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Emami test-markets haircare products in AP

Last updated on: April 07, 2010 03:41 IST

In a bid to expand its haircare portfolio, Kolkata-based Emami is test-marketing a few products, including a shampoo, in Andhra Pradesh. The exercise should be completed in a few months, according to Harsh Agarwal, wholetime director at the company.

The Rs 651-crore fast moving consumer goods company has a strong line-up of products in the skincare domain, with a mix of regular and ayurvedic creams and balms. Some of these include Emami Fair & Handsome, Boroplus Antiseptic cream, Himani Fast Relief, Mentho balm and Emami cold cream.

On haircare, however, there is only Navratna Oil and variants under it such as a cooling oil, a light oil, etc. There is also an instant hair pack under the Emami umbrella, but nothing more. "There is much more we can do in the haircare segment," says Agarwal. "We are moving in that direction."

Apart from expanding its portfolio by launching products, Emami is also scouting for acquisitions in the haircare and skincare domains. "We are in discussions for possible acquisitions in Africa and Europe," he says, while scotching reports about his company eyeing Amrutanjan Healthcare.

Only, the company had been looking for quite a while at these two markets, as well as the Southeast Asian region, for possible acquisitions. Recent years have been spent chasing prospective targets, with little success.

In 2007, for instance, the company made a failed attempt to acquire the Singapore-based Unza Holdings Ltd, Southeast Asia's largest manufacturer of personal care products. This went to Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting.

In 2008, it did strike gold with the acquisition of Zandu Pharmaceuticals in the domestic market. In 2009, the company was reportedly in talks with Hershey's Beverages and Foods to acquire its Jumpin and XS juice brands. Nothing happened there. Then, it was said to be in the race for skincare brand Simple in the UK; nothing fructified. It was also said to be pursuing Lornamead group's Yardley business, which, instead, went to Wipro Consumer Care.

This year, another Lornamead brand, Tura, put on the block by the group, was being pursued by Emami. But, the business went to Godrej Consumer Products.

"We haven't given up our appetite for acquisitions," says Agarwal, who is in the charge of mergers and acquisitions at Emami. "It is very much on our agenda."
Viveat Susan Pinto in Mumbai