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Tuesday, Mar 09, 2004

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Dandi salt, Friendly Wash to go off the shelves

Purvita Chatterjee

Dandi salt created history of sorts by notching up sales of Rs 125 crore within the first year of its launch.

Mumbai , March 8

AN acute financial crisis has forced the Surat-based company Kunvar Ajay Group to withdraw its salt brand Dandi and Friendly Wash detergent from the market.

The Kunvar Ajay Group started its business making mass-market sarees under its own brand nearly 20 years ago. It had been in the FMCG business for the past two years with its Dandi salt and Friendly Wash detergent.

According to executives at its Mumbai-based advertising agency, Pinky Advertising, the company is no longer releasing or creating any ads for its brands. "The company is having a financial crisis and we are no longer doing any work for them," said an executive at Pinky Advertising.

A few months ago, Kunvar Ajay released ads in the local press in Surat to sell its saree business to Gujarat Arth Ltd. However, the deal fell through and reports of excise raids on the company subsequently have led it to close operations in Surat.

Dandi salt created history of sorts by notching up sales of Rs 125 crore within the first year of its launch. The company's Friendly Wash detergent achieved sales worth Rs 25 crore within three months of its launch.

Dandi salt became the classic David-versus-Goliath story, emerging as the largest money-spinner for the company. According to industry observers, the company had transferred money from its successful FMCG business to its textile operations, which led to the financial crunch.

The saree business, which had carved out a niche for itself in the middle- and low-end market segment, garners around Rs 100 crore. As a result, the Kunvar Ajay Group's turnover had gone up from Rs 100 crore (from the saree business) to Rs 250 crore, a growth of over 150 per cent in just one year.

Pricing Dandi on a par with the existing brands of Annapurna and Tata salt, the Rs 7 per one-kg packs were being made available on a national level. Relying purely on internal funds, the company had marked Rs 10 crore for its salt brand.

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