marketing
Writer: Source: The Economic Times - Saturday, Apr 01,2006 8:23 AM

Whirlpool to unveil new products, plans $20-m investment

Sensing an operational turnaround, appliances maker Whirlpool, India is planning to rev up its operations in the country. On the cards is an investment of around $20m over the next year or so in developing a new line of products, expansion of its export basket and introduction of a new category of products in the Indian market.

While market shares will continue to be a focus area, the company is looking towards a process of sustainable and profitable growth.

“We will be introducing a whole new category of products very soon,” Arvind Uppal, MD, Whirlpool, India, told ET. He, however, declined to comment on the new category. The company currently sells washing machines, refrigerators, microwave ovens and ACs in the Indian market. It had started test-marketing of its cooking range, which was subsequently not launched.

Elaborating on the company's plans on the exports front, Mr Uppal said the Indian operations are fast becoming an export hub for the global system and contributing significantly to the company's overall revenues. “Plans are on the anvil to explore new markets now,” he said.

The consumer durables company, which is looking at a resurgence in India, has been bogged down in the past with several issues, which include a high level of receivables. Its average collection period now stands at 18 days, which is at par with industry average, he said.

The company is buoyed with better operational results. It posted net sales of Rs 969.3 crore with PBT and depreciation of Rs 1.5 crore in April-December '05. It is banking on innovative brand marketing, stress on distribution and retail expansion and focus on quality product offerings to garner more market share.

In '05, Whirlpool had a 24.5% market share in the direct cool refrigerator segment, up by 2.5% from '04.

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