Marketing review

23 Aug 2007


Raymond to open 100 stores for Notting Hill
New Delhi:
Raymond Apparel plans to open a hundred exclusive men''s apparel brand ''Notting Hill'' retail outlets across India by March 2009.

The first outlet is getting ready for launch in the national capital, and would most probably open next month, with another 9 planned for inauguration by the end of the current fiscal year.

The company expects a turnover of Rs25 crore from ''Notting Hill'', after which it would revise its sales numbers. ''Notting Hill'' has been launched to primarily cater to the mid-segment of the men''s apparel market in the country.

Designed in-house, the Notting Hill range comprises suits, shirts, trousers, jeans, T-shirts, and accessories such as ties and socks. It is primarily targeting the working men population in metros and semi-urban cities.

According to the company, the new brand offers an excellent combination of fashion, quality and affordability, and has the potential to tap the Rs5000-crore mid-segment of menswear in the country.

Raymonds Apparel is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Raymonds Ltd., and has some well known brand as part of its stable, including Park Avenue, Parx, Manzoni and ColorPlus.

ITC to introduce small hypermarkets to rural areas
New Delhi:
ITC Ltd has announced that it plans to set up new small format ''hypermarket'' stores in rural areas, along the lines of its existing rural Choupal Sagar chain, by early next year. The company also plans to up scale its retail operations.

The company is reportedly planning a significant number of smaller Choupal Sagar stores at 40 locations out of 170 across the country, where ITC runs its big format stores.

The company plans to achieve significant penetration in the rural areas, which are characterised by lower income levels, through smaller Choupal Sagar stores that cover around one acre of area. These stores would cost about Rs2 crore apiece, and would be set up in the rural and semi-rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

ITC is seeking a many-fold increase in its number of e-Choupal, a platform where villagers can access internet, in the coming five - six years, with plans to expand it from around 6,400 in 130 districts to 20,000 across 350 districts. The company also plans to open around 200 new ''Choupal Fresh'' outlets in major towns of the country, which would include metros, in a move to expand the retail points to the urban areas. The urban retail chain focuses on stocking fresh horticulture produce like fruits and vegetables, for which ITC has set up cold chain.

The company presently has three Choupal Fresh stores located in Pune, Hyderabad and Chandigarh, and the number is likely to go up to 50 in these three cities by this fiscal. The second phase of the project would see ITC set up 140 new stores in other cities, which would include Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.

The company is also focusing on strengthening its health services in rural India. It has already experimented with the concept in Madhya Pradesh, and has plans to expand into Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

India likely to be venue for Toyota small car project says chairman Fujio Cho
The world''s most profitable automaker, Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp says that it is looking at launching a small car within two years, with the first production facility likely to be located in India.

Fujio Cho, chairman, Toyota Motors, told reporters on the sidelines of the Indo-Japan business conference attended by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, "We are thinking of several countries but maybe first production will be here."

Toyota, running neck and neck with General Motors to claim the mantle of the world''s largest automaker after having moved ahead of Ford Motor Co, is developing a low-cost car that it expects to sell in emerging and, possibly, the more developed markets.

Toyota is said to be weighing its options between India and Brazil for locating the small car project. Toyota is reported to be toying with the idea of building a new plant with a 1000,000- vehicle per annum capacity near its existing 60,000-vehicle capacity plant near Bangalore.

Cho said, "We have plenty of room in Bangalore facility. If we build new plant, we will build in current facility," he said. Toyota owns 430 acres of land at the site

Toyota sold 48,000 vehicles in India in 2006.

Spurred by Tata Motors determination to build a small car priced at about Rs1 lakh by the second half of 2008, has attracted other automakers like French car maker Renault, which despite making the no-frills Logan sedan with Mahindra & Mahindra, has initiated talks with Bajaj Auto Ltd to make a "very competitive vehicles" in India.

Annual passenger vehicle sales in India are forecast to nearly double to 2 million units by 2010, with over two-thirds of the market expected to be accounted for by small cars.

Image makeover on at Union Bank
A business, organisational and process makeover is on at the Union Bank of India, which is likely to be capped by an extensive re-branding exercise during the final stages of implementation.

The made over 88-year-old public sector bank will be unveiled by March - April 2008, in tome for the new financial. The most visible change will be the new logo, which will be accompanied by a comprehensive corporate communication strategy.

The Boston Consulting Group has been appointed as advisor to the bank for its business and process re-engineering efforts, the most immediate impact of which will be felt in the form of a renewed focus on the retail, SME and agri-business sectors.

Back office processes such as clearing, account opening, cheque book issuing and dispatch of account statements are slated to be spun off from branches to centralised back-offices.

The bank has set up a centralised data centre in Mumbai, with an onsite back-up server and an offsite mirroring facility in Bangalore. Almost half of the bank''s branch network has completed migration to this core banking platform, with the remaining expected to follow suit over the next few months.

Small retailers strike back: Organise dry fruit festival to counter malls
It may seem experimental, but a small section of Mumbai-based retail traders have decided do something that can be replicated by small local traders in different parts of the country, across major food commodities.

The Mumbai Mewa Masala Merchants Association, a little known trade body outside the city''s trading hotspots, comprises around 60 traders who deal mainly in dry fruits. They have their retail outlets concentrated in the Masjid Bunder area, a few minutes drive from downtown Fort area in South Mumbai.

For the first time, the association is launching what it calls a mega shopping festival to aggressively market dry fruits over an extended period of over 10 weeks, i.e. 25 August to 14 November, which coincides with a series of major Indian festivals such as Ganesh Chathurthi, Navrathri and Diwali, during which the demand for dry fruits sees an exponential expansion.

This festival is a clear strike against the new age retail format malls as the small Dry fruit retailers perceive mushrooming shopping malls a threat to their business. A shopping festival is a sure-fire way to attract customers and promote sales, they feel.

Traditional retail traders in the dry fruits business argue that they are better equipped than malls to meet the specific needs of discerning customers, on account of highly personalised service, and the sheer variety (different qualities, grades, sizes, prices) they offer. Malls, on the other hand, score on visibility, but have a limited range of products.

The average price of products at the mewa festival is assured to be almost 30 per cent lower than the product line up at malls. Clearly, small retailers are set to score on product variety, and personalised service, in the face of pressure on their profit margins. They are also set to do one more thing - convert the traditional dry fruit retail shopping experiences into a more pleasant and friendly one.

The commercial Masjid Bunder area in Mumbai, home to virtually the metro''s entire wholesale market till recently, has a history dating back almost 200 years. It was the wholesale market for several other commodities, until most wholesale markets were shifted across the harbour to the twin city Navi Mumbai''s Vashi area in the ''80s and the ''90s to help decongest the metro.

The 60-odd mewa (dry fruit) merchants have been in business for generations, and have decided to add some aggressiveness to their sales pitch. Customer trust and confidence, parameters largely unaddressed by modern retail formats, are something that these small retailers specialise in, having developed their goodwill over generation, which they believe will stand them in good stead.

Attractively decorated shops, lucky draws, and cash prizes further sweeten the deal for customers who do decide to give up the airconditioned, clinically clean malls for a more authentic ''Indian - bazaar'' experience.

NDTV 24X7 forays into Europe
New Delhi:
NDTV has announced an extension of its English news channel NDTV 24x7 coverage in Europe.

NDTV''s flagship channel will soon be available on GlobeCast''s pay television WorldTV, across continental Europe.

The channel has already established a presence in the UK on BSkyB network, and is one of the few channels, which caters to the growing demand for a quality English news channel from India in continental Europe.

HomeCare plans opening more branded stores
HomeCare Retail Marts Pvt Ltd (HomeCare) unveiled plans to invest Rs300 crore over the coming three years period for setting up branded stores in several cities.

Around 200 new stores of varying sizes would be set up using this investment and time period.

The retailing company plans to set up super centres, hypermarkets, supermarkets and speciality chain stores, supported by a fully integrated supply chain that would also include captive organic food farms.

The company is better known for its Magnet stores, a national retail brand that runs large format stores, which usually cover an approximate 60,000 sq ft area. HomeCare has operations in Mumbai and Pune, with plans to expand into Ahmedabad and Bangalore. It operates on the hub-and-spoke model, and plans to move into metro and mini-metro cities once it has secured a spot in Ahmedabad and Bangalore by this year-end.

HomeCare has selected Oracle''s Retail application to help it roll out a dynamic, standardised and integrated IT infrastructure to better manage its business.

Bank of India plans to revamp its credit cards business
Bank of India (BOI) is seeking to revamp its credit card business to enhance business from this segment and is reportedly considering the options of whether to have it in-house or float a subsidiary or have the business in partnership with another bank.

The bank has about 7 lakh credit card holders at the moment and intends to focus on avoiding bad loans in the form of card debt.

The bank has appointed consulting firm KPMG to make a recommendation.

To optimise its business mix, the bank is focusing on management its non-performing assets (NPAs), while augmenting its fee-based income and resource position by concentrating on low cost current and savings accounts, and term deposits.

BOI is looking at tripling its fee-based income via sales of third-party products. Presently, te bank''s fee-based income is about Rs50 crore.

Movie Channel MAX appoints TBWA as its creative agency
The MAX Hindi movie channel has appointed TBWA India as its creative agency.

Other agencies who were in the fray for the MAX account included Saatchi & Saatchi, Bates Enterprise and Publicis Ambience.

Euro RSCG is the incumbent agency. MAX is looking at leveraging the partnership to clearly distinguish and strengthen its brand. The channel has a tag line of Deewana Bana De, and is looking at TBWA to take this to the next level, in a manner such that it becomes an integral part of the consumers'' daily lives and commands a loyal following.

UB plans to introduce Whyte & Mackay brands by Diwali
New Delhi:
United Breweries has unveiled plans to launch a slew of new products, including brands from the newly-acquired Whyte & Mackay (W&M) stable, to strengthen its share in the Indian alcoholic beverage market.

According to UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya, the company plans to launch brands from the Whyte and Mackay portfolio, which include Dalomore and Isle of Jura, leveraging the acquisition of the Scottish distiller.

UB Group views the acquisition as a strategic one that will enable it to establish an international presence, while simultaneously benefiting W&M''s products through the distribution network of UB in India.

UB also intends to launch a new range called ''Poison'' and powered with rum and vodka, to be called ''Poison'' and targeted at youth. It also plans to introduce a ''Kingfisher Ultra'' beer. The personality of the ''Poison'' brand will be youthful, daring and controversial, using the power of rum and vodka to create its brand personality.

The new beer brand is envisioned as a fitting reply to international brands like Budweiser and Carlsburg.

DaimlerChrysler India to launch new Mercedes C-class in 2008
DaimlerChrysler India (DCI) proposes to launch the new C-class Mercedes in the country sometime early next year. The car was launched in Europe earlier this year.

The company says it aims to bring in its latest international product offering into the country, in the least possible time. In line with this plan, DCI is looking at an early introduction of the recently launched new C-class, and expects to offer it in India by the first quarter of 2008.

The car has been given a complete makeover, along with some additional features. It will also witness a mark-up in price as compared to the existing C-class price of Rs24-26.4 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai). It will be the third C-class, to be manufactured at Pune, after the C 200 Kompressor and the C-220 CDI.

DCI also manufactures three versions of the E-class and two models in the S series in India in addition to marketing several completely built up units.

What is noteworthy is that amongst all of the company''s luxury car offerings, the top-end model, the S-class, is the one that has been witnessing maximum growth in the first seven months of the current year. According to company numbers, while 248 units of the S-class were sold through all of last year, January to July 2007 saw its sales surge to 235. The corresponding sales for the C-class were 883 (against 484 sold this year), while the E-class sold 914 units last year (671 in 2007 so far).

According to the company, the greenfield plant at Chakan was progressing as per the schedule, and is likely to go into production in early 2009.

The company has already announced its plans to assemble its ''Actros'' trucks in India, which offer cost efficient long distance transportation solutions across applications.

Advertising Standards Council of India prohibits surrogate liquor ads
Reputed liquor companies such as United Spirits (formerly United Breweries), Diageo India, United Spirits and Seagram have had to withdraw their surrogate advertising campaigns launched between April and June this year.

In UB''s case, the withdrawn ad''s tagline read ''Where the Night Rocks'', with ''packaged drinking water'' mentioned in fine print, accompanied by a visual of a dancing couple. According to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), the absence of specific product information made the ad appear to be a surrogate for a liquor brand, especially since the visual and headline did not bear relevance to the product advertised.

Diageo India withdrew its Johnie Walker ad, which depicted the liquor brand mentioning CDs and cassettes as "Red Label''. ASCI ostensibly viewed the ad as a surrogate. Diageo''s campaign for another brand, Haig Vintage, was also pulled up. It had featured a contest where the question, ''When did Henry Ford perfect the assembly line?'' had to be chosen from among three and replied via an SMS. The winner could win a ''fantastic'' Haig Vintage / Classic car model.

ASCI opined that the ad was misleading and that there was no proof or evidence of the claim / offer being complied with. According to sources, advertiser Diageo has also assured ASCI that similar ads would not be released in future, to avoid any contravention of the ASCI code.

United Spirits'' ad for its Antiquity brand entices consumers to ''Indulge in Blue Antiquity'', later mentioning cassettes and CDs, without a visual depiction of them. ASCI felt the ad was suggestive of over consumption, and that as Blue Antiquity was the name of a liquor brand, it termed the ad as being surrogate, following which the advertiser suspended the campaign.

Seagram India too has been checked for its ad on ''The Chivas Life'' that mentioned CDs and cassettes, with phrases that indicate that it was a surrogate ad.

Campaigns for consumer product companies such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare also came under ASCI''s scrutiny. ASCI scrutiny of GSK''s Horlicks'' ad, Exam ka bhoot bhagao suggested that Horlicks was essential for health during exams, required to be substantiated. The council felt the claims made by the advertiser for Horlicks were misleading, on account of the exaggeration, forcing GSK to discontinue the campaign.

Also under ASCI''s scanner for exaggerated claims was Nestle India''s Maggie Healthy Soups - Soup Powder with claims of ''Happy Heart, Healthy Soups'', with the advertiser assuring appropriate modification of the press ad and promotional messages printed on packaging.

MobileNXT to grow via the franchisee route
Bangalore: MobileNXT, the mobile retail chain, has introduced a franchisee programme in Tier II and Tier III cities across India.

In the first phase of the program, states covered include Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, and West Bengal.

For an investment of Rs20 lakh, franchisees can have a piece of the fast growing telecom retail space.

MobileNXT will partner actively with franchisees to offer them handsets and cellphone accessories, as well as stock management, professional training for the in-store sales team, and an after-sales customer support

SBI plans a tie-up with post offices to expand rural reach
New Delhi:
State Bank of India, the country''s biggest lender, plans to partner with the with India Post to leverage the expansive postal network for providing credit and other services in rural areas.

This was announced by finance minister, P Chidambaram, speaking in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the SBI Amendment Bill, which replaces an ordinance for transferring the Reserve Bank''s stake in SBI to the Union Government.

The alliance will bring banking facilities to even the remotest villages. SBI''s 9000-strong branch network is already the largest in the country. If the branches of its seven associate banks were added to the tally, the total branch network would reach 13,000.

However, these numbers look minuscule in comparison to India Post''s network, which has over 1.5 lakh post offices, a majority of which are in rural areas. Post offices in India already offer a host of services such as savings, insurance, mutual funds, pension and domestic as well as international money transfer.

Volvo may introduce Nissan trucks to India
New Delhi:
Swedish truck and bus maker Volvo AB has clarified its intention to secure a strategic partner to foray into the high-volume, light commercial vehicle (LCV) business in India. According to sources, it is also considering launching Nissan Diesel products here.

Volvo had acquired a stake in Nissan Diesel last year and is reported to be interested in a partner in India to facilitate greater volumes in the local market in a shorter time span.

Presently, Volvo has a niche presence in the country, selling around 1,000 vehicles in the truck market sized at 2,00,000.

Volvo recently announced a joint venture with Jaico for building bus bodies, and is using India as a base for sourcing IT and product development services, along with components for global products.

Nissan Diesel ranks at number four in Japan as a manufacturer of heavy and medium-heavy trucks, buses, diesel engines and spare parts.

Domestic air travel in India grows at a phenomenal 38 per cent
Could things get better? Domestic air travel has grown at more than 38 per cent in the first seven months of 2007. Between January and July, more than 24.85 million passengers travelled as against 18.03 million in the same period last year. In fact, sources in the civil aviation ministry confirm that the market share of full service airlines has also seen an increase.

The surprising thing is that this comes about at the same time as more and more players are coming into the airlines business.

Leading the pack is Indian Airlines (IA), which saw an increase in its market share from 19.8 per cent to 20.5 per cent. Industry leader Jet Airways saw a jump from 22 per cent to 22.7 per cent.

Jet Lite moved from 6.7 per cent to 7 per cent, while Kingfisher went from 12.8 per cent to 13 per cent. But the marketshare of low-cost carriers (LCCs) dropped. Air Deccan went down from 18.1 per cent to 16.1 per cent, while SpiceJet dropped from 8.3 per cent to 7.7 per cent in the same period.

Air India''s advertising campaign to promote non-stop US flights
National carrier Air India (AI) will run a Rs20-crore advertising campaign over the next six months to sell its non-stop flights from India to different destinations in the US.

The company has set up billboards at Times Square in New York and in Mumbai to push the Mumbai-New York non-stop flight, besides advertising in leading US newspapers and travel magazines.

AI''s billboard at Times Square is the first such initiative by a public sector enterprise from India. Next to come is a billboard at the John F Kennedy Airport.

The airline has also published print advertisements for the newly-launched flight, placing a full page advertisement in The New York Times on the day of the launch. It has also placed quarter page ads in The Wall Street Journal, besides ads in travel magazines in both the US and India.

Now aisle, window seats will cost you more
Flying in the slipstream of international low cost carriers (LCCs), domestic airline SpiceJet has started online booking of seats, charging Rs 50 per passenger.

This is a normal move among LCCs to increase cash flow. India''s biggest LCC, Air Deccan, has also said it will levy a charge for booking once seat numbers can be allotted by its online reservation systems.

Other no-frill carriers may also follow suit to earn some much-needed money, as almost all Indian LCCs are making losses.

SpiceJet''s single configuration Boeing 737 has 189 seats in 32 rows. Window and aisle seats are the most preferred, which means that up to 128 seats can attract this premium booking charge, enabling the airline to earn up to Rs 8,850 more from each flight.

Since it operates 86 flights daily between 15 destinations, the gross figure goes up to a healthy Rs 7.6 lakh per day. This figure can only get fatter as more planes join the fleet and daily flights increase.

Bombardier will see better days soon, say analysts
Bombardier is set for a smooth takeoff if it can fly through its ongoing economic financial turbulence, thanks to the strong demand at its aerospace and transportation divisions. Business aircraft are in demand, regional jet orders have recovered and the transportation division is getting new business from emerging markets.

The Montreal-based company is expected to report strong second-quarter earnings when it announces quarterly results on 29 August. Company sources projected its revenues for the period ended 31 July at $4 billion, an increase of nearly 15 per cent. Net earnings should be around $93 million, an EPS of five cents per share, up from $57 million, or three cents. Regional jet revenues are expected to be 22 per cent higher than in the same period of the past year, driven by higher deliveries of turboprops.

The company is riding the wave of a booming airline industry, but it has also moved to lower costs and improve profitability, in part, by moving production to Mexico, analysts say. It recently signed a deal with the China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC 1) to build components of a possible CSeries wide body aircraft in China at a lower cost. But Bombardier also faces economic factors beyond its control, including recent market turbulence and the vagaries of the Canadian dollar.

Even events like the recent market meltdown can have an impact on the company, especially in the business jet segment, which is more sensitive to the US economic cycle. But Bombardier is well positioned for more regional aircraft orders. US carriers will be in a mood to buy after exiting bankruptcy court protection. Longer term, the transportation markets in India, Russia and China are expected to become key drivers.

The company recently announced a $590 million contract for the Delhi metro, and is looking for similar opportunities in other Indian cities. The total mass transit market potential is $3 billion over five years. The Russian market is expected to grow to more than $2.5 billion a year by 2010, driven mainly by an urgent need for a new generation of modern electrical locomotives. Chinese opportunities could be worth more than $8 billion over three years.

Even in Europe and North America, there is strong replacement demand because of congestion and aging fleets, the company feels. With a record backlog of $30 billion as on 30 April, the focus for Bombardier Transportation is on execution. The company recently took a $164-million write-off relating to its Metronet public private partnership to rebuild London''s subway.

Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy''s Fendi to open six stores in India
New Delhi:
Fur and leather brand Fendi, which is part of the world''s largest luxury stalls, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) Group, has announced that it plans to set up six stores within a span of five years in India.

The brand has 13 outlets in West Asia and India, and sees a large and growing potential in the Indian market. The company views the Indian customer as progressive, and well travelled and accordingly, it plans its USP to be its collection, coupled with the ability to personalise and custom-make products to customer''s preference.

Fendi stores will initially roll out from five star hotels, followed by specialised luxury malls. The third phase will see an expanded presence at high street locations across the country.

The brand entered India in November 2006, with a 3,000 sq. ft. boutique at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. It now plans to have a presence across all major cities in the country within the next five years, with stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.

The stores in Delhi and Bangalore plan to open by the first quarter of 2008. The stores will showcase the entire Fendi range including, handbags, apparels, footwear, eyewear and watches.

Though LVMH has other brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior as part of its stable, some of which have been brought to India, the company does not see one brand cannibalising another, as it claims that the DNA of each brand is different, each targeting a different target audience. Fendi, meanwhile is more of a collector''s item, where it''s "not about changing fashion, but permanency."

Till 2001, Prada, the LVMH Group and the Fendi family held the company''s shares, till LVMH acquired the brand it in 2004.

Established in 1925 as a small handbag shop and fur workshop in Rome by a young couple Edoardo and Adele Fendi, the brand went global around the 1960s, before it was acquired by the LVMH Group in 2004.

Mobile Magic to set up a thousand stores by 2010
Nagpur-based franchised retail chain brand Mobile Magic India plans to set up 1,000 stores across the country by the end of the decade.

Around 11 brands of handsets, accessories, applications, ring-tones and games are sold at its 60 stores. By 2009, the count will go up by 250 stores, most of which will be set up in southern India, with Bangalore acting as the hub for operations.

The company is targeting Rs10,000 crore in the region.

Mobile Magic has ex-Nokia heads Sunil Dutt and Sanjeev Sharma as part of its advisory panel, and has invested $1 million thus far. It is said to be approaching venture capitalists to raise more funding.

The company''s turnover was at Rs12 crore for the previous fiscal, and the firm expects to go public by end of 2009.

The lion''s share of the pie for the company comes from tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

Big 92.7 FM launches in Tirupati
The radio channel from the Adlabs stable, Big 92.7 FM is to launch its services in Tirupati, taking the total number of stations in the country to 30.

The company is looking at covering a total of 45 cities in the country, totalling a listener base of 20 crore listeners.

Michelin introduces regroove truck tyres service in India
French tyre company Michelin has announced a unique ''regrooving service'', which the company chaims has the potential to enhance the life of used truck tyres by about 20 per cent.

According to the company, this service is available to its customers globally, and the company intends to offer this facility to truck tyre users in India as well. This service will be marketed via a chain of dealers who are trained in handling this delicate task.

Regrooving is entirely different from retreading, which is done by adding a fresh layer of rubber onto a worn out tyre, while regrooving is done on the worn out tyre directly.

The regrooving process potentially adds up to four mm of fresh grooves on a tyre, thereby making the tyre much safer to use even on wet surfaces. Apart from adding life to the used tyres, regrooving apparently saves up to 10 per cent in fuel.

UniverCell launches stores in Bangalore
Chennai-based mobile phone retailer UniverCell has set up seven stores in Bangalore.

The company is targeting a turnover of Rs700 crore for the current financial year, and is looking to ramping up to a pan-India presence in the coming two years.

UniverCell has 42 stores in Tamil Nadu, and sells around 40,000 handsets a month. It has planned 100 stores in south India by the end of September 2007.

The company claims a tally of 15 lakh customers, and posted a turnover of Rs120 crore in ''07.

It is said to be in talks with private equity funds for investment to fund its accelerated expansion plans.

Coca-Cola India launches coke-flavoured milk
New Delhi:
With Coke undertaking a product portfolio expansion in India, Coca-Cola India is poised to foray into the dairy sector. The global beverage giant is reportedly evaluating the addition of flavoured milk and milkshakes to its Indian portfolio.

Product evaluations are currently underway, with possible product launches speculated at three years from now, which would be accompanied by a formal announcement of the company''s foray into dairy based products, according to sources. The company is already present in dairy based products in some of its international markets.

To strengthen its product portfolio, the company would most likely add variant additions to its existing line, along with brands from its global portfolio, and forays into categories where the company is not yet present in the rest of the world.

The objective is to identify the brand as a total beverage brand offering anything that is non-alcoholic and ready to drink.

The company also announced plans of repositioning the brand, unveiling a new umbrella campaign developed by McCann Erickson. Coke''s ''five-pillar strategy'' for the company focuses on portfolio, people, planet, partners and performance, with each of these being a drop of a larger vision aimed at mutual growth.

The new campaign has the tagline ''Little Drops of Joy'', and is to be a tribute to valuable inputs of the company''s stakeholders, depicting what the company stands for.

Mitsubishi - HM ties undergo changes, marketing to move to Mitsubishi
The partnership between Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors, and Indian auto veteran Hindustan Motors (HM) seems set to undergo significant changes, with Mitsubishi Motors set to play a larger role in the marketing and distribution of all its passenger cars in India.

Mitsubishi Motors and HM are said to have initiated the process of appointing a new marketing advisor for marketing and sales of all Mitsubishi products in India.

Presently, HM manufactures some of Mitsubishi''s passenger cars, and also markets all its products.

The change has been undertaken to strengthen Mitsubishi Motors presence in India, and simultaneously ensure better product penetration of Mitsubishi''s passenger cars.

Sources say this could be the first of major changes in the relationship between the two auto companies.

Mitsubishi''s portfolio in India includes the Lancer, the Lancer Cedia and the sports utility vehicles (SUVs) Pajero and Montero, with the latter being the latest launch from the company in India.

The Lancer costs about Rs6.75 lakh, the Cedia about Rs8.6 lakh. These sell a total of around 250 units per month, and are manufactured in India.

The Pajero, priced at around Rs19 lakh, and the Montero costing around Rs32 lakh, sell a cumulative of around 200 units a month.

Both the sports utility vehicles are currently imported as completely built units.

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