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Plan to be more accessible to the emerging middle class: Rakshit Hargave

Interview with Managing Director, Nivea India Pvt. Ltd.

Business Standard 

Rakshit Hargave

As Nivea India Private Ltd's, an affiliate of German personal care major Beiersdorf, first plant in India gets onstream at Sanand near Ahmedabad, the company plans to roll out 15 new product extensions in 2015-16, and might export to SAARC countries if required. Rakshith Hargave, managing director of Nivea India says in an e-mailed interview that with the new plant, it plans to be more accessible to the emerging middle class through low put down prices, new packaging formats etc. Excerpts:

With the Sanand plant on-stream, and reduced imports, by how much will Nivea products become cheaper in India?


Nivea is a valued family brand. With the new plant, we plan to give caring solutions which are more accessible to the emerging middle class. Be it through low put down prices, new packaging formats and or value added innovations emerging out of local needs.

How big is the Indian market for you globally? What kind of growth do you expect in the Indian market in the coming years?

Indian market has contributed greatly to the growth of the company at a global level. We have enjoyed several years of strong double-digit growth, which is one of the reasons why Beiersdorf has decided to invest in the region, not only in a regional development lab, but also in a new plant. Part of Beiersdorf plans is to be closer to the market, and this investment is a demonstration of this aim.

We are currently focussing on skin, deodorant & men where our expertise lies in. We plan to roll out 15 new product extensions, new products across all the major categories in 2015-16 for the Indian consumer. We enjoy strong market positions (top 2) in the categories of body, creams, men's, lip and our aim is to grow and retain that. This plant is Nivea India's contribution to the Make in India initiative and we are optimistic of achieving our targets at a faster and sustainable growth in future as well.

You are setting up an R&D unit at Sanand to develop India-specific products. Share some details on that. What are the new products expected to be launched soon?

The new location will make it possible to significantly increase the development and production capacity for the growing markets of India and SAARC markets.

Our own regional development lab that is set up at the same location will focus on innovations especially for Indian consumer needs and neighbouring markets.

Beiersdorf has more than 130 years of skin experience, and Brand Nivea has an iconic stature in the Indian minds. Some for India innovations like Nivea Oil in lotion cocoa nourish or the Nivea Men All in One Face wash will be produced here. To address the Indian practice of oiling the skin, Nivea introduced the concept of Oil in Lotion.

In case you have done any consumer survey of the Indian market, what are the specific requirements in this market?

In India consumers seek different kinds of cleansing solutions for different skin needs. Our products will cater to all kinds of skin needs. Consumer desire high quality products from an aspirational brand at an affordable price. We aim to do just that with our new formats and price points. Tan repair & dark spot removal are key solutions consumers seek from their lotions or moisturisers.

Do you have any plans to export from India? If so, what percentage of the Sanand production would be exported?

The factory is going to first cater to domestic demand. However we are willing and able to cater to the Near East region and truly promote the 'Make in India' vision.

The plant will primarily produce creams, lotions, shower products and lip care from the Nivea and Nivea Men brands for sales in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and neighbouring countries.

The factory has been planned primarily to cater to local Indian demand but can export if required to SAARC markets.

What is the size of the skin-care, toiletries market in India and at what rate is that growing?

As per Nielsen the skin market is about Rs 5,000 crore and growing in single digits.

First Published: Wed, May 06 2015. 20:59 IST
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