Marketing review

02 Aug 2007


Omega upbeat on branded jewellery biz
Swiss watch brand Omega had introduced its brand of jewellery in India in March 2007, has now expressed optimism about its Indian business, citing very good growth shown by the branded jewellery market here.

The company launched Omega Fine Jewellery at the Omega boutique in ITC Park Sheraton, Chennai recently

Worldwide, Rings account for up to 65 per cent of the sell-out for Omega jewellery. The range also includes earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants and charms.

About 5 per cent of the jewellery range is in stainless steel, meant for men, including cuff links, money clips and bracelets.

Omega, has been a Swiss watchmaker since 1848 and launched its range of jewellery in 2002. According to the company, demand has shown a steady annualised growth and is now distributed across 250 points of sale in various markets that include China, Hong Kong, Japan, the US and Europe. China and Hong Kong are the biggest markets for the company''s jewellery range.

Omega has five exclusive boutiques in India — in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai — and the jewellery range is being launched in all.

There are four lines in the range, with designs matched to those of various watches made by Omega. Omegamania is inspired by the Greek alphabet Omega; Griffes is based on lion''s claws, representing strength; Sedna is based on a galaxy of stars; and Aqua is a motif of waves.

Fine Jewellery is priced Rs40,000 onwards, with specialised collections for individual markets as of now.

Tata Motors & M&M front runners for Ford''s Rover, Jaguar, Analysts sceptical
The Ford Motor Company so far maintains that no final decisions have been with respect to the sale of its two brands — Jaguar & Rover, quelling expectations of Ford announcing the sale of these brands along with its second quarter results.

Other than Tata Motors, Indian auto major Mahindra & Mahindra is also said to be amongst the list of shortlisted bidders for the two brands. Private equity players Cerebrus and Ripplewood Holdings are also believed to be contenders.

The objective of the sale is to enable Ford to concentrate on its core business strategy, simultaneously ensuring that Jaguar and Land Rover have the ownership, technology and investment structure they need to allow them to reach their full potential.

However, along with the interest generated in the potential Indian acquisition of the two European car companies, analysts are sceptical about the deal on account if the challenges it could pose.

The primary source of the scepticism is that both Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra are yet to establish themselves in the premium segment in the domestic market. This makes the decision to enter the super high-end segment seem like a less strategic move, with managing the brands being one of the biggest challenges.

Another reservation is about the high capital expenditure that both players have already committed to. Tata Motors'' capex is around Rs12,000 crore, while the Mahindra''s have announced plans of a Rs5,000 crore spread over three-four years. These are viewed as largely unsustainable internally, and are bound to need support of their respective group companies.

Also, the fact that Ford itself has not been able to turnaround the two brands makes it all the more daunting a task for both Indian automotive manufacturers. Stringent conditions laid down by Ford such as restraining bidders from shifting production for the next five years, are bound to make it difficult for either company to cut losses to revive the venture.

Samsung bets on washing machines to boost sales
Samsung India Electronics Pvt Ltd has increased focus on its fully automatic washing machines range to drive overall sales, backed by changing consumer preferences towards fully automatic machines.

Samsung has considerably enhanced its fully automatic product line, and is looking at the segment as a revenue driver for the company.

Industry figures show the washing machine category displaying a growth of 23.8 per cent, touching 8.27 lakh units in the five months from January-May 2007. The fully automatic segment grew at a steady 44.5 per cent, while the semi-automatic segment displayed a growth of 17.5 per cent.

Samsung claims a 15.3 per cent market share in the fully automatic segment. It plans to increase this share by 5 percent, by an aggressive expansion of the product range in the fully automatic segment, along with channel expansion and aggressive marketing activity.

The washing machine market, estimated at 1.7 million units in 2006-07, is expected to grow at 15 per cent this fiscal. The segment''s contribution to the overall market was around 31.8 per cent in 2006-07 and is expected to marginally increase to 33 per cent in 2007-08.

Samsung expects a 4-per cent increase in overall revenues to come from the fully automatic washing machines, with the overall revenues going up from 32 per cent in 2006-07 to about 36 per cent in the current fiscal.

As its marketing strategy, the company is supporting regular above-the-line communication via television and print campaigns with several below- the-line activities, such as display contests for dealers, training the in-shop demonstrators at multi-brand outlets, and the on-going ''Dream Home'' road shows. The ''silver nano technology'' in the company''s fully automatic washing machine range is seen as a differentiator.

Volvo Car Corporation expands its India network
New Delhi:
The Volvo Car Corporation has announced an expansion of its dealer network in Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh.

Volvo is to enter the Indian car market with the launch of its sedan S80, and SUV XC90, in both petrol and diesel variants before end-2007. Presently, both cars are awaiting approval on the homologation process.

Volvo is already present in the commercial vehicles segment in the country, and is somewhat preferred vendor for both passenger and freight companies for long distance transportation.

The dealerships will also house accessories, spares, workshop services and body shops along with varied financial services, following Volvo''s global format.

Fiat to offer bi-fuel engines
Fiat India plans to offer bi-fuel engines, specifically manufactured to run on petrol and other fuels like CNG, in both its present and forthcoming models. The company is also keen on promoting turbo variants in its range of engines for forthcoming models.

Initially, the present range such as the Palio Stile would be introduced in the market with a CNG kit, followed by engines developed locally that would be compatible and modified to run on CNG fuel option sans the kit. This option would be available with models such as the Grande Punto and the Linea in the near future.

Turbo power is another focus area for the company, as it offers high end performance without compromising fuel efficiency.

Auto experts opine such engine options could carve out a niche for the company, and help achieve its targeted 5 per cent market share by 2010.

Fiat is currently offering a niche model on these lines in the form of the Palio Stile 1.6 litre -100bhp model, priced at Rs 4.45 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

BSNL launches new landline scheme from Aug 1
Nagpur: The BSNL Maharashtra Circle has announced the launch of a consumer-friendly scheme, which allows the company''s customers to make an unlimited number of landline-to-landline calls within the state and neighbouring Goa "free", via an add-on package of Rs149.

The scheme, `Maharashtra-Goa Unlimited'', is scheduled to be launched from August 1, according to BSNL chief general manager, BSNL Maharashtra Circle, Chandraprakash. Besides this, the pulse rate for calls to BSNL mobiles within Maharashtra and Goa has been changed from the present one minute to three minutes, without any increase in charges. This scheme will be in effect for a limited period.

Mr Chandraprakash said there were 30 lakh BSNL mobile connections and 25 lakhs will be added soon in the Circle.

High realty prices could deter growth of retail ind: Mittal
New Delhi: Mittal led Bharti Enterprises, which has announced joint venture plans with US retail giant Wal-Mart for its foray into the business, commented that rising real estate prices could dampen the growth of the organised retail industry in the country.

One the sidelines of a CII function, Bharti Enterprises Chairman and CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal told reporters, "The rising real estate prices are a matter of concern for the retail sector."

Bharti Enterprises has also floated a real estate outfit of its own that would mostly meet its requirements for the retail business.

Bharti''s first retail store is scheduled to open next year, for which the hiring and training people has started. The Bharti had announced that it would have two ventures with Wal-Mart -- one for the franchise arrangement and the other for cash and carry (wholesale) business.

While Bharti will have a majority stake in the franchise joint venture, the US giant would contribute major equity in the back-end business.

Air India to form a joint venture for ground handling services
New Delhi: Air India plans to tie up with global companies via a joint venture to take up ground handling activities at airports both within the country and abroad.

The airline already has a JV with Singapore Air Terminal Services (SATS) to provide ground handling services at Bangalore and Hyderabad airports, and according to airline sources, wants to seek Expressions of Interest for similar activities in India and abroad.

Air India has annual earnings of over Rs550 crore originating from ground handling activities, and has an 80 per cent market share of the services in Indian airports, following its merger with domestic partner Indian.

The airlines'' move for joint ventures on the ground comes with the backdrop of the government''s decision to have only three agencies manage these services at all airports across the country from January 2009.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation decided agencies which would carry out these services should be a specialized subsidiary or joint venture firm established by national airlines, Airports Authority of India or other airport operators, and a ground handling company selected via competitive bidding on a revenue-sharing basis.

The completely merged Air India will have six Special Business Units.

IBM initiates revolutionary transport innovations
Chennai: IBM, the software major, has launched a few innovations set to revolutionise the transport system. These innovations introduce artificial intelligence in vehicles and traffic management systems, voice recognition technology and traffic-related information transfer through cell phones.

These innovations are slated to make travelling by planes, trains and automobiles more convenient and hassle-free within the next few years, according to a company release. These would also curtail fuels wastage and cut down on the incidence of accidents.

The emerging technologies especially in communication will make travel safer, more streamlined and able to accommodate ever-increasing growth demands. Using driver-assist technologies, automobiles could possibly behave as if they have reflexes, being able to sense other cars and avoid hazards. They would also be able to exchange information with each other, take corrective actions as appropriate, and provide essential feedback to drivers.

The voice recognition systems installed in vehicles would allow drivers to access real-time updates, respond to emails and get driving directions via simple voice commands. The system would also help them adjust cabin temperature, and make hands-free phone calls.

IBM''s intelligent traffic systems factor in heavy vehicular flows and will make adjustments to traffic lights to ease congestion and clear paths for emergency vehicles. Sensor technologies, GPS and satellites will provide information to motorists on the routes to be avoided for driving and parking during peak hours.

Travellers would get notification of train and bus delays via cell phones and also on whether an alternative route was safer and more convenient.

However, no timeline was specified for the implementation and adoption of these technologies.

Essar Telecom Retail aims at Rs3,000-crore turnover by 2010
Mumbai: Essar Telecom Retail, which retails mobile phones and accessories for the Ruias, is looking at an excess of Rs3,000 crore in turnover by 2010, leveraging a footprint in 600 cities through nearly 3,000 stores.

According to Essar Telecom Retail Ltd CEO and director Rajiv Agarwal, "We expect to corner more than 10 per cent share of the Rs 30,000 crore mobile phone market over the next three years,"

The company expects to capture a five per cent share of the Rs80,000 crore telephone services sector, involving mobile recharges and other value-added services by 2010.

At present, Essar has a network of 220 stores under the brand "The Mobile Store," which it plans to enhance to at least 700 by end March 2008. The chain has a presence in Tier I and II cities, and is now looking to grow into Tier III cities.

Essar Telecom Retail also announced a partnership with ''Planet-M,'' the music and home entertainment retail chain, for increasing presence through the shop-in-shop mode. Through the tie-up, the company has opened in 40 Mobile Stores in Planet-M stores across the country.

Spanish fashion firm Zara in talks with Future Group, to enter India
Kolkata: Spanish fashion apparel brand Zara is keen on exploring opportunities to enter India, and has held talks with Future group and Shopper''s Stop.

According to sources, Shopper''s Stop had been in talks with Zara even before looking at a possible tie-up with Macy''s. The Future Group is learnt to be not so keen on working on the import centric model proposed by Zara.

Globally Zara is known for its marketing strategy of timely delivery of goods. According to some industry analysts, in India, the lead-time in the fashion apparel space is at least 3-4 months, and the retail industry here does not presently have the kind of supply chain management system in place, which will take time to evolve.

Sources also said that Zara generally follows the import model, choosing not to opt for local manufacturing with any of its partners worldwide, as it provides for the company to retain control over both product and manufacturing. It is not looking to divert from this business model in India too.

Zara is the flagship brand of Spanish retail group Inditex SA. The brand''s marketing strategy and popularity do not really call for celebrity endorsements. Zara''s fashion offerings are slightly varied from the mainstream, but affordable, and the brand has a strong presence in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and several other places.

PepsiCo foresees three-fold growth in 5 years
Mumbai: PepsiCo India has lined up aggressive expansion plans envisaging a doubling of its turnover within three years, and trebling it in the next five years.

For the global beverages major, growth drivers will accrue from non-carbonated drinks segment, which are mainly the juices and enhanced water segments and not the traditional cola business. Recent consumer trends have seen the trend move from aerated waters towards a healthier lifestyle, spurring demand for these segments.

PepsiCo is focusing on juices and fruit drinks market, and sees itself as the king of the juice segment. Over the next five years, the company foresees the non-carbonated drinks business larger than its carbonated business, a testament to changing consumption trends in the domestic beverage market.

PepsiCo India and arch rival Coke had to combat several unforeseen challenges in the recent past that affected their growth. The company is banking on the economic boom and a spurt in organised retail trade that facilitates a better shopping environment, thereby facilitating consumption.

The per capita consumption is minuscule for all soft drinks, at less than 10 per capita in the carbonated drinks segment and 15 per capita in non-carbonated segment.

Gatorade, a popular global sports drink brand, is at its pilot stage and is scheduled to hit the shelves on a large scale sometime next year.

Samsonite to sell footwear in India
Samsonite India will soon sell its footwear in the country through its stores.

After its launch in Italy, the company has decided to launch these products in India and Korea. The company feels there is a lacuna in the Indian market for formal travel shoes, and expects to compete with the retailer-based Indian brands in the market.

The footwear market today is primarily controlled by retail brands such as Regal and Metro shoes, and Samsonite perceives a vacuum in the space for international footwear brands, even though Geox and Bally have entered India. Priced between Rs2,000 and Rs4,000, the unisex range of footwear is designed by Italian designer Alberto Bontioni, and will be partly made in India through a licensing arrangement with a third party manufacturer.

Samsonite expects footwear sales in India to contribute between Rs200 and Rs250 crore over the next three years. After India and Korea, Samsonite plans to take its footwear to West Asia. Samsonite India also plans to launch its licensee brands Timberland and Lacoste (accessories) later this year.

KFC to broad-base its menu for growth
New Delhi: KFC India is ''Indianising'' its products, and also plans to introduce a large number of items from its international menu to make its mark in the domestic quick service restaurant (QSR) market.

Since its relaunch in 2004, the company has been doing better than earlier, and has developed a full-fledged strategy. As part of the roll out strategy in India, the company will focus on introducing ''Indianised'' versions of the menu, as well as offer a large variety of items on its overseas menus.

The list of possible finalists for the menu comprises popular zingers, a variety of burgers, and the twisters, which are basically tortillas wrapped in a whole lot of greens and chicken.

Mapping footfalls at its outlets in the country, the company says that over 50 per cent of its consumers are the youth, which is why it initially plans to cater to that segment before the rest of the population.

On its marketing and communications strategy, the company said that it had recently concluded a television campaign for its flagship product, hot ''n'' crispy chicken. After the campaign, the company has seen an increase of almost 30 per cent in sales.

Going forward KFC intends to do more rounded and complete communication campaigns for the whole of KFC and not just a particular product.

Having earlier faced protests in India and abroad on its chicken breeding practices, KFC is now playing chain this time is playing safe and sourcing from Pune-based poultry major, Venky''s.

KFC is also going to include health-oriented facts in the marketing communications of its products. The company says all its chicken products have 100 per cent chicken, and not minced meat like some of its competition. Also, the oil it uses is totally trans fat-free.

KFC India had to earlier shut shop in the 1990s following heavy protests from anti-multinational groups and the animal rights'' protector, PETA. This time around the company intends to play it safer for a better run, and plans to open 100 KFC outlets in the next three years.

UK-based Veetee Fine Foods enters ready-to-eat segment
UK-based Veetee Fine Foods, exporters of premium basmati rice to over 50 countries globally, has entered the ready-to-eat market with its range of rice and curries, having invested $3 million on machinery and other infrastructure.

Packaged in microwavable pouches, the range comprises 15 North Indian curries such as aloo choley and dal makhani, and three rice based dishes (vegetable biriyani, cumin rice and pulao) — in 300 gm (curries) packs and 250 gm (rice) packs. These dishes have also been sent to countries such as the UK, Switzerland, US and New Zealand.

The company''s product offering has been launched in Kolkata, and is soon to be rolled out in Bangalore Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Pune, via all modern and traditional retail formats.

The company evaluates the RTE segment in the country to be worth around Rs200 crore, and foresees it growing to around Rs500-600 crore in about five years, by which time it hopes to have acquired about 30 per cent market. In the international segment, the company expects to account for 70 per cent of sales.

Veetee Fine Foods has a manufacturing unit in Haryana, which is capable of producing 60 lakh pouches per annum. The company hopes to sell 2 million pouches in the first year of operation across markets.

Veetee''s expanded product pipeline comprises ready-to-eat combo meals, rice treats, ready-to-drink soups, sweets and desserts, South Indian dishes and global cuisines such as Chinese to start with. Next month, the company plans to launch a health drink, and is researching to make frozen parathas as well.

Veetee Fine Foods produces 100,000 tonnes of rice, 70 per cent of which is exported to retail chains such as Tesco, Cosco and Wal-Mart.

Future Group investing Rs100 crore in gyms
Kishore Biyani''s Future Group is to set up ''children education centres'' in malls within the next two months, as part of the company''s strategy to innovate and offer varied services to the consumer.

The company forayed into the health, fitness and gym services within shopping malls and consumption centres via Talwalkars Fit & Active, a 50:50 joint venture last year. Furthering its venture, the Group has proposed the setting up of 50 gyms at a cost of Rs100 crore by next year.

Both Talwalkars and The Future Group will pool in the initial capital of Rs25 crore equally, and the remaining funding will accrue from membership fees and debt.

Each fitness centre is to be spread over an area of 7,000 to 20,000 sq ft, and plans to house a juice bar or an indoor swimming pool, in addition to the gym and spa.

Nestle India increasing focus on dairy biz
New Delhi:
Contrary to reports of Nestle India exiting its dairy business in the country, the company made public its enthusiasm on the segment, and has tied up with several regional dairies to extend its national footprint.

Nestle has tied up with Andhra Pradesh-based Heritage Foods India Ltd in the South, Bengal Nester in the East and Dynamix Dairy Industries Ltd in the West for sourcing milk, as well as processing, packaging and supplying across the geography of these areas.

The company has built Moga in Punjab as its procurement haven, by sourcing the bulk of its milk requirement, about 10 lakh litres per day.

Given current consumer trends towards health and wellness, the Nestle India is stepping on the gas for its dairy business, with several in the dairy division since 2006 in terms of packaging and product variations.

The company is experiencing over 20 per cent growth in the division. Dairy products such as ice cream and cheese were not being considered by the company due to their ''not so healthy'' reputation, despite contributing their fair share of revenues to the dairy business worldwide.

The focus areas for Nestle will now be healthy products such as liquid milk and its variants as well as yoghurt. The company believes both categories hold immense untapped opportunities. The firm''s product portfolio is already made up of products like milk in cartons, slim milk, Fresh ''n Natural Dahi, Slim Dahi, Jeera Raita and fruit-flavoured yoghurts.

The company also plans to increase marketing, admitting that it has not been aggressively promoting dairy products, with TV advertising for its Fresh ''n'' Natural range being its only marketing endeavour in the segment.

Dabur unveils roadmap to double sales, profits
FMCG company Dabur has removed the veil from its Vision 2010 plan, that aims to double sales and profits by the end of the decade. The company sees health, home care, food and acquisitions as the main growth drivers.

The company estimates domestic business to contribute 84 per cent of its total sales by 2010, with the share of personal care being 30 per cent of the total business. Health care''s share would be the next biggest, at 27 per cent. Inorganic growth will contribute about 4 per cent of the total sales of the company. Geographically, the share of the South will go up from 9 per cent to about 15 per cent by 2010.

The main goal of Dabur''s growth strategy is a balanced portfolio. While health care''s share will go up from 27 per cent to 32 per cent by 2010, personal care will witness a decline from 41 per cent to 30 per cent, and hair care will grow from 4 per cent to 6 per cent. Foods will see a marginal increase from 10 per cent to 13 per cent.

What is interesting is that Dabur''s rural growth has outstripped its urban growth in almost every category.

Dabur has also decided to use excess manufacturing capacity to generate "profitable" private business, and will identify manufacturing locations in focus countries, provided it makes economic sense from a "total delivered cost" perspective.

The company has also revamped its marketing in the South, and is planning to make existing products more relevant to the regional consumers. It has made significant investments on ads in various regional channels in the south for selected brands, and is planning to hire a few movie stars to endorse some of its brands as well.

United Bank plans marketing gold coins
United Bank of India (UBI) now proposes to start marketing of gold coins for which it has sought the approval of the Reserve Bank of India.

The bank is finalising arrangements with suppliers, and has identified 50 branches presently for the initiative.

UTI Bank rechristened Axis Bank
The country''s third largest private lender, UTI Bank, has changed its name to Axis Bank.

The UTI brand is owned by UTI Asset Management Company, which is owned by shareholders who have nothing to do with UTI Bank''s largest shareholder, SUTI.

UTI Bank was authorised to use the UTI name for five years, an arrangement that expired in January this year. The bank has hired advertising firm O&M to help with the re-branding exercise, and to create brand awareness across the country, at a likely spend of Rs50 crore. The bank will have a new logo and colour scheme.

Subhiksha now eyes mobile phone market
Discount retail chain Subhiksha, which is currently the largest retailer in the country counting in 780 stores across nine States has taken the discount format to encompass mobile phones, with aims to be the largest national retail chain for cell phones.

Started on an experimental basis in Delhi in July 2006, Subhiksha has scaled up to 145 exclusive Subhiksha Mobile stores in the NCR, Punjab, Gujarat, and in Mumbai and Chennai. It has opened 15 stores in Chennai and wants to take the counter up to 30 by year end, finally counting in at around 400 stores across the country by March 2008.

Other competing chains, which have a network of stores, are the Modi''s owned Hot Spot and Essar Telecom owned The Mobile Store. Subhiksha expects sales of around two lakh mobiles a month within the next six months. Additionally, the company sells mobile phones via 285 supermarkets through its shop-in-shop model.

Lancer Cedia Selects LPG
Facing dwindling sales of the Lancer Cedia, Mitsubishi maker in India Hindustan Motors (HM) now aims to provide more choice to its customers through a dual-fuel option for the premium sedan.

The Lancer Cedia Select is set to roll out with a factory-fitted dual-fuel option that leaves it equally powerful and fuel efficient while running on petrol or LPG. The new variant attempts to widen the target customer base for the Lancer Cedia, appealing to fuel-efficiency-conscious buyers.

The dual fuel Cedia Select will be lower on emissions, with the fuel combination being petrol or auto LPG. HM said that the Cedia Select''s advanced microprocessor-controlled technology makes it possible for the car to deliver better fuel efficiency on two different fuels without compromising on performance.

The Cedia Select incorporates ''Sequent'' type technology for effective performance on LPG, which is sourced from BRC Italy, and uses a 32-bit microprocessor that syncs real time with the engine''s ECU (electronic control unit).

With a ''full tank'' of 50 litres of petrol and another 48-63 litres of auto LPG, the Cedia Select is ideally suited of covering well over 1,000 km at a stretch before a re-fuelling pit stop.

The factory-fitted Cedia variant comes with all the premium features (air bags, ABS with EBD, MP3 CD player, wood and titanium finish, chrome door handles, windshield antennae, and alloy wheels) and is priced at Rs8.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The running cost is expected to be about Rs3 per km in city driving while the auto LPG is in use.

HM''s monsoon sales campaign is seeing the Mitsubishi Lancer available to buyers at special prices of Rs6.54 - Rs7.59 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). During the monsoon promo, HM''s highest selling variant in the Lancer range, the diesel LXd variant, is to be offered at Rs7.5 lakh.

Following the policy of ''One country, one price'' HM has offered this special price to Lancer buyers across the country.

The LXd model of Mitsubishi Lancer is said to provide the right balance of driving comfort, ownership cost and value for money, and is loaded with premium features such as power windows, MP3 player, electric mirror control, rear AC ducts, height adjustable seat belts, gas filled shock absorbers, keyless entry, central locking, tilt steering and driver''s foot rest. The Mitsubishi Lancer LXi (petrol) and LXd (diesel) are available in six colours at 37 dealerships across the country.

BMW launches 5 series sedan
New Delhi:
with the domestic luxury car market showing robust growth, BMW India has lined up a series of launches to widen its product offering in the Indian market.

The company announced the launch of its 5 series sedan on Tuesday. The diesel version of the X5 is slated to be launched by end 2007, and the X3 and M series would be introduced sometime next year. Calendar year 2007 has so far seen sales of 424 units, of which over 300 included 3 series, with the balance being the 7 series.

The company has revised its annual sales target to 1,200 units basis its order intake. Earlier it had planned for sales of 1,000 units. Starting August, the BMW sedan 5 Series would be available with prices ranging from Rs37 lakh - Rs45 lakh (ex-showroom).

Berger looks at overseas options for its hues
Kolkata: Berger Paints is seeking acquisitions in foreign markets. The company''s greenfield manufacturing facility in Russia has recently commenced production, and the paints major is now exploring opportunities in China, Brazil, Russia and eastern European countries.

Back in India, the company is investing Rs15 crore for the manufacture of automotive paint at a new facility in Pune.

Russia is a focus market for Berger Paints, given its big potential. The present plant at 3000 tpa for decorative and industrial paints will line up major expansions after some time.

Budget hotels to surf the mall pull
Kolkata: Budget category hotels are evaluating the top floors of malls as a serious option to save on real estate expenses and synergise fixed costs like insurance and other public- liability costs, as well as food and beverages.

Usually, mall owners find it tough to attract consumers to buy space above the fourth floor, unless there are very strong entertainment anchors. According to analysts, combining malls with hotels is an already proven business model in southeast Asia - especially Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Floor space closer to the ground commands a higher rental in malls. This makes it ideal for hotels to rationalise their real-estate costs, given that real estate forms 50 per cent of a hotel room costs in India. Typically, this model will leverage lease plans and rentals, rather than sale of real estate on higher floors.

According to reports, Ginger Hotels has tied up with Aerens for a mall in Ludhiana, and with Ansal API for their malls across India. Smilarly, Lemon Tree Hotels, with its Red Fox brand, has reportedly upto three hotels in the pipeline atop malls in Ghaziabad, Pune and Jaipur.

Malls offer budget hotels with locational advantages, as most are located centrally. The synergy in F&B reduces costs and increases efficiency. On the flip side, analysts warn that in a "mixed use" scenario, hotels preferably need a dedicated driveway and lobby on the ground floor, along with dedicated elevators. Moreover, security is a huge factor that has to be kept in mind.

Reckitt sees Dettol becoming a Rs1,000-crore brand
New Delhi: FMCG major Reckitt Benckiser (India) Ltd, famous for popular brands like Dettol and Cherry Blossom, expects to more than double revenues in three years to Rs2,500 crores. Moreover, it sees its antiseptic brand Dettol alone adding Rs1,000 crore to its top-line.

According to the company, presently the penetration of personal and home hygiene products in India stands at a small six per cent, which is the niche the company will leverage over the next few years, increasing penetration in this segment and growing exponentially over the next few years along with the market. The company operates on a calendar year basis and had closed 2006 with revenues of Rs1,200 crore.

Dettol has become a synonymous for antisepctics in India, and had a turnover of Rs400 crore last fiscal. It is the biggest brand retailed by Reckitt Benckiser India, and is expected to become a Rs1,000 crore brand by 2010.

The company is mulling to add several new products in its portfolio in order to achieve its turnover target by 2010 and would launch the first such product in the next three months.

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