Monday, January 31, 2005

Benett Coleman buys stake in Pantaloon and Celebrity Fashions

Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd has announced that it has struck deals to acquire stakes in Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd and Celebrity Fashions (P) Ltd, makers of the Indian Terrain clothing brand. Bennett Coleman will acquire 4.53% in Pantaloon, and 12% in Celebrity Fashions. The Pantaloon deal is aimed at raising funds for the purpose of expansion, according to an unnamed company official. Launched in 1987 as a menswear maker, Pantaloon is now a leading retailer running stores, hypermarkets and food bazaars. Pantaloon has definitive plans to increase its space capacity to 3 million sq. feet (278,700 sq. metres) from one million over the next 18 months. Pantaloon would issue 9,53,653 fresh shares at Rs 734 each to Bennett Coleman. Pantaloon will also issue 408,165 convertible warrants to its founders at Rs 735 each. Bennett Coleman will shell out about Rs. 70 crore for the stake in Pantaloon. After the conversion of these warrants, Bennett, Coleman will hold 4.26% in the expanded equity. In the tie-up between Bennett Coleman and Celebrity Fashions, while the Chennai based company, which owns the popular Indian Terrain brand of men’s casualwear, is eager to strengthen its brand and gain enhanced mindshare amongst middle-class urban consumers, Bennett Coleman has the right media mix to spread the message. The four-year-old Indian Terrain brand, growing at a fast 15%, is set to cross Rs 35 crore in sales in 2004-05, and competes directly with brands like Raymond’s ColorPlus and Allen Solly. Currently operating through nine manufacturing facilities in Chennai, Celebrity Fashions supplies apparel to iconic American and UK-based fashion brands like Timberland, JC Penney, Diesel, Banana Republic, Quicksilver, Nautica and Marlboro. Celebrity Fashions has independent design studios to cater to foreign brands.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Mobile Phones India - News, Views & Reviews

Hi people, Have just launched my new blog - Mobile Phones India. If you are a mobile handsets freak, you will find the essential News, Views & Reviews on latest Mobile Handsets, Smart Phones, Camera & MP3 Phones on this blog. The topics will cover mobile, phones, cellular, handsets, cell phones, smart phones, mp3 phones, PDAs, mobile accessories, mobile gaming, cracks and whacks :) Once agin, the blog is Strictly for absolute mobile phone freaks! Sissies please excuse ;-) Do check the blog out and let me have your comments. I also will accept contributions in terms of real experience based reviews of the mobile handsets you have used. Send in your contributions to Do chage the AT in the above mail ID with @ ;-) Cheers!!! Rishu

Friday, January 28, 2005

Columbia Tristar renamed Sony Pictures

Sony Pictures Releasing International is the new name of Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International. Keeping in line with this name change, Columbia TriStar Films of India Limited will be now renamed as Sony Pictures Releasing of India Limited (SPRIL). The name change comes amidst Sony Pictures Releasing International's second best year at the box office. The international operation has generated more than $1 billion in box office receipts, pacing second only to the $1.3 billion in ticket sales the company recorded in 2002. Keeping in tandem with the international performance, the Indian operations too created records of sorts by crossing the Rs 1 billion mark in ticket sales in 2004. This is the second time that the Indian operations have scaled to such heights, in a short span of three years, the first time being 2002. Sony Pictures Releasing International will be releasing a highly anticipated slate of films in 2005 and 2006 that includes Hitch, Fun With Dick and Jane, Bewitched, Stealth, Click, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Legend of Zorro, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, All The King's Men, The DaVinci Code, Rent, XXX: State of the Union and Are We There Yet.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Baazee to become eBay India

Baazee, India's most celebrated auctions site, would soon be rechristened as eBay India. This move is being undertaken to integrate eBay's global best practices, features and tools in the site and make it more user friendly. eBay had acquired and its subsidiary India Pvt Ltd for $50 million in August last year. has already started transferring user information to eBay's global technology hosting centers. This is part of a process planned as early as the eBay acquisition in August 2004 and the changes have been communicated to the Baazee users starting November 2004. Baazee is also planning to work closely with the IT industry and the IT ministry to explore the potential of Internet in enabling e-commerce and entrepreneurship in India. It also plan to reach out to all of India's Internet population over the next year through Baazee Academies, online advertising and PR to make them aware of Baazee's offering and get them to trade on the site.

Dabur buys Balsara for Rs143cr

Consumer goods major Dabur India Ltd. has acquired Balsara's hygiene and home products businesses, a leading provider of oral care and household care products in India, for Rs. 143 Crore ($32.7 million). Dabur's board has approved the acquisition of the entire promoters' stake in the three Balsara companies - 99.4% in Balsara Hygiene Products, 100% in Balsara Home Products and 97.9% of Besta Cosmetics. Dabur will soon seek shareholders' approval for completing the acquisition. The Balsara Group, which has oral care brands like Promise and Babool, mosquito repellents like Odomos and household products like Odonil and Odopic, has a sales turnover of Rs.2 billion ($45.8 million). The group has manufacturing facilities in three locations. In addition to its core oral care and household care businesses, Balsara operates in the high-growth herbal extracts business.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tommy Hilfiger ties-up with Welspun for marketing home textiles

Global fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger has selected Welspun India to market its premium home textiles in India through a licensee arrangement. Welspun India is planning to capitalise upon the opportunities in the evolving home textiles market in India and expects to gain sizeable premium, mid-priced and discount segments over a period of next 3-4 years. Indian home textile sector is estimated to be around Rs 1200 crores. Welspun entered the segment last year marketing a range of bath and bed products under the brand Spaces, even as the Nusli Wadia owned Bombay Dyeing has been playing the lead role in the domestic market in a nascent market. Concentrating on the premium Rs 2,000 onwards market segment with the Tommy Hilfiger brand, Spaces will address Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 of the mass market, and Welspun will be the discount brand. Though Welspun supplies terry towels to Tommy Hilfiger, US, it will initially import the Tommy Hilfiger home linen products to be retailed in India. Expected to go for production after May/June 2005, the Tommy Hilfiger brand will be manufactured at its sheeting plant having 1 lakh metres per day capacity. So Bombay Dyeing, and a few ‘boutique’ stores like Jagdish Stores, Fab India and others will have competition this year like never before.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Germany based G-Hanz launches radiationless mobiles in India

German consumer electronics major, G-Hanz, has launched its 'harmless radiation' mobile phones in India and confimed that it is considering setting up a manufacturing base in the India. G-Hanz handsets overcome the effects of electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) by super-imposing a random noise field, so that these radiations become neutral to human tissue. The biochip technology, which mitigates the effects of EMR, was developed by US-based EMX Corporation. G-Hanz has signed an exclusive partnership agreement with EMX Corporation and has formed a new company - G-Hanz EMF Telecom - which would market the new range of handsets in India. G-Hanz expects to secure one per cent of the total mobile phone market in India and has aggressive strategies to penetrate the Indian market. G-Hanz has earmarked $5 million for promotional and marketing activities in the country and has retained India's star cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar as the brand ambassador for G-Hanz mobile phones.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

CII to felicitate top performing brands of India

Over 150 nominations of various brands from more than 90 companies will be evaluated by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for its annual ‘CII Brand of the Year award’. The growing popularity of these awards can be guaged by the nominations, which include - What is remarkable about India's ever evolving branding scenario is that even common place products like steel, batteries, plastic and needles are now being translated into unique brand experiences. Companies like Tata Steel, Hi+Care Plastics, Nilkamal Plastics, Amara Raja, Exide and Needle Industries have submitted their nominations for a place under the sun. Even government organisations have pitched in with entries from the like of Department of Tourism, Tamil Nadu government. The winner will be announced during the Brand Summit in February 2005.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Tata Motors launches Spacio Gold

Tata Motors has announced the launch of Spacio Gold, the premium version of its rural and semi-urban utility vehicle Tata Spacio A1. Spacio Gold, while retaining its core appeal of three litre DI engine, rugged built and high fuel efficiency, would offer enhanced looks and comfort to the up-market customer. Launched in 1999, Tata Motors has sold close to 48,000 Spacios so far. Available in AC and non-AC versions and complying with the Bharat Stage I/II norms, Spacio Gold is priced in the range of Rs 4.29-4.91 lakh. Tata Motors is not only a full-range, commercial vehicle manufacturer it is also India's largest and amongst the world's top ten. Over 130 models - from 2-tonne light commercial vehicles (LCVs) to 40-tonne tractor-trailers and buses that can seat from 12 to as many as 60 people - provide a wide variety of transport solutions. Besides, the company offers a range of special purpose vehicles, off-road vehicles and vehicles for India's defence needs.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Sony to retail Sony Ericsson's Mobile Phones through exclusive outlets

With Mobile Phones becoming ubiquitos in India and the mobile handset manufacturers becoming more aggressive in their branding efforts, Sony India has also announced its latest initiative to retail Sony Ericsson's mobile phones through Sony World and Sony Exclusive authorised outlets across the country. The entire range of Sony Ericsson phones will be displayed at and available at these outlets. The focus will be on enhancing the customer's retail experience, so as to meet their expectations from the brand. This is a step forward to demonstrate and display the strength of entire portfolio of Sony products, so as to meet their expectations from the brand. This is also a step forward to demonstrate and display the strength of an entire portfolio all Sony products, the unique features and advanced technology that allow consumers of Sony products to stay seamlessly connected. With close collaboration among all Sony companies in India and working hand-in-hand with its business partners, Sony is looking at achieving greater synergy and growth in India, which is a key market for the company.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Air Deccan to get more wings

Air Deccan, the airline that shook the Indian air travel industry with its professionally developed and executed positioning strategy, has announced that it will soon add more flights to its fleet and additional destinations to its route network. Air Deccan will acquire two more Airbus A-320s by February 2005 from Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise (SALE), which will be stationed at Hyderabad and Kolkata, respectively. The two new aircrafts would be deployed to launch flights on the Kolkata-Delhi and Kolkata-Mumbai sectors, apart from enhancing connectivity between various cities, including the Bangalore-Delhi sector. Besides, the airline will also place the smaller ATR aircraft in Kolkata to launch operations into the north-eastern parts of the country. Remaining true to its positioning strategy of being a low-cost airline, Air Deccan's flights to new destinations and expanding the connectivity in existing destinations will see Air Deccan offer fares which are lower than the prevalent ones offered by the competing airlines.

Rumours Confirmed - Elder Pharma buys drug brand from Eli Lilly

The strong rumour reported by me a few days ago, that Mumbai-based Elder Pharma has bought the rights for an anti-infective drug, Tobraneg, from pharma multinational Eli Lilly India has been now confirmed through a formal announcement. Tobraneg, an injectable antibiotic brand of Tobramycin from Eli Lilly in India. The acquisition gives Elder ownership of Tobraneg for the Indian, Sri Lankan and Nepalese market. It is the first major brand sale deal in 2005 and the second product which Eli Lilly is selling in the recent months, the first being Dobutrex to Nicholas Piramal India late last year. The acquisition will help Elder Pharma to further consolidate its position in the anti-bacterial (anti-infective) segment. Tobramycin is an original research product by Eli Lilly and belongs to the Aminoglycoside class. Elder presently has cephalosporins (orals and injectables) with a total sale of Rs 20 crore from the segment, and the addition of an Aminoglycoside brand is expected to strengthen its product basket of woundcare anti-bacterials. Eli Lilly’s Tobraneg touched peak sales of Rs 5-crore sales last year. The drug enjoys brand equity among surgeons, gynaecologists, orthopaedics and consulting physicians. Tobraneg is prescribed as an add-on with cephalosporins in severe infections and surgical procedures. It competes with Aminoglycosides (prescribed for additional gram-negative bacterial cover and reduce chances of infections) molecules like Amikacin and Gentamicin. This segment has a total turnover of Rs 110 crore and unit-wise sales of more than Rs 8 crore annually. Some of Elder’s products include Chyrnoral, Salutyl and Oxoferrin. The exact price details of the acquisition deal have not been made public but the rumours are rife that Elder has paid about 1.25% times of the turnover of the brand, which was about Rs 5 crores in sales last year. Industry sources believe that apart from the expected increased income from the Tobraneg brand, Elder will also be able to extract mileage in the market place, which will push its brand equity to a new high because of an acquisition from an MNC's stable, that too, one like Eli Lilly.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Daikin India to spin off into two distinct companies

The $4.5 billion (about Rs 20,000 crore) Japanese consumer durables major Daikin Industries is planning to split its Indian arm — Daikin Airconditioning India Pvt Ltd — into two companies. While one company will focus on manufacturing, the other will be a trading company. Daikin Airconditioning India, is planning to demerge its manufacturing units at Faridabad and Silvassa into a separate company. The residual company will then be the trading arm. The plan is awaiting approval from foreign investment promotion board (FIPB) at the moment. The idea behind the split is to impart greater focus to the operations of the company and to facilitate brand building. The Japanese consumer durables major Daikin kicked off the first phase of its restructuring operations in India a little over a month ago, when it bought the 20% stake held by its joint venture partner — the Shriram group — in Daikin Shriram Airconditioning. The stake was held through Siel. Post this buyout, the company has been subsequently re-christened Daikin Airconditioning India. The company had clocked a turnover of around Rs 150 crore in 2003-04. The integrated airconditioning company Daikin Industries had entered the Indian market through this joint venture in 2000. Daikin Industries is a multi-product company with the air-conditioning business accounting for 74% of its business. It has a 10% share in the residential air-conditioning market and 36% in the commercial air-conditioning in Japan. The company has a presence in eight major international markets, and is now aiming to be a global leader. Earlier, Daikin had plans to set up a plant in India but dropped it as it felt the economy had still not opened up enough and that certain components required for the manufacture of ACs were still not available. The company has scaled down its manufacturing activities drastically in Silvassa after the government introduced a 12% exit tax. The Indian operations are functioning primarily on the basis of imports from Japan and Thailand.

The Broadband Brand - Hathway Cable & Datacom

Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Pune are the luckiest of cities as they have got onto the broadband wave way ahead of others and the credit goes to Hathway Cable and Datacom Pvt. Ltd., one of the largest and fastest growing cable networks in India. A brand name that spans across eight cities with a ready cable infrastructure reaching the last mile, Hathway is the pioneer of Cable Internet Service in India and one of the largest Multi System Operators (MSOs) bringing quality transmission of over 100 television channels across the nation. Hathway distributes its cable TV as well as Internet signals through the underground fibre optic networks, and has located optic fibre nodes at various points in the network, which substantially improves the distribution and quality of Internet services. Hathway is seeking to revolutionise the way people access the web. The high bandwidth advantage of the cable infrastructure of Hathway allows faster, uninterrupted, unrestricted, uninhibited and unlimited access for hours together to the internet. The fibre-optic backbone and its state-of-the-art Internet Node and Data Centre makes the network capable of providing reliable Internet service as well as digital TV transmission. It provides this service through its cable network on a subscriber’s PC/Corporate LAN using cable modem/router. Hathway’s cable Internet service is based on Data Over Cable Services Interface Specifications (DOCSIS) protocol, which has over 5 million deployments worldwide. It is now the de facto standard for all cable Internet deployments across the world.

Strong Rumours - Elder Pharma buys drug brand from Eli Lilly

There is a strong rumour that Mumbai-based Elder Pharma has bought the rights for an anti-infective drug, Tobraneg, from pharma multinational Eli Lilly India. If this is true, it will be the first major brand sale deal in 2005 and the second product which Eli Lilly is selling in the recent months, the first being Dobutrex to Nicholas Piramal India late last year. Looks like Eli Lilly is selling off its not so strong brands as part of its strategy to restructure its product basket so as to focus on ‘high value or high volume’ products. It will come as no surprise if the news is true and in the coming months Eli Lilly hives off some more products. Watch this space for further information on this. Meanwhile, I am working on getting the Elder Pharma buys drug brand from Eli Lilly rumour confirmed ;-) Read the follow-up story - Rumours Confirmed - Elder Pharma buys drug brand from Eli Lilly

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Brand India vs. Brand China

India has come a long way from its status of being among the underdeveloped nations a few years ago. The last decade has been nothing less than a roller-coaster ride for India. The country has taken giant leaps in the global economic scenario and is now the 4th biggest economy. Even though India has an enviable base of knowledge capital, it is still lacking behind China, which is at number two in terms of world gross domestic product. Let's take a look at what the authorities in the fields of branding and marketing have to say on this.
I think the world communicates so quickly and global companies are so influential that a lot of the ideas have spread quite widely. If you go to China for example, they're maybe 20 years behind, and that's what's holding their companies back right now — branding and marketing. They've to learn how to build brands — that's what they're missing.
DAVID AAKER World's most respected marketing thinker, best-selling marketing guru, and author of the classics Managing Brand Equity and Building Strong Brands
As India and China develop economically, US firms will face a repeat of the Japanese threat which consisted of competing with Japanese companies able to offer better products at lower costs. This will force more companies to shift production to India and China and reduce the number of industrial jobs available in the US.
PHILIP KOTLER A man almost as famous as the word marketing. Given the complexity of the global marketing landscape, knowing Kotler becomes essential to survival
Over the next ten years, I see more protectionism. More and more countries will start levying tariffs on work outsourced to countries such as China and India.
EDWARD DE BONO The celebrated author of Lateral Thinking and Six Thinking Hats de Bono, he is known as the father of lateral thinking
In contrast (to India), the greatest weakness of China is its incredibly small proportion of educated people.
PETER DRUCKER The celebrated management guru who coined the term knowledge society among many others
New opportunities are emerging for both the countries and the possibilities are immense. It remains to be seen which of the two countries will be able to emerge as the indisputable leader.
As for me, I am rooting for India... wanna bet? :-)