Catering comprehensive solutions to the manufacturing industry, one-stop shop for the all the business requirements across the globe; Cosmo Films Limited is one of the leading companies. Ashok Jaipuria is the Chairman and Managing Director of the company. Engineered to Enhance is what best describes Cosmo Films. It is a pioneer in BOPP film manufacturing, which introduced the country to commercial applications. To get more insight about Cosmo’s high value services and uniqueness, we bring you an exclusive interview with Neeraj Jain, CFO of the company.
- Kindly brief us about you and your journey since the beginning of your career.
I am a chartered accountant having close to 20 years’ experience with large Indian corporates and multinational companies in corporate finance, business strategy planning and execution, corporate restructuring, banking & fund raising, M&A, taxation, risk management and internal control. I started my career with RPG Life Sciences Limited (pharmaceutical arm of India’s leading RPG Group) in 1999 as Senior Officer– Finance. I have worked in different finance leadership roles at Aditya Birla Group, Bajaj Allianz and Havells before joining Cosmo Films Ltd. A major turning point in my career was at Havells when I was given a responsibility to run finance function for its global subsidiary Sylvania BV (World’s 4th largest lighting company) which used to have operations in 30 countries and facilitating restructuring of the company.
I joined Cosmo Films Ltd as CFO in 2013 which is a public listed manufacturing company with more than INR 2,200 crores revenue having operations in India and overseas. Cosmo is India’s largest exporter and second largest producer of BOPP flexible packaging films. The journey so far has been very exciting.
- How do you describe yourself in one-word?
Dynamic and Energetic
- What is the thing which is acting as your motivational tool? Or, who is your role model, who inspires and motivates you?
The Chairman of Cosmo Films, Mr Ashok Jaipuria is a source of energy for me and inspires me a lot. He is a perfect example of aiming big and putting best to achieve the same along with maintaining work-life balance.
- State us about the most memorable and remarkable moment of your life.
One of the most memorable moments was when I successfully raised first funding of USD 100 million for the organization at a cost lower than budgeted. It gave me immense sense of satisfaction.
- Kindly tell us about the most daring challenge you took and the risk associated with it.
At Cosmo Films, we successfully rationalized finance cost by 20% in difficult times when the industry cycle was not favourable. This came with a risk of foreign exchange fluctuation; however we could manage it with the help of hedging to a certain level.
- Kindly describe in brief about your company and its services/products.
Established in 1981, Cosmo Films is a global leader in speciality films for packaging, lamination and labeling applications. With engineering of innovative products and sustainability solutions, Cosmo partners with world’s leading F&B brands, packaging & printing converters to enhance their consumer experience.
Company’s film offerings include Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) films and Cast Polypropylene (CPP) films. Today, the company is the largest exporter of BOPP films from India and also the largest producer of thermal lamination films in the world. Its customer base is spread in more than 100 countries with plant cum distribution centres in India, U.S, Korea & Japan.
- Brief us about the industry scenario from your perspective.
India’s BOPP flexible films industry is going through difficult times due to poor commodity pricing in domestic market from last two years primarily due to temporary demand-supply gap. Cosmo Films is trying to tide through this difficult situation by focusing on improving sales mix (higher share of value added products with stable margins), improving internal efficiencies and increasing international sales.
- State us your major achievements and your company’s achievements under your leadership. Please share your views about the “Necessity of Change” in the world of business”.
My key achievements:
- Successfully executed 20% finance cost rationalization during challenging times.
- Company’s market capitalization became 5x in the last 3 years
- Played key role in driving strategic and cost rationalization initiatives in the company
- One of the best working capital management in the Industry.
Company’s key achievements:
- Cosmo Films has successfully executed the strategy to a large extent to change business model to be a value added films producer from a commodity producer. Although, we are yet to completely achieve the same, however we are on the right path (today more than 50% revenue comes from value added specialty products).
- The company is leading in terms of providing innovative and specialized packaging solutions through R&D. The company has recently introduced sterilisable conduction sealing film for flavoured milk, juices etc as well as universal lidding film which can seal with any plastic material such as food trays, jams, sauces, butter etc. On the lamination side, we have come up with metalized velvet film for premium lamination and in packaging we have developed CPP metalized film with high metal bond as well as heat resistant BOPP film to replace BOPET in reverse printed films.
- Tell us about your passions, aims and goals.
My passion is to add value to business and this is what I work for. On the personal side, I like travelling and music. I aim to be a business finance leader to whom young finance professionals could look upto as a role model.
- What would you advise to the budding entrepreneurs?
India is growing and this is the right time to be a part of its growth story. There are ample opportunities available for a good business idea right from funding to all kinds of resources. If you believe you have good business ideas, please execute the same so that we could make India a growing hub for entrepreneurship/start-ups.
- How do you motivate your employees and maintain a healthy and dynamic working environment in the office? Share with us the work culture at your office.
There are different ways you keep your employees motivated. This includes transparent HR policies, friendly culture across the organization, recognition for good work, rewards policies and on the top of it care for this. We have implemented many policies and schemes at Cosmo Films which reflect the same. I am proud to be a part of this open and friendly culture at Cosmo Films.
- What are the most important lessons you’ve learned throughout and would like to share?
With increasing globalization, volatility is something you need to deal with, be it foreign exchange fluctuation, crude impact or other economic and business factors and how to run organizations along with managing key risks without ignoring them.