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Saturday, Mar 16, 2002

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Kenstar to launch refrigerators

Neha Kaushik

NEW DELHI, March 15

THE Rs 350 crore Kitchen Appliances India Ltd (KAIL), a 100 per cent subsidiary of the Rs 3,500 crore Videocon International, is planning to venture into the refrigerator segment under its umbrella brand `Kenstar' this year. Although, refusing to divulge more details, company officials confirmed the development and said the launch should be expected in the next few months, most probably after the end of the summer season this year.

Kenstar will face much competition in this segment from well-entrenched players such as LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, Electrolux and Kelvinator amongst others. In addition, the 3.5 million units Indian refrigerator market has not been doing too well. Says Mr Suresh Khanna, Secretary General, Consumer Electronics and Television Manufacturers Association (CETMA), "The growth was marginal last year, only about 3 per cent. However, we expect the growth rate to be around 10 per cent this year, mainly because of a general pick-up in the economy.''

Meanwhile, players are also trying to encourage growth in the segment by launching more innovative models of refrigerators, stepping up promotional activities and at the same time reducing the prices. The proposed refrigerators launch will benefit from Kenstar's strong distribution network. The company has approximately 32 sales offices and more than 3,000 dealer outlets covering almost all major cities across the country.

According to market sources, other product segments in which the company plans to foray in the near future include food processors and electronic shaving machines. The existing range of Kenstar consists of air coolers, air conditioners, microwave ovens, washing machines, air purifiers, mixer grinders and other small appliances.

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