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Marico plans to move up value chain

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Marico plans to move up value chain

Marico Industries, one of the few FMCG companies to register a healthy double-digit sales growth last year despite an industry downturn, has devised a multi-pronged strategy for growth this fiscal in a bid to reach Rs 1,000 crore sales target.

While deciding to move up the value chain in existing products, mainly cooking oils and hair oils, it will also be entering several new product areas such as shampoos and high-end skin care.

The prototyping of the shampoo has been on since late last year in the Andhra Pradesh market but the company has not yet taken a decision on whether to go ahead with this product or abandon plans to enter shampoos altogether.

Asked whether Marico had decided to keep out of shampoos for now, given the cut-throat price war unleashed by Hindustan Lever and Procter & Gamble recently, the Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Harsh Mariwala, told Business Line, "I cannot say at this moment whether we will finally enter the shampoo market or not. All I can confirm is that we are still prototyping the product to find out how it can be given a distinct characteristic and USP. The prototyping has been going on for some months and we will continue to test the market to develop a proposition which suits consumer needs".

Mr Mariwala said while the company was on the lookout for entering new product areas to fuel growth, Marico was also keen on "going up the value chain in existing product segments. We have for long been at the lower price end of the market. For example, we are interested in high-end skin care market after the success of Kaya Skin Care Clinics".

In keeping with the strategy of moving up the value chain, Marico today announced foray into the conditioner market with post-wash hair care product called `Hair & Care Silk-n-Shine', which is being rolled out nationally.

Meanwhile, apart from the shampoo, Marico is also testing Sampoorna coconut hair oil, which contains hibiscus and jasmine and is a non-sticky product, in Andhra Pradesh market while the cooking oil is being tested in Madhya Pradesh.

While he did not divulge plans for the skin care segment, Mr Mariwala did say that price point innovations in existing products will continue. The company has just launched a Rs 5 pack of 20 ml Parachute.

Also, in a bid to streamline product portfolio, Marico has clearly identified those brands, which will not be getting marketing and advertising support. These include Sil jams, Oil of Malabar and Sweekar cooking oil.

Asked whether these brands were being phased out, Head of Marketing Mr Saugata Gupta said while the company was not investing in these three brands, they continued to make money. "In fact, Sweekar is a Rs 100 crore brand and the other two are Rs 20-30 crore brands so there is no need to phase them out."


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