Cupid Ltd – Helping the world play safe!

Cupid Ltd. manufactures condoms, both male & female from its manufacturing facility in Nashik. I first wrote about it on Vivek Gautam’s thread on September 14, 2014, that I reproduce below:

“Cupid to me seems quite an interesting bet as the focus has clearly shifted from low margin Govt. supplies to exports, where the margins are much better. The last 2 quarters already reflect this change. The products are approved by bodies like USFDA & WHO, so quality is not an issue. The Co. has recently introduced female condoms. It is only the second Co. worldwide to manufacture this & could be a potential game changer. This near debt free Co. is sitting on large export orders for both female & male condoms. Based on the last 2 qtrs, the Co. could do Sales, EBIT & PAT of about 40Crs, 8Crs. & 6Crs. for 2014-15, giving an EPS of about 5.3 for the full year. This would result in more than acceptable return ratios. Have recently invested in the Co. after Q1 results.”

The results for 2014-15 have beaten estimates: Sales, EBIT & PAT have come in at 45.14Crs, 11.7Crs, & 7.71Crs. That’s after taxes amounting to 3.72Crs have been accounted for @ 32.6%. A total dividend of 15% for the year has been paid / announced. The ROCE is a healthy 49.66% if one considers the average capital employed for the year.

Even though there are more than 200 Condom manufacturers in the country, Cupid continues to be the only one approved by bodies like USFDA & WHO.

I first spoke with the mgt. sometime around the end of September 2014. Had prepared a brief note then that I reproduce below:

“Had a pretty extensive discussion with the CMD. He seems pretty confident. Sees a 20-25% growth for the next 3 years going forward. I asked him about the possibility of orders drying up going forward. He said on the contrary, he sees the order flow increasing from exports. In addition, the Govt. is planning to float a huge tender shortly & he hopes to get a sizable quantity. The Govt. supplies have an even higher margin, contrary to my earlier impression. Maiden dividend was on his mind. He did not rule out an interim dividend as well. The pledged shares is a bit of a legacy issue, was originally against the term loan, since repaid. Now, it is against working capital limits. Plans to get them released before the end of the current FY. On the possibility of selling out, said that is always a possibility if the offer was good enough, but the minority share holders would only benefit if it were to happen. The focus was not on local branding, but on exports & Govt. supplies as & when the opportunity came. India was in a sweet spot. Chinese quality was suspect. Labour costs in Malaysia were now higher. Competition if at all was coming from Thailand. He is open to meeting us any time at the plant or in Mumbai.”

I finally met up with the mgt sometime around the end of December 2014 & prepared the following note:

“Met up with the CMD of Cupid earlier this week. The key takeaways were:

1. The Co. should do about 40 Crs this year. The current margins are sustainable.
2. The Co. hopes to double turnover in 2-3 years to 80 Crs, as the international market is huge.
3. No plans of creating a mega brand for the next 2-3 years for the Indian market, as it is a very expensive proposition & margins are slim. Will reconsider once the Co. reaches 80-100 Crs.
4. Dividend is on his mind this year, but was non committal.

It was a pretty humbling experience on the whole. The guy himself is somewhat blind & sees the world through the eyes of his wife who is constantly by his side. I asked him that despite living comfortably in USA / Canada for the last 30 years, what could possibly be the reason for him for running around the world working like this. He himself seemed pretty cool about his handicap. Said Cupid was his baby n wanted to see it grow.”

The stock may have gone up 3 times since September 2014, but I think the story has just begun. Besides Condoms, the Co. is also into Gels & looking to add other accessories where the opportunity is large. Here’s a link to a recent article that appeared in Outlook Business which throws some light on the size of the opportunity. Cupid already has a Webstore.

Disc: I am invested in Cupid Ltd., & continue to add.


Why has raw material cost remained same as % of sales in march2015 quarter vs mar2014 quarter though rubber prices are down 30-35% year over year? Its a big red flag for me.
Disc: was invested but not invested now.

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can you tell us what is causing this turn around and if it is sustainable - who are its cusotmers ? why are they giving it orders and why will they do a repeat ? Is it because of low cost ? clearly they had had to get the condoms from elsewhere - if yes, where and why is cupid replacing them ?

what can make cupid sustain this ? this seems like a good story and I want to understand this better.


Ishank, Raw material cost is around 40-42% of sales, so with due respect, I think it’s not all that important. Besides, when raw material prices fall, there is always the possibility of inventory losses. I feel what is important is whether or not Cupid will be able to scale up it’s business to 80-100 Crs in the next 2-3 years, with its margins intact. We’ll have to wait n see.

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Rajeev, I agree ability to scale up is most important (which is a function of category growth as female condom market has huge scaling possibility but apart from UNFPA, no one is promoting it). Newer competition is emerging too. But there is a question of management integrity. When rubber prices fell by 30-35%, why has company’s raw material consumption not fallen for the last quarter? Is management siphoning off funds? As one of the largest public shareholders, you may like to probe management on this.

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Vardha, I guess the turn around started with the approval recd. for female condoms in or around July 2012. The USP as of this moment is the USFDA & WHO approval that Cupid is sitting on. Which is not to say that other Indian co.'s can’t succeed in getting it going forward. I guess competition is always going to be there, but I gather that the market is pretty big. To be honest, I am not blessed with your “scuttle butt” abilities! Let’s try n get the mgt to have a con call & get these issues addressed

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@RajeevJ - please do. Anything you find out about sustainability would be most useful.

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Vardha will do, meanwhile can you talk to the TTK guy u know, as to what is preventing them from doing what Cupid is doing ? That will help.

Durex condoms used to be manufactured by TTK healthcare before. the contract was later on terminated.

Cupid came out with an investor presentation today on the BSE.

This is perhaps the first time that the company has made such a presentation. This would be reassuring for those investors who were not sure if 2014-15 was a one off, due to some one time order. However, I feel that the company has been conservative in its guidance of 10-15% growth in the medium term, but we will have to wait & see how the next couple of quarters play out.

One aspect that the presentation does clarify is that the story is sustainable going forward & that India is in a bit of a sweet spot at the moment.

Subsequent to the announcement of order win worth 103cr from South Africa, Cupid locked at 20% uc today with heavy volumes. This order shall be executable for next three years. As per present margin rate enjoying by Cupid in female condoms segment this order itself shall contribute 35 to 40cr cumulative PBT in next three years. This is 35% of present market cap. Not to forget 10 years sale agreement with Safeware of USA. Few more orders like this will change the complete fortune of this company.

Disc: Invested

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Few observations

  1. Seems like there is still no standard accepted product design in the market for female condoms.

Different companies have different designs and there is still on-going innovation to find better and more acceptable designs ? With some companies even trying to develop a reusable product!!

If this understanding is correct, and Cupid’s design is indeed unique, am surprised there is no design/ patent or any kind of IP protection mentioned in the AR.

  1. However, seems like Cupid is one of the 4 popularly accepted models/designs having multi country acceptance. The other 3 are FC2, VELVET (mfg. by Hindustan LifeCare formerly known as Hindustan Latex) , FEMALE CONDOMS.

This link is a good read and brings out many aspects of the industry well and Cupid finds a mention among the 4 recognized names

Since it’s still not a standardized product, there are various studies done to judge the safety and efficacy of the female condom products and recommendations are issued based on them. So there seems to be some kind of moat for the producers ?

Seems like a big customer (buyer & not ultimate user) base to these products are the international donors and NGO’s who work in healthcare sector. And there I see a scope for enhanced demand for female condoms as "According to Reproductive Health Interchange, a UNFPA-managed information service, only 1.3 percent of the condoms purchased by international donors and distributed globally are female condoms. "

This link from an NGO citing Cupid gives confidence that product has a good name in circle where it matters.

Disc : Invested


Strange !! in the edit box the numbering shows 1,2,3,4,5 but in the preview it shows as 1,1,1,2,3
Small issue…

More reading material

Gates Foundation announces 52 Phase I grants of $100,000 to help innovative thinkers advance bold ideas designed to address important health and development challenges and includes:

Novel female and male condom designs to improve user experience. When used consistently and correctly, condoms are more than 98 percent effective in preventing unintended pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections. The foundation is providing support to eleven novel condom designs that could help increase condom use by improving sexual sensation and other aspects of user experience including:

seems like he has a larger passion in life - he is driven by a vision

I quite like the guy - but I hope there is a second line - as of now only he and his nephew are managing the company. The business is terrific - high RoCE, high asset turns and FCF generative - if they can get orders like this - this can be a Rs. 500 Cr. mcap in no time.

I did some calling people - cupid is a good company, I am trying to talk to someone in TTK but have found no success so far.

Seems a good company - much will depend on new orders coming in. That lumpiness is the one big risk I see - ala an EPC company.

Also, I think there seems to be no second level management - who is driving sales and marketing ? who heads R &D ? what are their qualifications ? seems like a labour of love business still


The South African order worth 103 Crs for Female Condoms (FC) has excited the markets due to it’s size in the context of the Co. Cupid’s top line for 14-15 was about 45 Crs, which itself was a jump of more than 100% over the previous year 13-14. The Co. has been gearing up for this order, having doubled it’s capacity for female condoms to 25 million pieces in the previous year. The margins in FC’s are three times more than male condoms, so going forward the focus is clearly going to shift from male to FC’s. The Co. is also in a position to convert it’s male condom facility to FC at a nominal cost. The impact of this can be gauged from the fact that the Co. could reach a turn over of about 100 Crs in about 3 years with very limited capex.

FC’s are gradually gaining acceptance & looking to the fact that it empowers women to take a call, the demand can only go in one direction. It’s clear that the potential demand world wide is humongous. Cupid certainly has a first mover advantage & it will still take the next Indian company some time before it could come on stream. How soon is not clear. Could take up to a couple of years, but clearly there is room for more players.

Going forward, the bottom line would grow disproportionately to Sales, due to the change in product mix to FC’s. The mgt itself seems fixated on the bottom line & does not seem inclined to chase Sales for the sake of it. The RoCE for 14-15 is around 45%. This is further likely to go higher in the coming years. The Co. could do an EPS of about Rs. 9 for 15-16, after paying full taxes.

Cupid is also trying to augment it’s product basket, having added gels & looking to add other related products. There are unconfirmed reports of some kind of a tie up with the Piramal group for co-branding of FC’s. This could further re-rate the stock if it goes through as it would take the pressure of marketing off Cupid in the Indian market.



Any clues on, if the FC from Cupid is a patent protected design ?
Given that so few are recognized by WHO & UNFPA, and their facility is USFDA approved, i want to know if it’s just a matter of new manufacturer copying cupid’s design and getting it registered or others have to come up with their own designs.
In the later case, there is angle of testing and market acceptance for a newer design coming into picture giving further edge to Cupid.

In some ecom sites selling cupid FC, it mentions “patent pending”, so i wonder what’s happening on that front.

If the Piramal things turns out true, that will be a huge boost to volumes and acceptability for Cupid.



I too am searching for answers for questions raised by you. Will hopefully get satisfactory answers as we go along.

"Patent Pending " to me as a lay man, seems to mean that a certain amount of protection ought to be available, but I am not sure.

While we are looking for answers, perhaps one area where Cupid has an edge is that it’s CMD, Mr. Garg is a member of the ISO Technical Committee TC-157, & thereby understands the game far better on a global scale. I suppose this also must, in some measure help in getting approvals from international bodies. Ultimately, it’s these approvals which separates the men from the boys!

Besides, the promoter had doggedly spent a few years researching & developing the Cupid female condom, after he took over the Company sometime in 2008 or thereabouts.

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Cupid is rising rapidly with large volumes. A word of caution is perhaps not out of place. Cupid has seen sharp corrections in the past, & the the guys who are hurt the most are the retail investors, so please be mindful of this.

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Check out the new version of website along with chairman’s talk.
New product water base lubricant jelly will be launched in 2015 itself.
Few more women health & wellness products they are going to launch in next 2 years.

Disc: Invested

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