Canway acquisition gives us a tremendous footprint in South Africa: Vineet Agrawal, Wipro

Vineet Agrawal, CEO, Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting, talks about the company's recent acquisitions, marketing strategies and more

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Updated: Dec 5, 2019 11:21 AM
Vineet Agrawal

Wipro Consumer Care has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Canway Corporation, a South African personal care company. The transaction is subject to approval from the Regulatory Authorities and the value has not been disclosed. The acquisition includes personal care brand portfolio — Oh So Heavenly (premium personal care brand), Iwori (African skincare brand), IQ (derma skin-care brand).

Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting (WCCL) revenues have crossed Rs 71.5 billion in FY 2018-19 and the company has spent $950 million in acquisitions so far. This is the company’s 12th acquisition in the last 16 years and the second one in 2019. In the month of April, the company signed a definitive agreement to acquire Splash Corporation, a Philippines personal care company.

“We normally don’t do two acquisitions in a year. We did it this time because geographies were different and we have the confidence to handle multiple acquisitions within the same year,” said Vineet Agrawal, CEO, Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting.

Speaking on the acquisition and expectations on their entry to South Africa, Agrawal said, “Canway has clocked $21 million in sales and it is a brand that has grown in double digits for multiple years. The acquisition gives us a tremendous footprint in South Africa which constitutes the largest personal care market in Africa and the second-largest economy of the continent. We have a small presence in countries like Zambia, Botswana, etc and this will give us entry into other countries. We are also hopeful to sell our own products in these countries. Gifting is a big segment in South Africa and we need to evaluate whether it is big in other countries. Our brand Santoor has a small presence in Africa and Enchanteur is a global brand which we can look to diversify in the African continent.”

When asked about the product entry into the Indian market, Agrawal said, “We are yet to evaluate the product launch in India. We need to start working on the fact whether the perfumes and packaging are acceptable from an Indian consumer point of view.”

“Our share in rural markets has been definitely higher than urban in markets. Rural markets have been very critical to our growth. The economic slowdown has affected the brands which are rural focused. For eg: Yardley continues to do very well, Chandrika is doing reasonably well. Santoor has been hit the hardest due to the economic slowdown,” said Agrawal.

Speaking on the marketing strategies and spends, Agrawal said, “We dominate states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. We are doing reasonably well in states like Chattisgarh, UP, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. In order to dominate other regions, our brand acceptance should go up and advertising is one way to achieve it. Santoor has used multiple celebrity endorsements; in Tamil Nadu actor Karthi, in Andhra Pradesh Mahesh Babu and in the North and West Varun Dhawan is the face of Santoor. We are hopeful that these endorsements will help us to connect to the masses. In terms of spends, we are in line with our competitors. Our marketing and advertising cost as a percentage of our total in India is around 14-15 per cent. We spend more on Television. By 2020, we aim to spend 8-10 per cent on digital.”

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