Wipro Ex­pects Consumer Biz to Touch $1 b Next Year

Cut­ting down on un­der­per­form­ing brands across all ge­ogra­phies, IT ma­jor to chan­nelise most of its re­sources to­wards grow­ing flag­ship brands

The Economic Times - - Companies - Anir­ban.Sen@ times­group.com

Ben­galuru: Wipro’s consumer care and light­ing busi­ness ex­pects to touch the $1bil­lion rev­enue mile­stone by next year, even as the com­pany cuts down on un­der­per­form­ing brands across all its ma­jor ge­ogra­phies and uses ma­jor­ity of its re­sources to­wards grow­ing flag­ship brands such as Yard­ley and San­toor, a top com­pany ex­ec­u­tive said. In an in­ter­view, Wipro consumer care and light­ing CEO Vi­neet Agrawal said that the com­pany had also been grap­pling with the neg­a­tive im­pact of cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tions over the past year or two and hence had been slightly de­layed in reach­ing the $1-bil­lion mark. For the lat­est fis­cal, the com­pany ex­pects to end with about .₹ 6,000 crore (about $901 mil­lion) in rev­enue. The com­pany cur­rently gen­er­ates about 51% of over­all rev­enues from in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

“In the next one year, we should hit that ($1 bil­lion) fig­ure. Next year we should, un­less some­thing hap­pens to the cur­rency. Last year we could have hit that num­ber if the cur­rency had stayed stable,” Agrawal told ET. “For ex­am­ple, the Malaysian cur­rency crashed — the av­er­age cur­rency im­pact last year ver- sus the US dol­lar was about 20%. So that was a big im­pact on busi­ness.” Wipro consumer care and light­ing, which de­merged from Wipro’s core IT busi­ness in Novem­ber 2012, has over the past few years also cut down on a num­ber of its brands and prod­ucts, as the com­pany wants to fo­cus on se­lect flag­ship brands. “For ex­am­ple, when we took over Unza, we had 48 brands. We’ve brought it down to 22. That’s been a big cut­down. That’s over­all. But in each country, we’ve cut down — for in­stance, in Mid­dle East we used to have 7-8 brands. We’ve cut down to1. And now we’re adding two more. And in Unza, we’ve ac­tu­ally grown rev­enues not by adding brands, but by delet­ing brands,” said Agrawal, who took charge of Wipro’s consumer busi­ness in 2002. “We’ve cut down on brands to en­sure we are more fo­cused and grow them by hav­ing a fo­cused strat­egy rather than spread­ing our­selves thin,” he said. Wipro ac­quired Sin­ga­pore-based Unza in 2007 for $246 mil­lion. Wipro’s consumer flag­ship San­toor brand also con­tin­ues to per­form strongly and cur­rently holds the third po­si­tion in the mar­ket, Agrawal said. Since the com­pany de­merged from Wipro’s core IT busi­ness in 2012, it has also re­vamped and strength­ened its cor­po­rate, fi­nance and le­gal teams.

“As an over­all Wipro En­ter­prises , we’ve de­vel­oped a cor­po­rate team, sep­a­rate le­gal team (which mir­rored what we had ear­lier in Wipro). Over­all there has been a change, but not in in­di­vid­ual busi­nesses,” said Agrawal. At the time Ben­galuru-based Wipro Consumer Care and Light­ing sep­a­rated from the core IT busi­ness, it con­trib­uted about 10% of over­all rev­enues, or about .₹ 4,000 crore. “The or­gan­i­sa­tion has grown well, let’s say from 2002-03 when we were about .₹ 300 crore. While the num­bers are not out yet, I as­sume we’ll be al­most a shade un­der .₹ 6,000 cro- re. We’ve grown 20 times in the last 13 years. We’ve grown or­gan­i­cally and in­or­gan­i­cally,” Agrawal said. Agrawal said that the com­pany would, with its ag­gres­sive ac­qui­si­tion strat­egy and not spare any re­sources and re­strict it­self, if it saw op­por­tu­ni­ties worth pur­su­ing.

“From a size per­spec­tive, we don’t want to waste time chas­ing some­thing very small. We have a lot of cash on our books. Given the strength of our bal­ance sheet we can raise loans fairly eas­ily. From an em­ployee strength per­spec­tive, we’re about 8500 peo­ple. That’s not a constraint for us,” Agrawal said. “We will con­tinue to do ac­qui­si­tions, es­pe­cially in coun­tries like China. We won’t ac­quire in a de­vel­oped country,” he added.

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