Mr Ali, a visionary, conducted a comprehensive survey 25 years ago. “This highlighted India’s significant protein deficiency. We discovered that individuals were consuming only 40% of the required protein for their body weight, leading to numerous health problems.
This told him that as the population grew, the problem would worsen. But he also saw it as an opportunity to expand the chicken business. It also convinced him to diversify his portfolio from chicken to other protein segments like soy and dairy.
“Expanding into different sectors enables us to cater to a broader customer base and offer a wider variety of protein options. Our aim has always been to provide the Indian population with various high-quality protein products to address their dietary requirements. With the mantra of feeding the nation, we strive to fulfill this goal,” he explained.
Diversification also played into Mr Ali’s belief of not putting all his eggs in one basket. The Group has continued to expand into fields like pet food and hospitality. The eventual goal, he stressed, is to have his company known and trusted locally and internationally.
In this endeavor, he built his name as the father of modern poultry in India with his appetite to incorporate the latest technology and practices into the business. From the first environmentally controlled (EC) houses to investing in state-of-the-art systems applications products (SAP), Mr Ali has embraced innovation.
“Do whatever it takes to keep costs low and maintain high quality,” he explained as the motivation to try new things. This has helped him stay ahead of the curve.
A “Global Protein Company”:
In 2020, IB Group announced that it would gear up for an IPO in 2023. The company hired KPMG to help digitize and corporatize the Group. Mr Ali assured his employees that the changes would help the company become a ‘Global Protein Company’.
To support this expansion, in 2021, the Group also announced that they would undertake a multi-location hatchery expansion program across India.
These facilities would incorporate state-of-the-art single-stage incubation systems, making them the most modern in the country.
The same year, Mr Ali announced the opening of a 1200 tons/day feed plant in Bihar, one of the largest in India. In his opening ceremony speech, Mr Ali said it would serve the economy and people of one of the most underdeveloped states in the country. It tied into his sense of ‘social empowerment’ while increasing feed production efficiency through a low-cost supply of feed corn from Bihar.
IB Group today is a diverse conglomerate with an annual turnover of over USD 840 million.
Social empowerment and profitIn India, 60% of the population is engaged in agriculture but this contributes only 18% to the GDP – a small impact can go a long way. Mr Ali understands this well and has used his business to transform livelihoods.The company launched schemes such as ‘Parivartan’ (transformation) in 2016 and ‘Parivartan GenNxt’ in 2019 to help farmers adopt environment-controlled houses and modern broiler production.
The company would provide 25% of the total investment and offer subsidies on equipment and technology to upgrade farms. They also provide technical advice and services to support farmers.In this process, IB Group helps increase farmer incomes and has a ready base of contract growers for its high-performing Aviagen Ross chicks.
Preparing for the future:
According to Mr Ali, the impending IPO represents a significant milestone and potential.
“It will provide us with financial resources, increased visibility and credibility, opportunities for partnerships and collaborations, enhanced employee motivation, and the ability to attract top talent,” he explained.
In 2023, they signed three prominent personalities to their Board of Directors – RS Sodhi (former Managing Director of Amul), Bob Dobbie (former President-International Business at Aviagen), and Kishore Kharat (former Managing Director of IDBI Bank) as Independent Directors.
The IPO will also be an interesting phase for the family company Mr Ali and his brother built. In the years that have followed, Mr Ali’s children and family have each joined and expanded the business in new directions from dairy and pet food to hospitality.
Meanwhile, Tanaz Aziz leads the Group’s social arm, the Aziz Trust runs 35 schools across 17 villages, educating 7500 children free of charge.
“I view succession planning and preparing the second generation to take over as crucial for sustained success and growth,” said Mr Ali.
It will ensure continuity and the preservation of company culture and values. It also facilitates knowledge transfer, innovation, boosts employee engagement, and instills shareholder confidence.
“By proactively preparing the next generation, we lay the foundation for a seamless leadership transition, ensuring that the company thrives and remains resilient in the future,” he added.
Business with a purpose:
For Mr Ali, having the company stand the test of time is important. In this endeavor, his social welfare programs are as important as his chickens.
He sees social welfare as paramount for companies and entrepreneurs in the livestock industry to ensure long-term viability.
“By integrating social welfare into their core values and operations, companies can positively impact society while securing their position in the livestock industry in the long run.
”By focusing on education, as an important social initiative to promote, “we empower individuals, break the cycle of poverty, promote equality, foster sustainable development, build stronger communities, and stay true to our ethos and values. It is a cornerstone in our efforts to create a positive and lasting impact on society,” he said.
Overall, livestock companies play a crucial role in nation-building and promoting national self-reliance, stressed Mr Ali. “They contribute to food security, employment generation, technology adoption, environmental sustainability, value chain integration, and collaborate with the government to align their efforts with national development goals, for example, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ or self-reliant nation,” he said.