Parimal Shah

Parimal Shah

Guest Writer
President – International Operations, MK Jokai Group - M.K. Jokai Agri plantations Pvt. Ltd

About Parimal Shah

Mr. Parimal Shah is the President of M.K. Jokai Agri plantations Pvt Ltd. MK Jokai Agri Plantations Pvt. Ltd, is an Orthodox tea manufacturing and distributing company head quartered in India. MK Jokai is India’s single largest Assam Orthodox Tea manufacturer, producing 6.5 million Kgs of Assam Orthodox teas per annum and exporting its produce to several countries across the world including Japan, the US, UK, UAE, Germany and Russia. The MK Group was founded in the year 1957 by Mr. Mukandray K Shah, the grandfather of Mr. Parimal Shah.

Having completed his education from multiple cities such as Kolkata, Moscow and Mumbai, he was exposed to diverse methodologies of education since a very young age. He has also completed a business course on family business & startups from IIMA and an executive education course from Harvard Business School, Harvard University.

Mr. Parimal joined the family business at the age of 19, and he interned at MK for 2 years, after which he joined the world’s largest Tea Broking company – Jthomas as a taster, where he trained as a Tea specialist for a year before re-joining his family business.

In 2008, Mr. Parimal Shah joined the Russian arm of MK Jokai, which is known as JSC Classic and spent 3 years working out of their offices in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. JSC Classic deals in B2C operations and is involved in import, packaging, branding and distribution of Tea. This operation was witnessing a crisis period on account of the global financial crunch of 2008 and sales within Russia were showing persistent declining trends. 

During this period Mr. Shah travelled extensively across Russia with the sole intent of expanding distributor base. They signed 15 new distribution contracts during 2008-09 and launched innovative consumer schemes in 25 different cities within the Russian Federation. Existing products were re-branded and inefficiencies within the organization were resolved by optimizing human resources especially within the sales team of JSC Classic. These steps increased sales turnover in 2009 by 30% and profitability by 12%. This trend continued through 2010 and a stable sales pattern was established. In order to cater to new demand – logistics, warehousing and packaging machinery were upgraded with several new contracts being signed with reputed Russian and international partners.

2014 saw yet another serious crisis for Russian arm on account of political sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation by western governments and a steep decline in oil prices which led to a massive devaluation of the Russian ruble. However, a keen understanding of Russian economy enabled Mr. Shah to forecast the crisis and take appropriate precautionary measures using extensive hedging techniques. Such measures have led to a stable business environment for the Russian arm of MK Jokai even in the midst of an unstable Russian economy.

JSC Classic continued to expand, even in the midst of economic upheavals and between 2012 and 2016 and a total of 7 new brand families comprising of 125 SKU’s within the department of Tea were created and successfully launched under the leadership of Mr. Shah. These new launches now represent 35% of total sales made by JSC Classic. Starting from 2008 till 2016, the overall turnover of the Russian company expanded from 450 million rubles (annual) to 800 million rubles and in 2018 JSC Classic aims to cross the 1 billion ruble turn over mark.

Since 2013, apart from his active responsibilities in leading JSC Classic, Mr. Shah is also responsible for looking after the Bulk B2B exports of MK Jokai plantations, with a special focus on the bulk exports made by the plantations to Germany. From 2014 till 2017, the exports to the European Union by the Kolkata head quartered MK Jokai has increased from 35 tonnes per year (in 2012) to 450 tonnes of bulk teas per year (in 2016).
Expansion in exports to the EU and the Russian Federation has helped make MK Jokai into the 3rd largest producer – exporter of Assam Orthodox teas from North-East India. The above achievements earned Mr. Parimal a promotion to VP - Sales & Operations of the parent organization MK Jokai in the year 2016.

Mr. Parimal is a tea connoisseur and taster who has ingrained interest in curating new varieties of flavored, herbal and floral tea blends. He possesses the required knowledge about hybrid varieties of tea and the process of developing it and a deep understanding of various types, origin, age, blends, history of the tea family.
His vision is to make JSC Classic into one of the major Russian FMCG companies dealing in well -researched and high quality Foods and Beverages. This year (2017), has seen the Russian company diversify into Freeze Dried Coffee and Dried Fruits. The company is also gearing up to start exports of its brands from Saint Petersburg into mainland Europe from 2018 and onwards.

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