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Chauhan gears Bisleri to meet home needs — `Bulk segment to drive growth'

Ratna Bhushan

Mr Ramesh Chauhan


MR RAMESH Chauhan always makes news, whether it's to do with controversy over market share, or being wooed by global majors for a possible sellout or a joint venture, staving off competition from multinationals, or being scrutinised for a labelling lapse.

While corporate circles are abuzz that Bisleri is negotiating choppy waters, Mr Chauhan is on an overdrive with ambitious plans inked for the brand.

Spearheading the Bisleri drive will be the household bulk water segment, which, according to Mr Chauhan, will account for 80 per cent of the branded water business within five years (double of what it is today).

``Scarcity and poor quality of water, reducing costs, all will contribute to drive the bulk segment,'' he said.

For starters, Bisleri's 20-litre jumbo home pack is being reinvented to acquire a more `consumer-friendly format'. The new pack comes with thread fitting and valve cap, against competing brands, which come with snap-on fittings.

``With this packaging, draining the water out of the jar becomes that much easier,'' Mr Chauhan said. Existing 20-litre Bisleri packs are being withdrawn and the rollout of the new jars, priced between Rs 40-60, has begun.

Beginning January 2003, another packaging change will be incorporated in Bisleri's 5-litre jars, which will come fitted with spouts.

Meanwhile, even though 1.2-litre Bisleri bottles which were rolled out early last year need to be withdrawn subsequently following last year's Government notification under the Standards of Weights and Measures (Packaged Commodities) Amendment Rules 2001, Parle Bisleri is now placing the 1.2 litre packs in the market at Rs 10, against the earlier Rs 12 tag.

The company is also exploring the possibility of rolling out Bisleri in 200-ml pouches.

While Chennai remains the most attractive market for the household bulk water segment, Mumbai is fast emerging as a key market for 250-ml cups and 330-ml bottles, priced at Rs 3 and Rs 5 respectively, Mr Chauhan said.

Parle Bisleri has also embarked on an environment-friendly project, which involves sub-contracting local manufacturers to create PET bottle crushing gadgets.

``We are putting up 20,000 such machines across institutions and public places such as cineplexes, family entertainment and amusement centres, large office complexes, and so on. A `crush for recycling' logo is being created to generate public awareness about the same,'' Mr Chauhan said.

Meanwhile, a consolidation exercise within Parle Bisleri is on, under which some group companies are being merged and others are being closed down. An estimated Rs 100 crore has been set aside for increasing manufacturing capacities across some of its 22 bottling operations and broadbasing logistics further.

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