June 18, 2024

GTV Global Holdings: Continuous Growth through Successive Strategic Pivots

Embarking on a journey from humble beginnings to a formidable presence in the market, GTV Global Holdings has traversed a trajectory marked by strategic decisions, adaptive leadership, and a commitment to innovation. Founded in 1995 as a modest flour milling unit in Wellawatte, the company’s evolution reflects a story of resilience, foresight, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Guganathan Vijayananth, a Director of the family business group, delves into the evolution of GTV Global Holdings, unravelling the crucial milestones and strategic pivots that have propelled its growth, positioning it as a standout choice for investors and partners alike. From its inception to its current market stature, each phase of the company’s journey illuminates the convergence of vision, market insight, and operational excellence.

Could you walk us through the journey of GTV Global Holdings from its inception to its current position in the market? What were the key milestones and strategic decisions that propelled its growth?

GTV Global Holdings began as a small family business in 1995. My father started a modest flour milling unit in Wellawatte, selling small packets of flour to local customers. As the company grew, it expanded into a retail market, offering groceries and vegetables at wholesale prices in Wellawatte.

Simultaneously, my father operated Vijaya Enterprises in Pettah, importing and wholesaling onions, potatoes, and other groceries from India. By 1997, he ventured into exports, shipping vegetables, newspapers, and other groceries to the Sri Lankan diaspora. Responding to customer requests, he launched a small courier service in 2000, within the outfit.

The business further expanded with Maharaja Supermarkets, which operated two stores in Wellawatte. The original flour manufacturing unit, which evolved into a large-scale factory in Mabola Wattala, produced flour, spices, and other Sri Lankan grocery products and thus became Maharaja Foods. GTV Enterprises Private Limited emerged as a wholesale courier and cargo service, partnering with logistics giants operating in the country to offer competitive rates to retail customers.

After the demise of my father in 2016, my mother Thavamalar Guganathan took over the leadership of the business thus GTV Holdings since then the group has been a women-owned/led enterprise.

In 2017, Parcel Lanka was established to handle direct exports to major logistics hubs worldwide, distributing parcels globally. Last year, all these companies were consolidated into GTV Holdings to streamline the family business under a single entity.

Can you detail the specific roles and market contributions of each subsidiary under GTV Global Holdings?

GTV Enterprises operates as a wholesaler specializing in courier and cargo services. In essence, this business consolidates shipments and exports them worldwide. Another company subsidiary, GTV Logistics, provides comprehensive supply chain solutions, including freight distribution, transportation, warehousing, and other logistical activities. Lastly, Parcel Lanka Private Limited focuses exclusively on parcel delivery. This company handles both island-wide e-commerce deliveries and international cross-border e-commerce shipments.

GTV Enterprises serves as a wholesaler in the courier and cargo industry, specializing in the consolidation and export of shipments worldwide. By aggregating shipments, the subsidiary streamlines logistics, enhancing efficiency and reducing costs for global distribution. GTV Logistics is dedicated to providing comprehensive supply chain solutions. Its services include freight distribution, transportation, warehousing, and various logistics activities. This subsidiary ensures seamless movement and storage of goods, supporting the operational needs of diverse businesses.

Parcel Lanka focuses on parcel delivery services, catering primarily to the e-commerce sector. It handles both domestic deliveries across Sri Lanka and international cross-border e-commerce shipments. This subsidiary plays a crucial role in facilitating the last-mile delivery of goods, enhancing the e-commerce experience for consumers and businesses alike.

Maharajah Foods is involved in the manufacturing, export, and distribution of Sri Lankan ethnic food items. Initially starting as a flour mill, it has expanded into a full-scale food manufacturing enterprise, producing spices, rice, and other culinary products. This subsidiary capitalizes on the growing demand for ethnic foods, contributing significantly to the group’s market presence. Maharaja Supermarkets Private Limited operates two supermarkets in Wellawatte, catering to both retail and wholesale markets. These outlets focus on Sri Lankan groceries and ethnic food items, serving the local community and ethnic food enthusiasts. This subsidiary enhances GTV Global Holdings’ retail footprint, offering a diverse range of products to meet consumer needs.

Each subsidiary under GTV Global Holdings plays a distinct role, collectively strengthening the group’s market position across various sectors, from logistics and parcel delivery to food manufacturing and retail.

How do GTV Enterprises, GTV Logistics, Parcel Lanka, Maharaja Foods, and Maharaja Supermarkets drive the overall success of the holding company?

GTV Enterprises, GTV Logistics, Parcel Lanka, Maharaja Foods, and Maharaja Supermarkets collectively drive the success of the holding company through their specialized roles and collaborative efforts. GTV, which stands for Global Transportation Venture, focuses on transportation, technology, trade, and teamwork. These elements are critical to the company’s operations.

Maharaja Foods is a major contributor to the GTV group, generating 25% of the holding company’s revenue primarily through exports. As one of the largest exporters of Sri Lankan ethnic food, Maharaja Foods reached the milestone of $1 million in exports in FY 23/24, targeting markets in Europe, North America, Canada, Australia, and Singapore. GTV Logistics handles all logistics for Maharaja Foods, by managing bookings, exports and handling. For local distribution, Maharaja Foods relies on its fully owned subsidiary, Maharaja Marketing Private Limited, to ensure its products are available in wholesale and retail stores across Sri Lanka.

Maharaja Supermarkets imports products such as basmati rice and Indian groceries, selling them in their stores and through wholesale channels. While each entity operates independently, they work together seamlessly, leveraging their strengths to support the holding company’s overall success.

What are the main factors that have contributed to the success of your subsidiaries? Are there particular business practices or market conditions that have significantly impacted their performance?

The success of our subsidiaries can be attributed to three main factors: strategic leadership, efficient collaboration, and a strong focus on technological innovation.

First, our strategic leadership is crucial. Each executive oversees their business unit, ensuring focused and expert management. Second, our subsidiaries work efficiently together, complementing each other’s strengths and achieving synergy. Finally, we prioritize technological innovation, quickly adopting new technologies to enhance operational efficiency and drive rapid innovation. This agility allows us to stay ahead of competitors and continuously improve our processes.

Looking ahead, what are the strategic plans for GTV Global Holdings and its subsidiaries? Are there new markets or sectors you are aiming to expand into?

GTV Enterprises UK operates in the UK and India as a courier and cargo consolidator with dedicated staff and operational teams. These teams manage sales and operations, consolidating various types of shipments—commercial, personal, and postal. Weekly, we load air freight to Sri Lanka, where we handle clearance and last-mile deliveries. This process operates in reverse as well, with shipments sent back to the UK and India. In India, our operations are based in Chennai, and the UK, in Watford.  Strategically, we are expanding our market presence into Canada, Australia, and Singapore.

Further, Maharaja Foods has a wholesaler and retailer network of large stores and distributors based in Europe, the UK, Australia, and Singapore and will be actively engaging with more in the coming years in the USA, Canada, and New Zealand.

With such diverse operations across the subsidiaries, how does GTV Global Holdings align its leadership and workforce towards a common vision? What are the challenges and successes in fostering this unity?

At the heart of GTV Global Holdings lies a fundamental question: How does a conglomerate with such diverse operations align its leadership and workforce towards a common vision? This question is not merely theoretical but rather central to the company’s functioning, as it shapes the very essence of its collaborative leadership model.

Within GTV Global Holdings, this collaborative leadership manifests in a weekly operational gathering of executives from its various subsidiaries. These executives, representing distinct Strategic Business Units (SBUs), convene to deliberate on strategic decisions that impact the overarching direction of the conglomerate. This approach ensures that decisions are not made in silos but are rather informed by a collective understanding of the broader organizational goals.

Crucially, this collaborative ethos extends beyond the boardroom. Executives actively support each other in executing these decisions, leveraging the diverse expertise and resources across the conglomerate. Despite being a holding company, GTV fosters a culture of agility and mutual support, wherein the success of each SBU is viewed as integral to the collective success of the entire organization.

Central to this alignment is the cultivation of a unified vision that resonates with employees at all levels of the organization. While individual SBUs pursue their specific goals, there exists a shared sense of purpose that binds them together. This sense of unity is reinforced through a recognition of individual and collective achievements.

Although GTV Global Holdings does not employ an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), it ensures that employees across its subsidiaries are incentivized for their contributions. This is achieved through a system of commissions tied to the performance of each SBU. For instance, if Parcel Lanka achieves a certain sales target, employees are not only rewarded but also supported by their counterparts in other SBUs to maximize their potential.

This approach goes beyond conventional employee-employer dynamics, fostering a sense of partnership and ownership among employees. By aligning individual incentives with the overarching goals of the conglomerate, GTV cultivates a workforce that is not only committed to its success but also deeply invested in the success of the organization as a whole. Through collaboration, mutual support, and a shared vision, GTV Global Holdings navigates the challenges of aligning diverse operations towards a common purpose, emerging stronger and more unified in the process.

In terms of market perception and investment appeal, how does GTV Global Holdings distinguish itself from its competitors? What makes the holding company a standout choice for investors and partners?

GTV Global Holdings stands apart in the eyes of both investors and partners due to its unique market positioning and strategic initiatives.

At its core, the culinary and food sector of the group capitalizes on the expansive market potential driven by the continuous growth of the expat community. This demographic trend underscores a rising demand for products reflective of cultural heritage, as evidenced by the recent surge in interest in Sri Lankan cuisine showcased in high-profile events like Ambani’s wedding and prominent media channels.

Recognizing the opportunity at hand, GTV Global Holdings has strategically ventured into exporting Sri Lankan groceries and spices to a global audience. Leveraging its expertise in e-commerce and logistics, the company is adept at bridging the gap in the market by efficiently delivering Sri Lankan products worldwide. This proactive approach not only addresses an underserved market segment but also positions GTV Global Holdings as a frontrunner in catering to the evolving preferences of consumers on a global scale.

Moreover, GTV Global Holdings aims to establish itself as the premier player in the market, drawing parallels to the esteemed Expo Lanka. With a comprehensive ecosystem encompassing production, logistics, and retail capabilities, the company is poised to fill the void left by Expo Lanka’s departure from the capital market. Embracing a direct footprint strategy, GTV Global Holdings is not only expanding its presence in existing markets but also venturing into new territories, solidifying its status as a dynamic and forward-thinking entity in the industry.


Source: https://www.echelon.lk/gtv-global-holdings-continuous-growth-through-successive-strategic-pivots/