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Wednesday, Jun 15, 2005

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Dabur to promote Babool, ropes in Vivek Oberoi as brand ambassador

Sindhu J. Bhattacharya

Vivek Oberoi, Bollywood actor and new brand ambassador for Dabur, at a press conference in the Capital on Tuesday. — Kamal Narang

New Delhi , June 14

IN A bid to increase its share in the oral care market, Dabur India Ltd (DIL) has drawn up a multi-pronged strategy. From the three oral care brands of Balsara that DIL acquired earlier this year, the mid-priced Promise has been put on the backburner.

This fiscal, DIL will invest on Babool and Meswak, promoting these in the economy and premium segments respectively.

DIL's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sunil Duggal, told Business Line, "At Rs 60 crore, Babool is the largest among all the brands we acquired from Balsara. We plan to promote this brand aggressively and invest 20 per cent of its revenues each year in advertising and promotion. Meswak will also be promoted this year, but Promise has been put on the backburner. It will be sold in select geographies only.''

Mr Duggal said that Babool was being re-packaged since it has been brought under the Dabur mother brand. "But we do not want to alter pricing at this stage. Any fresh pricing initiative will be done only if other economy segment brands in oral care alter prices," he said.

The CEO said that Meswak will also be promoted this year but that they will not use the celebrity endorsement route.

Meanwhile, the company has signed Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi as a brand ambassador for its integrated oral care portfolio, but the actor will currently endorse only Babool.

On whether the company had forayed into the private label business with toothpastes, Mr Duggal said that this possibility was being explored.

Balsara was doing private label business (manufacturing toothpaste for well-known overseas brands), worth Rs 10 crore, for the US and western European markets before DIL acquired its businesses.

DIL's existing oral care portfolio includes Dabur Red toothpaste and gel, Dabur Lal Dant manjan, Dabur Herbal toothpaste and Binaca toothbrushes. The acquired brands from Balsara include toothpastes Babool, Promise and Meswak.

Promoters pare stake

The promoters of DIL have offloaded 1.2 per cent stake in the company in a block deal "to increase liquidity in the stock". They have sold 34.38 lakh shares of DIL to a Singapore-based investment management company, Arisaig Partners (Asia) Pte Ltd at Rs 130 per share. This deal brings down the promoters' stake in DIL to 76.8 per cent, according to a company spokesperson.

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