IT HAS remained a well kept secret for a while. ITC is now the principal supplier of value-added packaging material and box cartons for every Nokia cellphone that gets shipped to as many as 50 countries from the Finnish telecom giant’s Chennai factory. Nokia has silently inked a bulk purchase agreement with the $4.75-billion plus cigarettes-to-hotels conglomerate, wherein ITC is now the prime vendor of packaging material and customised microfluted cartons for all Nokia phones and accessories manufactured in Channai.

When contacted, both Nokia India and ITC confirmed the development. According to a Nokia India spokeswoman: “The decision to enter into a global purchase pact with ITC for packaging cellphones manufactured in Chennai is part of Nokia’s global sourcing strategy, wherein the packaging
material and box cartons are procured from a local supplier near to its handset manufacturing plant. We can’t share commercials but such international purchase agreements are reviewed periodically.”

As Nokia phones shipped from Chennai hit several global retail points in 50 countries, ITC has to manufacture boxes that meet the Finnish player’s stringent quality standards. “Since all sales boxes and the larger shipping cartons supplied by ITC will carry the Nokia brand and hit several of our international retail points, quality consistency is critical. The boxes will also need to have very high grade image graphics and texture,” said Mr Josh Foulger, who is Nokia’s national sourcing head for India.