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Wipro Consumer Care to intensify rural focus

April 28, 2011 15:02 IST

WiproWipro Consumer Care & Lighting, maker of the 'Santoor' brand of soaps, said on Thursday it would expand its efforts to tap the rural market by introducing its lower priced products in more regions of the country.

WCCGL, a division of software giant Wipro, which has been selling its Santoor brand of soaps at the Rs 5 and Rs 10 price points in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, now plans to introduce it in five more states.

"Our primary growth driver has been Santoor. Our rural focus has worked for us. We will continue to put thrust on rural areas and take our products to more villages and towns," WCCLG vice-president Anil Chugh told PTI.

The company had relaunched Santoor in 2009 and as part of its rural focus, it had introduced the soap at Rs 5 and Rs 10 price points with a special focus in the three states.

"This fiscal, we want to take it to five more states like Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu," he said.

With a focus on the rural market, the company is expecting to maintain its sales growth of 18-20 per cent this fiscal.

At present, Santoor has annual sales of around Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion) and is growing at 18 per cent year-on-year.

The company recently extended the brand into deodorants. Besides, the firm plans to promote its 'Santoor' facewash more aggressively this year.

WCCGL posted a net revenue of Rs 724 crore (Rs 7.24 billion) for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, up 19 per cent compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.

Its net profit during the period stood at Rs 87.1 crore (Rs 871 million), up 5 per cent vis-a-vis the year-ago period.

"This fiscal we expect to maintain the same growth rate," Chugh said.

In addition, he said the company is also planning to expand the presence of personal care brand 'Yardley' across the country to as many as 40,000 outlets within this year.

"Yardley is known more as a talcum powder brand. We have expanded into deodorants and soaps. In terms of its presence, we want to double our retail presence to 40,000 outlets this fiscal," he said.

In 2009, Wipro had acquired the Yardley business in Asia, West Asia and certain African markets for $45.5 million from UK-based Lornamead group.

Asked if the company is looking at more acquisitions, Chugh said the firm is open to it, but is not actively pursuing any brand or firm at present.

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