Whirlpool MD Says New Pdts, Capacity Expansion To Boost FY20 Sales

Whirlpool of India Ltd will achieve double-digit revenue growth in 2019-20 (Apr-Mar) as it plans to launch a slew of innovative products in 2019 and as it focusses on increasing capacity, Managing Director Sunil D’Souza told Cogencis.

The company will launch new single-door and double-door refrigerators, a water purifier, an air-conditioner cum air purifier, D’Souza told Cogencis. The Indian arm of the US-based company will also ramp up production of its Bloomwash Pro washing machines, he said.

“In air (category), we have got an entire set of product in, both, the mass and the premium end. In the premium end we are launching a voice-enabled AC (air conditioner) as well as air purifier cum air conditioner that you can run standalone as an air purifier or you can run it standalone as an AC or you can do a combination of both,” D’Souza said.

D’Souza expects the soon-to-be-launched air purifier cum air conditioner to do well, especially in cities afflicted with high pollution. The product is likely to face competition from Voltas Ltd, LG and Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.

Apart from the product launches, the company is investing heavily in ramping up capacity across its factories in Pune, Faridabad and Puducherry. The factories are running at 90% utilization currently, and at times, even at 95%.

It has invested 1.8 bln rupees to add a new line at its factory in Pune and expects it to become operational by the end of 2019. At its Puducherry factory, utilized to produce washing machines, the company had added a production line in the quarter ended December, as it plans to ramp up production at the facility.

Whirlpool of India is also optimistic about its new cooking portfolio and expects the vertical to grow the fastest among its smaller segments, which also includes air purifiers and water purifiers.

Commenting on the company’s operating profit margins, D’Souza said that he expects margins to return quite strongly in Jan-Mar due to reduced volatility in commodity prices and currency movements. The company’s operating profit contracted 125 basic points on the year to 8.1% in Oct-Dec.

On the back of product launches and capacity expansion, D’Souza expects the company’s revenue and net profit to grow in double digits, and gain market share as well.

Apart from the retail model of revenue, consumer durable products are sold on three other models globally–community pay per use model, subscription model and Internet of things enabled connectivity for appliances model.

For these models to become prevalent, “I think the critical piece is credit ratings and the ability to take risk… I don’t think that space is fully evolved in India,” D’Souza said.―Cogencis

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