TBY talks to Dr. Mehdi Fazli, CEO of Golrang Industrial Group (GIG), on the company's market leadership, its wide-ranging activities, and its efforts to be among the 500-largest corporations worldwide.

Dr. Mehdi Fazli
Dr. Mehdi Fazli, the CEO of GIG, is the son of the great Haj Karim Fazli, who founded the very first company of this multi-billion dollar group back in 1972. He studied business and financial management at PhD level and joined the group in 1993. Under his entrepreneurial leadership inspired by his father’s character and thoughts, the group has created 70 companies and 40 brands in various business segments over the period of 25 years and has enjoyed exceptional growth in revenues and value creation.

How do you assess the contribution of GIG to the country?

In our 50-year history, our tradition of ingenuity and promoting entrepreneurial values has driven continuous improvement and our growth reflects the energy and innovation that GIG has applied to identify and utilize new opportunities. GIG is a privately owned family business. The public recognizes us via our sustainable development, market leadership, trusted brands, and a commitment to our ethical and social responsibilities. In 1989, GIG had 34 employees and sold around USD1 million. Today, we have more than 16,000 people working at GIG, and our sales are around USD2 billion, which illustrates the incredible growth over the past decades. Annually, our workforce has grown by more than 25%. We are a market leader in certain categories of personal care, home care, and cosmetics. Moreover, we have been able to achieve market leadership in certain categories of the business segments that GIG has recently entered. GIG manages more than 40 brands and, as a holding company, owns and manages over 70 companies. Altogether, our 14 strategic business units sell over 1 billion product units per year in 80 product categories. We manage the largest distribution channel in Iran with six distribution companies, and manage, own, and sell our products in over 1,300 cities in Iran and around the world.

In which sectors are your activities concentrated?

GIG has a diversified portfolio of business segments. We are involved in personal care, fabric and home care, and the cosmetics and beauty segment. We also have activities in food and nutrition, including edible oils, chewing gum, and canned food. In the pharmaceuticals industry, we founded an investment company, Golrang Pharmaceutical Investment Co., which serves as a holding company for six subsidiaries that take care of our pharmaceuticals business, from R&D to production and distribution. Another important business segment is retail sales and distribution. We have a chain of nearly 700 retail stores called Ofogh Koroosh Chain Stores (OK). In 2018, we will have 1,000 OK stores. GIG is also involved in construction. We have built a commercial complex called Kourosh Mall that includes over 500 retail stores, a cinema complex with 14 halls and more than 3,000 seats, a family entertainment center, a food court, and kids clubs. Kourosh Mall is 1.3 million sqft in size and has around 1 million visitors per month on average. Energy and mining is another important sector for GIG and Iran in general. In 2008, we founded a holding company, Middle East Investment Mahd Group, which manages 25 companies in various segments of oil, gas, and mining. It has different types of projects ranging from small to large. We also own various mines, including copper, zinc, and lead mines. We are at the stage where we have done the studies and are looking to start exploitation, subject to our cost-benefit analysis. We want to see our efficiency at the highest level.

Your vision is to be among the 500-largest corporations worldwide by 2025. What is your strategy for achieving this goal?

GIG's vision is to be among the 500-largest corporations in the world by 2025. Currently the group's consolidated revenue is just over USD2 billion. To reach our goal, our revenue needs to be around USD30 billion. We will achieve this by continuing our growth figures of the past 10 years. GIG's income growth has been attractive thanks to our on-time investments during the last decade, with an average annual growth rate of 35%. In the last five years, our average annual income growth rate was 38%. Our compound annual growth rate over the last 10 years has been over 30%. To remain on track we have to grow even higher within the upcoming years. It is not easy achieving this level of growth; however, we are confident that with the tireless efforts of our colleagues and the right leadership we will get there within the next eight years.