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Hide your floor with leather tiles

Maitreyee Handique | September 03, 2003

You wear it, and now you can walk and dance on it.

Delhi-based NLDK Timbers (Pvt) Ltd has tied up with R J Mooney & Son Ltd, a Dublin-based leather company, to offer its latest range of flooring options, leather tiles to be precise, to hide your floor, literally.

Commenting on the deal inked last month, Jatin Pasricha, director, NLDK Timbers, with interests in timber and flooring solutions, says that he had been hunting for a leather company that supplies leather flooring ever since he did a contract job for a Chennai-based hotel that wanted a leather floor.

"That was upholstered leather on wood. But Mooney's products are impregnated leather tiles that are 6 mm thick and processed with the highest quality technology."

R J Mooney's factory in Dublin produces 6,000 m of leather flooring a month.

At over Rs 1,000 per sq ft tile, leather floors don't come cheap.

Pasricha admits the product is elitist: "It's expensive, no doubt, and we are selling it as a premium product and mainly targeting institutional sales - hotels, restaurants and offices. Besides, we will also sell leather wall tiles that will cost far less and will be priced around Rs 250 plus."

Given the high prices, why should anyone settle for leather walls and floors anyway? Pasricha claims there are many advantages. It's a natural product, it exudes warmth and is easy to maintain; it can be cleaned with a damp mop.

"And then it can be easily installed over plywood planks with a latex-based glue," he points out.

That there may be takers for this niche product has been proven by the contract that NLDK has bagged from Sahara Star hotel (formerly Centaur) in Mumbai.

The hotel has ordered a leather flooring for its bar. The company will initially stock leather floor tiles in shades of burgundy, olive and brown.

The company, which is projecting a turnover of Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million) this fiscal, also has a tie-up with Junckers Industrier of Denmark to supply solid wood floors for the south Asia region, and with Bangkok-based Time Warner Fustar for bamboo flooring and Prague-based Livetile for glass flooring.

"Name any kind of flooring, and we have it," boasts Pasricha. NLDK will also introduce Mooney's range of rubberised leather flooring range - Pavigym - for gyms and playschools.

"They are scratch-free, stainproof and will eliminate the durries and allergies for good," explains Pasricha.

Its other ranges include veneers, inlays and timber and plywood moulding. NLDK is presently firming up plans to open offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. Currently, it operates out of its south Delhi office.

Initially, the company's core business was timber. "But with the ban on felling trees, we shifted focus to importing flooring solutions for the premium segment," says Pasricha's brother and business partner, Sanjiv.

"In the beginning, people used to hear the prices of our solid wood floors (Rs 750 sq ft) and laugh in our face. Now the same people do business with us, as they see better value for money," says he.

And with the richie rich in the country willing to experiment and burn cash, NLDK hopes that its success story may be etched in leather.

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