In-Depth SWOT Analysis of UPL: The Global Leader in Sustainable Solutions

Updated on: Nov 19, 2021
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My name is Aditya Shastri and I have written this case study with the help of my students from IIDE's online digital marketing courses in India.

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In this blog post, we will look at the SWOT Analysis of UPL and break it down intensively, just as we did the marketing strategy of UPL.

UPL Limited, formerly known as United Phosphorus Limited, is a multinational corporation that manufactures and sells a variety of chemical solutions as well as crop protection alternatives.

Managed by the Shroff family, UPL Limited has been in operation since 1969 and is heavily involved in agro and non-agro activities. Despite being one of the top five post-patent agrochemicals companies in the world, only a select few appear to be familiar with the organization. 

By exploring the different elements of the SWOT Analysis of UPL, let’s see how effective their positioning and marketing efforts have been throughout the years. Learn more about the different types of digital marketing techniques and how the world is changing around it by checking out our Free MasterClass on Digital Marketing 101 by the CEO and Founder of IIDE, Karan Shah. 

Let’s obtain a clear grasp of UPL’s history, products, and competitors before we dive into the SWOT Analysis of UPL.

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About UPL

United Phosphorus Limited, headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, was founded on the 29th of May 1969 by Mr Rajnikant Shroff (popularly saluted as India’s “Crop Protection King”) through the production of Red Phosphorus. In October 2013, the company changed its name to UPL Limited.

The company operates in three segments (agrochemical, industrial chemicals & others) and has launched more than 100 insecticides, fumigants, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc, in the past years. Their target market consists primarily of farmers who are directly involved in agricultural output.

UPL is a serious leader in crop protection products, with customers in 123 countries and 23 manufacturing facilities around the world. They first entered Agchem in 1976 and ever since, they’ve been through a great deal of adventure! 

UPL has powerful research and development (R&D) capabilities and is deeply engaged in company acquisitions. They were later listed on the Indian Stock Exchange in 1984. Some awards they’ve won are the CSR Person of the year award 2018, Leadership awards 2018, and 101 Most Impactful CSR Leaders (Global) 2019, respectively.

SWOT Analysis of UPL - UPL being awarded ICC Lifetime Achievement Award

UPL being awarded ICC Lifetime Achievement Award for the Entrepreneur for the year 2010

                 Quick Stats About UPL

Founder Mr Rajnikant Shroff
Year Founded 1969
Origin Mumbai
No. of Employees 7,435
Company Type Public
Market Cap Rs 551.64 Billion (2021)
Annual Revenue Rs 386.94 Billion (2020)
Net Income/ Profit Rs 28.71 Billion (2021)


Products of UPL

Having been in the agrochemical industry for over 50 years, UPL has expanded its product range to better fit the needs of many farmers. They include:

  • Conventional agrochemical products 
  • Seeds
  • Agricultural-related products
  • Industrial chemical
  • Non-agricultural related products

Competitors of UPL

UPL’s closest competitors include:

  • Khaitan Chemicals & Fertilizers
  • Agria Corporation
  • CVR Partners
  • Koch Agronomic Services
  • Dai Ichi Karkaria Ltd
  • Ciba India Ltd
  • Doctors Biotech India Ltd

Since we have a wider perspective about the organization’s key products & market, let’s go ahead and observe the SWOT Analysis of UPL Limited.

SWOT Analysis of UPL

A SWOT analysis is a marketing framework that is used to properly evaluate a company’s competitive position and develop plans and strategies. This considers a company’s internal and external factors, as well as its ongoing and prospective potential.

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Let us proceed with the strengths of UPL Limited:

Strengths of UPL

What makes an organization successful is when it has distinctly identified its advantages to capture consumers and become the market leader. Listed below are UPL’s key strengths:

  • Global Operations: UPL has 23 manufacturing plants around the world that use cutting-edge technology and quality control to enable the growth of phosphorus.
  • Strong R&D Facilities: As mentioned previously, UPL maintains a very powerful R&D system while taking over many companies across the globe.
  • Large Customer Base: The number of countries involved speaks for itself; customers from 123 countries demonstrate this company’s high market reach and a solid network.
  • High Annual Revenue: When comparing annual figures, it is clear that there has been a significant increase in UPL’s revenue; during the years 2020-21, an 8 per cent increase in sales from operations from Rs.35,756 crore to Rs.38,694 crore has been observed delectably.

Weaknesses of UPL

Weaknesses are the specific traits of a company that may require some tweaking. UPL’s major defects are:

  • Seasonal Demand: For consumers to purchase agrochemical solutions, the weather must be favourable. As a result, seasonal demand may occur causing fluctuations in UPL’s sales and cash flows.
  • Pure Generic Company: UPL falls under the “generic company” category whereas other large multinationals produce new biochemical molecules.
  • Social Media Presence: UPL Limited has a decent presence on the major social media platforms, showing its good understanding of the current marketing methods. As we all know in today’s digital world a strong social media presence could be a game-changer for a company. So, if you are interested to be a marketer, you should check out our social media marketing course to add this beneficial skill to your skill-set.

Opportunities for UPL

Potential external factors identified for a company to focus on to achieve its intended outcomes are referred to as opportunities.

  • Emerging Economies: Having based their parent company in India, the demand for food crops is never-ending! This is clearly due to the country’s ever-increasing population. Also, global markets such as Brazil & the United States have enabled a boost in sales & market growth.
  • High Barriers to Entry: Due to stringent environmental legislation and procedures, there are extremely high entry barriers, giving UPL and its competitors an advantage.
  • Few Competitors: The agrochemical industry is an oligopolistic market with only a few major players, resulting in high growth potential.

Threats for UPL

Last but not least, we must be aware of the different types of threats that may adversely impact UPL’s growth:

  • Unfavourable Weather: Weather patterns may be unpredictable and hence, will negatively impact the prospects of the company & the agrochemical industry.
  • Currency Fluctuations: UPL has been exporting its crops since 1976 and the biggest enemy dealing with global markets are the changes in exchange rates.
  • Firm Environmental Legislation: There are strict laws and procedures to follow when operating in this industry and failure to do so may lead to penalization.
  • Inflation in Raw Material Prices: A rise in prices will affect UPL’s financial statements and will result in low profits & revenues.

This ends our illuminating SWOT analysis of UPL. Let us conclude our learnings below.

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To Conclude

The evaluation of the SWOT Analysis of UPL enabled us to recognize how factors such as global operations and customers from all over the world have contributed to the development of a stronger brand image in the agrochemical industry while achieving high revenue and market share. 

However, while receiving the utmost pleasure from the opportunities available, UPL must also deal with unavoidable threats such as inclement weather and economic factors such as currency fluctuations when producing and exporting. 

With the world evolving more towards digital marketing, UPL can consider being well-versed and knowledgeable in this area so they can continue to achieve their targeted outcomes. If you are willing to learn more about the various types of Digi-marketing techniques & concepts, check out IIDE’s 3 Month Advanced Online Digital Marketing Course and register today!

For more extensive digital presence evaluations on other companies just like SWOT Analysis of UPL, you can go through our IIDE Knowledge portal and dive into in-depth analysis!

We hope you found this blog on SWOT Analysis of UPL to be interesting and useful! Do share your thoughts and views within the comment section below.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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