Wipro Consumer Care to continue focus on acquisitions

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 04, 2021

Vineet Agrawal, CEO, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting   -  BL

Looks to launch international brands in India through e-commerce channel

Inorganic growth strategy and acquisitions will continue to be key for Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting’s expansion in India and international markets, in the post-pandemic times. With the acceleration in adoption of digital platforms, the FMCG company is also looking to bring its international brands in the haircare and skincare space to India through the e-commerce channel.

Acquisitions have been a crucial part of Wipro Consumer Care’s expansion strategy and it has made a dozen acquisitions in the past 16 years across various markets. Speaking at a media roundtable, Vineet Agrawal, CEO, Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting, said, “Acquisitions will continue to remain a focus but we require a willing seller and if it’s a strategic fit we will be an enthusiastic buyer. For instance, homecare business outside of India is relatively smaller (for the company) and if we get home care companies outside of India, we would definitely look at them. We will also look at emerging categories in different countries and if it helps us to enter those categories through acquisitions, we will do it”.”

New launches

With the pandemic outbreak last year, the company accelerated new launches in the hygiene space and doubled up on distribution. Agarwal, who is also the Executive Director of Wipro Enterprises, said this aided the company’s India business to register a growth of 13.5 per cent in April-December period of FY21.

“I think for us Santoor, in the soaps category, was a standout and crossed ₹2,000 crore (in sales). We did well in categories such as handwashes, floor cleaners, liquid detergents and domestic lighting business. Brand Chandrika also did well. So our portfolio in India, did not face a lot of challenges, except for Yardley, which consists of lotions, perfumes and deos and was impacted due to out-of-home consumption getting affected due to the pandemic,” he added.

Rationalising portfolio

However, with demand for sanitisers and some other hygiene products cooling down, the company said it will rationalise its product portfolio in sanitisers, surface sanitisers and surface wipes by reducing the number of brands and SKUs (stock keeping units) in these segments.

E-commerce channel’s contribution has more than doubled for the company over the previous fiscal as consumers increasingly turned to online purchases in pandemic times. “We believe the e-commerce channel will be a strong growth area and will open up options for us to leverage the channel to bring some of our international brands to India. We are evaluating bringing our international haircare brand Vitress and skincare brand Bio Essence to India and launching them exclusively on the e-commerce channel. We think e-commerce channel will become viable enough for companies to launch their products exclusively online.” Agarwal said.

Price rise

With the rising palm oil prices, freight costs and other inflationary pressures, the FMCG firm said it hiked prices in certain categories such as soaps. “We hiked prices to the tune of 8 per cent in soaps in the last 3-4 months. We are hopeful that we will not have to hike prices any more as they start impacting demand unless we are really forced due to cost increases,” Agarwal added.

On growth trends in international businesses, Agarwal said the overall India business has been growing faster compared to international business, especially compared to markets such as China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. For Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, international markets’ contribution is pegged at about 54 per cent.

Published on March 04, 2021

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