Britannia Industries, which has a near dominant control in the Indian biscuits market, is embarking on a global expansion to shore up its growth story. The company, which logged 19 per cent growth in top line at Rs 5,400 crore, derives around Rs 250 crore from global operations and is looking at all vectors to expand its presence overseas.
“Several of our bakery and dairy brands are available in approximately 30 countries, and we want to open up new geographies with new offerings,” Managing Director Vinita Bali said. Britannia, in addition to a decent presence in West Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Australia, has entered mature North American and UK markets. “We are targeting the Indian diaspora in the United States, Canada and the UK. It is indeed a highly competitive market, but is a large one, as well,” Bali said about sales prospects there. According to her, Britannia has hardly touched the tip of the iceberg in reaching out to the Indian diaspora, and intends to reach beyond this target segment pretty soon and rely on the distributor model.
Britannia intends to ride on the established organised retail market in mature markets and go for the hard sell at the point-of-sale terminals to reach out to the consumer.
“We support our brands selectively, depending on the market, and this consists of in-market and some media support. The radio there is a very targeted medium and we are riding on that. Some of the Indian television networks beam Indian content to the people there and we are leveraging on that, as well,” Bali said.
According to her, a key challenge in building a brand in an overseas market with an abundance of choice, is in establishing its relevance and specialty. “In our experience, consumers around the world buy brands and not companies or the way they are structured. To compete effectively, quality and its consistent delivery is a given. Being global is the way companies look at the world and their businesses. Consumers look for brands that satisfy their needs and are different, better and special,” Bali noted.
Bali should know. She has worked in global roles at Cadbury and The Coca-Cola Company. During her stint as the worldwide marketing director in The Coca-Cola Company, she was one of the key players in doubling its historical growth rate.
Apart from its expansive manufacturing capacity in India, Britannia has some facilities in West Asia after it acquired two bakery companies there.
“Some of the products catering to the global markets are sourced from these units, while the bulk of the supply is from India as it is more cost effective,” Bali said. In 2011-12, Britannia spent as much as Rs 200 crore to expand capacities and put up two greenfield units. Industry analysts indicate Britannia may be scouting West Asian markets for another acquisition, an aspect on which Bali declined to comment.