Feature

Baked to perfection or set to crumble? This small-to-blockbuster-IPO company is upping the ante

Mrs Bectors Food Specialities operates in a sweet but tough sector, and is now in expansion mode  

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About 15 years ago, a mediocre thriller movie called Hide and Seek was released. It had Robert De Niro in the lead and he gave a great performance, as expected, but someone else stole the show. It was nine-year-old Dakota Fanning. Even in an easily forgettable movie, she was memorable, more so because she had to share the screen with De Niro and make her presence felt. When newbies are up against titans and they perform exceptionally well, it becomes the stuff of fables. Another such story is that of Mrs Bectors.

When this company was founded in 1978 as a small backyard ice-cream business, it was entering a space that had players such as Britannia with its legacy of nearly a century, Parle with a brand almost synonymous with the most popular category of biscuits, and a relatively younger Modern with its claim of having created the bread category in India. It was like sending a kitten into a den of lions. Since then, the kitten has earned its place in the pride (See: Proof of the pudding).

Today, the business, started by a Ludhiana-based homemaker Rajni Bector, has a multiproduct portfolio — from sauces, spreads and salad dressings to biscuits, breads and cakes. Its spin-off, Mrs Bectors Food and Specialities (MBFS), is one of the leading names in the premium and mid-premium biscuit segments and bakery products in North India. In 2013, the business, handled by Rajni Bector’s three sons, was split into two – Cremica Food Industries and Mrs Bectors Food and Specialities.

In December 2020, like every small enterprise that has outgrown its stable, Bectors had an IPO and got a roaring response. The stock was oversubscribed 198x.  It became the second-largest IPO in 2020 with the stock closing at Rs 594 (106% over its issue price of Rs 288). And that’s how far the inspiring story held (See: How the cookie crumbles).

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