefer suppliers who can provide end-to-end solutions rather than just manufacture
garments. In order to gain a competitive advantage, most buyers and suppliers are looking at consolidation and are
exploring strategic partnerships with each other. Further, T&A businesses everywhere are trying to develop a customerfocused business model. They enter into long term strategic partnerships with their buyers in order to have total control
over the supply chain and create economies of scale. For manufacturers, capacity blocking ensures volumes and better
production planning due to end-to-end visibility. Building a long term relationship with buyers also helps establish
supply chain excellence. For buyers, strategic partnerships ensure a faster turnaround, closer-to-season decision making,
lower out-of-shelf time and lost sales, fewer markdowns, reduced inventory levels, and an opportunity to focus on the
core business of retailing rather than on sourcing activities. Suppliers can contribute to reducing supply times by setting
up a vertical supply chain from fiber to garment, as this will shrink the time spent on transportation. Further, the time
spent on approvals and/or couriers can be saved through a closer collaboration with buyers. Thus, increasingly, the
visible trend is towards consolidation and forging strategic partnerships across the value chain. Players are integrating
activities from design development, vendor management, manufacturing, and supply chain.
In recent times, the industry has witnessed various forms of strategic partnerships covering diverse business issues.
Many retailers and brands want partnerships involving upstream integration to better control the value chain; at
the same time, many players are relying on strategic tie-ups for research and development, and innovation. Dye
manufacturers are working closely with fiber players to launch colored fibers targeted at specific markets. Fabric and
apparel manufacturers, as well as retailers, are partnering with pure-play logistics players so as to focus solely on their
areas of competency and maximally leverage their expertise and experience. Of late again, many fiber players which
have managed to establish themselves as fiber brands have partnered directly with apparel brands to launch fiberspecific programs in specific markets.

Supply Chain Collaborations

Exhibit 9

Collaborative Supply Chain


Regional Consolidation
Common Logistics

Common Warehouse

Data Sharing
Source: Technopak Analysis

Whitepaper January, 2014| Textile & Apparel Retailing: Future Implications for Supply Chain

The Need for a Sustainable

Supply Chain

Traditionally, the T&A industry has operated in an unsustainable way. Energy and other resources have been used
wastefully and inefficiently throughout the supply chain, leading to increasingly unsustainable levels at each phase
of production and logistics. Post-purchase use and disposal are hardly ever given due consideration during the
development and production phase of T&A merchandise. In production hubs across countries like India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, toxic fumes from dyeing units, untreated water, etc. are increasingly
released into community drains. The use of child labor and hazardous living conditions are also common in these
manufacturing countries. Further, diesel-based electricity generation, and the use of pesticides and insecticides in
cotton farms are predominant issues in any textile or apparel hub. The industry has been dominated by incompliant
sweatshops and working environments. Many occupational health hazards are associated with the industrys workforce
due to the prevalence of such working conditions and the related exposure to hazardous chemicals, particularly in
cotton production. Also wet pre-treatment, dyeing and finishing, fiber dust, denim dust, etc. give rise to respiratory
diseases and are heavy lung irritants. Increased globalization, consumerism, and the desire for fast fashion have lent
substance to this unsustainable value chain.
Briefly, the existing approach vis--vis the development of the T&A value chain is neither environmentally nor socially
conducive nor viable. Each phase of the clothing production value chain has the potential for negatively affecting the
environment and also has a social bearing. Thus, there is need for immediate intervention by the entire T&A industry.
Although many organizations and brands are following a new sustainable approach, and taking steps to modify their
supply chain practices in order to minimize the environmental and social implications, there is still much more to be
Throughout the T&A industry, there is at present a gap in terms of making the entire supply chain sustainable. It is
imperative to create an approach that is environmentally and socially viable, while also being profitable. For brands
and organizations, it is now about how to be sustainable and engage stakeholders effectively and efficiently. Building
a sustainable economy will require prompt change and approach by thought leaders. Businesses with sustainable
supply chains incorporate sustainability into their day-to-day operations and decisions at every level. Progressive T&A
companies are competing to address extant issues and create more sustainable businesses. The strategic approach to
sustainability involves developing a philosophy of sustainability within the organization, creating goals, implementing
workable projects to meet these goals, educating employees and stakeholders, and regularly auditing the entire supply
chain to correct any abnormalities. The industry needs to be proactive in finding ingenious and innovative ways of
designing and developing fashion instead of seeing sustainability as a constraint or a limitation.

The unique features of the T&A supply chain are short product lifecycles, low predictability, high volatility, and high
levels of impulsive purchasing. It requires getting the merchandise to the retail stores within short times-to-market and
at low costs-to-market repeatedly. Given the long lead times that are extant in the industry, it is important to have an
effective supply chain to help retailers buy products as close to the season as possible.
Thus globally, there is a need to develop flexible manufacturing rather than large manufacturing. There is a need to
focus on lean manufacturing strategies, shorter runs, just-in-time inventory management systems, and automated
systems. More adaptive manufacturing approaches need to be followed. Manufacturers should separate manufacturing
bases for the Basics and Fashion ranges, and apply a multi-location manufacturing approach. They can manufacture
value-added products in-house and outsource the basics. Manufacturers must focus more on improving business
efficiency. Technology deployment, across the entire value chain, will also be critical in the immediate future. Retailers
should use advanced analytics tools for forecasting. Tools for processing Big data must be used for tracking consumer
demands and fashion trends. Technology deployment will reduce the need for labor management and ease the product
development and sampling process, besides facilitating production (through greater automation), warehousing, and
shipping processes.
Retailers must develop localized/regional supply chains through strategic alliances, joint-ventures, acquisitions, and/
or wholly-owned manufacturing and marketing subsidiaries for each China, India, and Brazil. Increasingly, there is
need to create a sustainable supply chain model alongside improving business efficiency and profitability. The impact
of T&A production, throughout the supply chain, on the environment and society needs to be minimized. Developing
and executing a strategy for sustainability is critical for all T&A-focused organizations as there is a growing push from
both consumers and the industry. Leaders have to move beyond strategies for short-term prosperity and work towards
long-term sustainability.
Supply chain in India suffers from the percetpion that these are activities related to logistics or warehousing. In
several organizations, supply chain management (SCM) was started as a reactive process to increasing costs and global
competition. Some organizations regarded SCM as a tool for profitability, but mostly as a tool for cost reduction.
However, in recent times, Indian apparel retailers have learnt from western retailers and have given SCM a strategic
position in their business strategy, instead of viewing it as merely an operational issue. Large format retailers are seeing
SCM as a key to increase their profitability.
Many organizations in India are now gradually moving towards improving their profitability and efficiency by
implementing various supply chain techniques. The most commonly used tools are information technology-based.
apparel retailers have started seeing information technology as an important tool to improve efficiencies and are
taking definitive steps towards leveraging IT tools in reducing the gaps in the supply chain. Companies have begun
understanding the need for building a sufficiently flexible supply chain which enables them to capitalize on new growth
possibilities like developing a new product in the shortest possible time. The future belongs to those companies wherein
a robust and flexible supply chain can become the base for any growth initiative.


Whitepaper January, 2014| Textile & Apparel Retailing: Future Implications for Supply Chain

Indias leading management consulting firm with more than 20 years of experience in working with organizations across
consumer goods and services.
Founded on the principle of concept to commissioning, we partner our clients to identify their maximum-value
opportunities, provide solutions to their key challenges and help them create a robust and high growth business models.
We have the ability to be the strategic advisors with customized solution during the ideation phase, implementation
guide through start-up and a trusted advisor overall.
Drawing from the extensive experience of more than 150 professionals, Technopak focuses on four major divisions viz.
Retail, Consumer Products & E-tailing, Fashion - Textile & Apparel, Food Services & Agriculture, and Education.

Our key services are:

Business Strategy: Assistance in developing value creating strategies based on consumer insights, competition mapping,
international benchmarking and client capabilities
Start-up Assistance: Leveraging operations and industry expertise to commission the concept on turnkey basis
Performance Enhancement: Operations, industry and management of change expertise to enhance the performance
and value of client operations and businesses
Capital Advisory: Supporting business strategy and execution with comprehensive capital advisory in our industries
of focus
Consumer Insights: Holistic consumer and shopper understanding applied to offer implementable business solutions


Our Other Divisions

Retail, Consumer Products & E-tailing
Technopak aids retailers and consumer product companies in formulating growth strategy and performance
enhancement mandates. Over the past two decades, we have worked on various facets such as entry into the Indian
market, development of new category, activation of new retail formats, channel development, product extension, region
expansion etc. One key reason why Technopak is considered the industry leader is the relentless focus on the Indian
Market. We help clients understand the market dynamics in India and help them arrive at the best method to grow
business in India. Our Retail and Consumer product expertise helps gain a competitive edge by providing execution
capabilities and corporate strategies.

Technopaks Education division has a vast understanding of the sector in terms of industry environment, growth
potential, regulation and policy, which has enabled us to become a thought leader in the sector. Technopak caters to all
the education segments K-12, Higher Education, Vocational Training and ancillaries. Innovative business models and
government thrust on privatization has led to assertive participation by private organizations. Such participation spans
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institutions aiming to foray into the Indian education sector.

Food Services & Agriculture

Technopaks Food Services & Agriculture team comprises of established domain experts who build and enhance the
business performance of organizations which are either working in the segment or are willing to enter it. Our endto-end solutions are customized as per the businesss requirements and capabilities. We continuously strive to create
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For further dialogue, please contact:

Amit Gugnani
Senior Vice President
+91 98717 55992
Aseem Doda
Associate Vice President
+91 96500 87322


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