After Reckitt Benckiser Plc's announcement of hiking its stake in its Indian arm to 87 per cent, Reckitt Benckiser (India) Ltd is set to reshuffle some of its brands. To begin with, Haze — the household cleaning and personal care brand of air fresheners and agarbattis is set to undergo a name change.
Reckitt Benckiser is likely to realign Haze to one of its global brands. However, which global brand Haze will be brought under is not yet clear. The Haze incense sticks brand was introduced in late 2000 in select markets. Reckitt Benckiser's decision to foray into the incense stick market was driven by the fact that Reckitt Benckiser plc worldwide has a significant presence in the air freshener market.
However, Haze has been registering only modest growth, despite the company's initial bullishness about the brand's performance piggybacking on its distribution and brand building strengths.
The past few months have been tough for Reckitt Benckiser India, with several top management executives — including the Regional Director of South Asia, Mr Pranab Barua — quitting the company in January this year. The Indian company has been under pressure from its UK-based parent on issues such as maintaining top-line growth in difficult market conditions, the Indian arm falling short of projections, and brand-building budgets being squeezed. Mr Barua was replaced by Mr C.M. Sethi, who moved in from Reckitt Benckiser, Nigeria.
Reckitt Benckiser's plans to extend its flagship brand Dettol to shampoo have been put on hold. The company's focus is on consolidating heritage brands.
In the roughly Rs 45-crore liquid antiseptic market, Dettol has stood its ground against stiff competition from Savlon. However, Dettol's variants haven't done too well. Dettol talc, for example, was withdrawn some months ago. Within the antiseptic soap segment, Dettol soap has been battling competition from other medicated soap brands such as Savlon, Medimix, Margo and Hamam.
Reckitt Benckiser's other front-runner brands Mortein mosquito repellent and Robin Ultramarine Blue, too have been facing rough weather. Other brands in Reckitt's portfolio include Cherry Blossom, Harpic toilet cleaner, Lizol specialised floor cleaner, glass cleaner Colin, Brasso and Silvo, and dishwasher Calgonit.