Panasonic set to expand its reach in India - The New Indian Express

Panasonic set to expand its reach in India

Published: 07th Oct 2012 12:25:20 PM

Present in India since 1972, Japanese giant Panasonic is eyeing to become India’s largest electronics and consumer durables brand by 2018. With an estimated turnover of Rs 10,000 crore in FY12, Panasonic is now looking to expand its reach across India. In an interview with Sankalp Saini of The New Indian Express, Panasonic India’s Consumer Products Division Managing Director Manish Sharma discusses the company’s growth plans, new manufacturing plant at Jhajjar and the marketing strategy for the festival season.

Panasonic recently forayed into the water purifier segment in India. Going forward, which are the other new products the company is planning to launch in India?

We will concentrate on the categories in which we are present. There will be many introductions within the categories in which we have presence. For instance, we will be rolling out the new range of air conditioners in December from our three new manufacturing plants coming up at Jhajjar, Haryana. We will also launch new models in semi-automatic washing machines as it is a big market or us. By April, there will be a new range of flat panel TVs.

As part of Panasonic’s capacity expansion plans, what will be the strategy over the next few years?

We will be expanding the capacity of the Noida manufacturing plant to 1 million unit of flat panel TVs by end March from current 600,000 units. We will concentrate the manufacturing towards Jhajjhar in the mid-term plan which is till 2015.  We will be investing a total of $200 million in the new greenfield plant in Jhajjar and expanding the capacity of Noida unit.

How much is Panasonic India targeting in terms of topline growth in the current fiscal?

We had planned about 72 per cent growth initially in this fiscal compared to 2011-12 fiscal. Looking at the current situation, we may still do over 60 per cent growth over last year.

With big festivals such as Diwali and Dusshera around the corner, how are consumer durable makers keeping up with demand? How do you see the sentiment among consumers?

The Indian economy is still not out of the woods. With a slew of big-bang reforms initiated by the government, people have understood that the government is ready to rollout policies. While foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail may not improve the scenario and the economic situation, it is clear that the government is ready to take bold reforms measures. There have been visible signs of appreciation of the rupee, which is very positive. If this goes forward, it will improve the overall economic sentiment. With inflation at an all-time high, affordability is a challenge. During the coming festive season, our idea is to create vibrancy in the consumer durables market through huge investments in above-the-line activities.

What are the different above-the-line initiatives you are planning during the festival season? How much would be the total investment in these activities?

We are planning to invest close to Rs 75 crore during this festival season. Out of that, Rs 44 crore will go in above-the-line activities. This will include the TV commercial of the brand, prints ads and outdoor advertising related to festival campaign. The remaining Rs 29 crore will go into on the ground activities.

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