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Onida eyes overseas acquisition

July 09, 2007 10:47 IST

Mirc Electronics, the manufacturer of Onida brand of consumer electronics, is looking for overseas acquisition opportunities to beef up its research and development capabilities.

G Sunder, CEO, Mirc Electronics, said, "The company is looking at inorganic growth opportunities in R&D, as it is focused on introducing innovative products by blending cost benefits from India and global design trends." He added that the company was in talks with several product design firms but did not elaborate on what stage the discussions had reached.

The Indian durables firm is in the process of strengthening its technological competency to compete with the increasing dominance of multinationals in the consumer durable space in India. The move is also aimed at strengthening the product pipeline of the company that's been largely known as a television manufacturer. Also with increasing competition, margins of most durables have been squeezed and value engineering, made possible with a superior R&D capability, helps companies take costs out of the system without affecting quality.

Company executives claim that R&D will help the company get long term benefits and savings, help in meeting customer demands by customisation and localised solutions, like for instance, introducing battery-operated television sets, to tackle the power crisis in several parts of India.

The company has recently restructured the research wing into three different divisions that look after home appliances, entertainment and a separate innovation centre. The acquisition will add more ammunition to the innovation centre that's responsible for developing technology for the company's future product launches.

Currently Mirc Electronics has an in-house R & D strength of 150 employees.

The company also has technology tie-ups with international brands such as JVC.

Recently, Mirc Electronics entered into a relationship with MARVELL of USA for getting access to latest technological developments in the LCD (liquid crystal display) category.

In recent years, Onida has made a foray into other categories such as air conditioners, microwave ovens and DVD players. Sunder mentioned that technological innovation has played a key role in the company's strategy of expanding in new product categories.

For instance, Onida has launched a DVD players that boast of playing scratched DVDs, microwave ovens with automatic menu features and air conditioners that can supposedly cool even when the external temperature is 48 degrees.

The moves are aimed at ensuring that Mirc becomes a multi-product companyrather than excessive reliance on its television business. At present air-conditioners make up 25 per cent of the company's business while microwaves make up 10 per cent of company sales. "Earlier microwave oven was only used for heating, but this has now escalated to cooking. Hence we introduced the auto menu feature in our ovens," said Sunder.

Tejal A Deshpande & Prasad Sangameshwaran in Mumbai
Source: source
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