The Weekend Leader - SKM Shree Shivkumar's Erode-Based SKM Egg Products Achieves Rs 650 Crore Turnover

Emerging from His Father’s Shadows, Son Builds Rs 650 Crore Global Egg Brand from a Small Town

Usha Prasad   |  


Vol 15 | Issue 17

There's a Tamil saying that says, "If a tigress leaps eight feet forward, her cub will leap sixteen feet ahead."

This perfectly describes the life of SKM Shree Shivkumar, who expanded beyond his father's business of poultry feeds and egg sales to start an egg processing plant producing a variety of value-added egg products.

SKM Shree Shivkumar set up SKM Egg Products Exports in Erode in 1995 (Photos: Special Arrangement) 

In 1995, at age 27, Shivkumar took a bold step by starting an export business of egg-derived products from the then small town of Erode. Today, he has grown his company, SKM Egg Products Exports (India) Limited, into a business with a turnover of Rs 650 crore.

SKM Egg Products is now recognised as one of Asia's largest egg processing plants. It has the capacity to process a staggering 1.8 million eggs per day, which amounts to 6500 tonnes of egg powder annually.

Most people are familiar with the production and sale of eggs. However, many may not be aware of value-added egg products like liquid eggs in tetra packs, egg white cubes, and egg powders.

SKM produces these high-quality egg and egg-derived products, and is India’s largest exporter of value-added egg products. The company began with about 150 employees and now boasts of a workforce of 1,300.

SKM Egg Products began its operations with three types of egg powders: whole egg, egg white, and yolk. Later, it introduced chilled liquid egg in tetra packs, mainly for the domestic market, followed by frozen egg white cubes for the export market.

They also produce tailored blends for bakeries and a special product for the Russian market used in making mayonnaise.

Shivkumar took his business worldwide and today they have a presence in 23 countries  

SKM Egg Products has established a market presence in 23 countries, with key markets including Japan, Russia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Singapore. A major portion of their export revenue is generated from egg powders, with yolk powder being the highest in volume.

Shivkumar’s journey in the poultry industry is deeply rooted in his family’s legacy. His father, SKM Maeilanandhan, was a distributor of animal feeds to large companies such as Godrej, Lipton etc., in the early 60’s and 70’s.

He set up his own manufacturing unit ‘SKM Animal Feeds and Foods India Ltd’ at Nanjai Uthukuli, Modakurichi, near his native Swaminathapuram, Erode district, in the early 80’s.

“My father supplied poultry feed to farmers, collected their eggs, and sold them in the market for them. This arrangement lasted a long time and helped in the growth of my father’s business,” shares Shivkumar.

After completing his BE (Mechanical) from the PSG College of Engineering, Coimbatore in 1991, joined his father’s company and looked after production of the feeds.

“Although my father wanted me to pursue a management course in the US after my engineering degree, I wasn't too keen on it,” he reveals. “Around the same time, we encountered labor-related issues at our unit, and I decided to stay on and focus on the business.”

In 1994, Shivkumar assumed the role of Executive Director in his father's business, spearheading new projects and expanding the company's horizons.

Soon he would take a leap of faith, driven by a vision to expand the business beyond what anyone in the family had imagined.

Shivkumar with his father SKM Maeilanandhan, who established a poultry feed and egg trading business in the 80's

"I discovered an opportunity when TIDCO (Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited) invited proposals in 1994 to establish an egg processing plant in Tamil Nadu, inspired by a similar facility in Andhra Pradesh. We applied after the project was advertised and were selected as partners to set up the unit," Shivkumar explains.

SKM Egg Products was registered in 1995 and launched its initial public offering (IPO) in December of the same year to raise funds, with production starting in July 1997.

"Although my father intended to develop the new business within our investment capacity, I aimed to build one of the largest plants in India,” he recalls. “To realise this, we decided to go public, attracting mainly business associates from our animal feeds business and a few friends as investors.

“It cost Rs 43 crore to set up the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which was completed in 1997. We invested Rs. 8.5 crore, raised Rs. 26 crore through equity, and the remaining amount was financed through term loans from banks.”

Initially, SKM Egg Products had a technical and marketing collaboration with a Belgium company called Belovo. “We sold our products through Belovo for 10 years. Later, we established our own distribution network in all the countries we are currently exporting our products to,” informs Shivkumar.

Initially, SKM Eggs relied solely on egg supplies from SKM Animal Feeds and Foods. Today, SKM Egg Products has expanded its operations, producing 15 lakh eggs daily at its 75-acre poultry farm in Karur, established in 2009.

The farm is ISO 22000 certified, maintains stringent biosecurity measures, and complies with European Union regulations for registered establishments.

"We have invested in six lakh birds at our Karur farm, which produces 5 lakh eggs daily. We also source an additional 10 lakh eggs from other leased farms, where farmers have invested in farms and cages only," explains Shivkumar.

"Our own production covers 80% of our needs. Today, we are the largest egg producers in Tamil Nadu." The company claims that their eggs are pesticide-free and residue-free.

SKM's Erode plant has the capacity to process a staggering 1.8 million eggs per day

The hens are fed a 100% vegetarian diet to ensure the eggs are safe and of the highest quality. Their egg products are made from carefully selected fresh eggs from their farms, with no added colors or preservatives.

According to Shivkumar, SKM Best Eggs are among the most expensive in the market, priced between Rs. 58 to Rs. 73 for a pack of six, compared to the other brands priced at Rs. 45 to Rs. 52.

SKM's branded eggs are available in Chennai and Bengaluru, as well as through various online platforms.

Discussing their value-added products, Shivkumar highlights their range, including Whole Egg Liquid and Egg White Liquid available in 250 ml, 500 ml, and one-litre tetra packs, and the popular Egg White Cube, packaged similarly to paneer.

"Instead of normal shelled eggs, we offer both the yolk and white in tetra packs with a three-month shelf life," he says. "The egg white cube, purely made of egg white, is boiled and resembles paneer. This product has a higher protein content and greater absorption capacity.”

Their protein supplement line includes Egg Albumin Powder, Egg Pro Sports Plus, and Egg Pro Life.

With a primary focus on exports, SKM Eggs is now starting to expand its presence in the domestic market. "In the last couple of years, our business in the domestic market has grown to about Rs. 50 crore, which is still a relatively small percentage," says Shivkumar.

Shivkumar is married to Kumutaavalli, who manages SKM Siddha and Ayurveda Company, originally established as a trust by SKM Maeilanandhan three decades ago.

The couple’s son, Sharath Ram, recently joined the family business as Executive Director for both SKM Egg Products and SKM Siddha and Ayurveda Company, after completing his post-graduation in Psychology and Addiction Studies from King’s College, London.

Shivkumar with his wife who takes care of the SKM Siddha and Ayurveda Company

With Sharath Ram now part of the business, they are exploring new product lines. "We plan to develop bakery mixes for both domestic and export markets, and we are exploring opportunities in the food and pharmaceutical sectors," says Shivkumar.

Shivkumar plans to retire from business once the company reaches a turnover of Rs. 1000 crore, a goal he hopes to achieve within the next five to six years.

His younger brother, Chandrashekar, takes care of SKM Animal Feeds and Foods India Ltd.

Apart from his business roles, Shivkumar serves as the Treasurer of Olirum Neerodu Foundation, an NGO engaged in various initiatives like education, water management, health, sports, and environmental conservation in Erode.

He is also a member of the Kongu Global Forum, which advocates for improved air connectivity to Coimbatore and focuses on water conservation efforts. - ©TWL

Milky Mist Cheese

Trending Now: