New Saraswati House: another feather added to S. Chand Group
Mergers and acquisitions seem to be a buzzword in the publishing industry. More recently, a major acquisition has been that of Saraswati House by a major conglomerate – S. Chand Group. Here, Varsha Verma talks to Shammi Manik — business head, New Saraswati House about this acquisition. Varsha: Tell us something about the acquisition of Saraswati House by S. Chand Group?
Shammi: S. Chand Group has been very active in mergers and acquisitions for last three years. After acquiring established companies like Vikas Publishing House & Madhubun, S. Chand felt the need to further strengthen its portfolio by acquiring an established publishing house which has a sizeable market share at national level and growing market share in regional languages as well.
Varsha: How is this acquisition going to help both the publishing houses?
Shammi: S. Chand traditionally has been very strong in plethora of subjects and there was a void for subjects like Hindi, Sanskrit, French and Art & Craft market. By acquiring Saraswati House, the group will have presence felt in these subjects other than its traditional and significant product portfolio. Being part of the S. Chand group, the largest education publishing group Saraswati House, renamed as New Saraswati House India Pvt Ltd will witness enhanced investments in people, infrastructure, processes and products.
Varsha: What is the new organisation structure?
Shammi: In the new organisation structure, we have created professional positions like legal, IT, Corporate Communication and HR to support the ambitious growth plans and cope up with the expectations of evolving market and customer needs. The regional sales & market structures are being strengthened in order to increase our outreach and to service customers efficiently.
Saraswati House has grown from a very modest level to a decent size organisation in terms of people and revenue of over Rs 100 crore. It was a family owned and run business. The New Saraswati House will attempt to retain its traditional values while introduce modern practices.
Varsha: What genres are Saraswati catering to and are there any new subjects coming up?
Shammi: Saraswati House is very strong in languages like Hindi, Sanskrit, French and 9-12 segments of CBSE schools. They have also made inroads into state specific subjects across the country.
Varsha: Tell us about the expanse of Saraswati, in terms of the branches, Indian/overseas sales, etc?
Shammi: New Saraswati House has its head office in Delhi and has 14 branches and marketing offices across the country and employs 500+ people. We have reasonably good revenue coming in from the overseas markets like Africa, Middle East and other SAARC countries.
Varsha: As the business head of the organisation, what are you aiming at?
Shammi: It’s a huge responsibility of maintaining the traditional values of the organisation and bringing in innovations across levels. We aim to create a forward looking people friendly organisation.
Varsha: What are your targets for this year and the long-term perspective, say five years from now?
Shammi: It’s very interesting to know that company of this size has never believed in assigning revenue targets and inspite of that has been growing at the pace of 25 percent year on year. Going by this track record, one can expect to double the turnover in about five years.
Shammi Manik has over 27 years of experience in publishing industry; starting his career with Orient Longman (now Orient Black Swan) way back in 1986, he later joined Oxford University Press as sales executive in 1993 and rose to the level of sales & marketing director – Education Division. In 2008, he had a stint in Taylor & Francis Group India as managing director.