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MAS Holdings bullish on own intimate wear brand

K Rajani Kanth  |  Chennai/ Hyderabad 

Sri Lanka-based MAS Holdings, South Asia's largest intimate apparel manufacturer, is bullish on the Indian market with its own brand Amante.
The $750-million company, which supplies lingerie to Victoria's Secret, Marks & Spencers and GAP, and makes sportwear for global like Nike, Adidas and Reebok, is planning to invest $10 million in manufacturing and branding of the Amante range.
"We had been contemplating the launch of our own intimate brand exclusively for India since a decade. However, the retail market was not opened up then. Now, we think is the right time for us to launch our brand as the lingerie market here has stepped out of the closet," Ajay Amalean, managing director (retail), MAS Holdings, told Business Standard.
The market for lingerie in India is currently pegged at Rs 1,600 crore, of which the organised sector accounts for around Rs 350 crore.
"The target market that we are looking at addressing is the Rs 200-crore middle and upper segment. The Amante range would be priced between Rs 245 and Rs 900," he said.
MAS Holdings has 28 manufacturing facilities in five countries. In India, it has one facility in Bangalore and two in Chennai. The company has so far invested $130 million in the country.
According to Amalean, who was recently in Hyderabad to announce the launch of Amante, the range would be initially be manufactured in Sri Lanka.
"However, the manufacturing will be migrated to our Chennai facility for cost savings in two to three years down the line. Eventually, we plan to shift manufacturing from Chennai to our proposed facility at Nellore in Andhra Pradesh," he added.
MAS Holdings, which launched Amante in India on October 21, 2007, is currently marketing the brand through large-format stores and shop-in-shops like Shoppers' Stop, Lifestyle and Hyderabad-based Brisah outlet.
It intends to initially focus on the southern market and have 15 to 20 such stores by the first half of 2008, before going for a pan-India presence with 100 stores by 2008-end.
Plans are also on the cards to set up exclusive Amante stores via the franchisee route, Amalean said. "However, our focus will primarily be on building the brand. Hence, only three to five exclusive stores will come up by the end of next year, and this would be increased to around 20 by 2009," he said.
"We will allow the Indian market to define our topline," he added, while declining to share the company's projections from its brand in India.
On the status of the company's proposed Rs 800-crore Nellore facility, he said they were awaiting government's notification of being declared as an SEZ park to start the construction work.

First Published: Mon, November 05 2007. 00:00 IST
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