Confectionery market leader, Perfetti van Melle India Pvt Ltd (PVM India), has chalked out a strategy to attain 10 per cent sales growth and become a Rs 500-crore company this year.
On the anvil are up to 10 new product launches - some of these could be global brands including Vivident and Vgorsol sugar-free chewing gums - more varieties in the éclair segment and new bubble gum variety.
The company has already earmarked Rs 150 -200 crore investment in the country over two years in marketing, brand building and in increasing manufacturing capacity.
The PVM India Managing Director, Mr Stefano Pelle, told Business Line, "Our sales grew 15 per cent in 2004 despite a stagnant market and we are targeting Rs 500 crore this year. Areas of focus will largely be sugar-free segment, éclairs and gums."
With Korean confectionery major Lotte having already entered the country through two separate ventures, the gum market is expected to witness a "lot of action" this year, he said.
"We will bring some of our globally known brands in gums to take on competition". Also on the anvil are four more sugar-free products over the next two years, since this particular market segment is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade, Mr Pelle said.
The company has recently commenced production in Bangladesh, its first manufacturing facility outside India and is scouting for more such locations in the neighbouring countries.
While he declined to divulge further details on where the next manufacturing facility would come up, Mr Pelle did say that about Rs 25 crore will be invested in the new plant.
Besides, PVM India will also increase capacity at the two existing plants in Manesar (Haryana) and in Chennai. In Bangladesh, Perfetti will manufacture lollipop, Alpenliebe and other deposit candies.
PVM India is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Italian parent and looks after operations in several neighbouring countries including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Maldives and Myanmar.
Besides investment in augmenting capacities, the company spends a significant amount of money in providing advertising support to its 13 main brands in the country. Mr Pelle said this budget would be hiked to about Rs 45 crore in 2005.
After Perfetti Italy, PVM India is the second largest company in the Perfetti group in terms of sales volumes worldwide and has several firsts to its credit, the Executive Vice-President (Human Resources and Communications) of Perfetti van Melle, Mr Giuseppe Castelli, said.
For instance, India is the only `Coffetos' producing operation across the globe and the product is exported to several countries from here. He said several global markets including the Philippines are looking to India for sourcing Perfetti's confectionery.
Mr Pelle said that the Indian company would make all the investments earmarked for the next couple of years from internal accruals.