Wipro Consumer Care eyes Africa for growth

Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting (WCCL), which forayed into the international
personal care market by snapping up Singapore-headquartered Unza Holdings, is
training its focus on east and west African countries to increase Unza’s
base this fiscal.

expanding its go-to market strategy, hyping up marketing spends and
re-energising Unza’s portfolio to ramp up market share at a time when
competition is pulling

Two years after the FMCG
division of IT major Wipro acquired Unza for $246 million, the acquisition
reported revenues of Rs 882 crore in FY09. Unza’s net revenues jumped 26%
last fiscal, beating industry growth in developed markets such as Malaysia and
Singapore which was 1-3 % and Vietnam at 8-10

“Unza’s presence
in Nigeria and Egypt has helped us understand the potential for premium products
in the east and west African countries. We will target locally-relevant products
within such high-growth markets ,” Vineet Agrawal, president WCCL,

Unza’s portfolio
includes women’s toiletry brand Enchanteur, which accounts for 30% of
revenues, men’s brand Romano as well as Halal toiletry brand Safi. Unza is
the third largest player in personal care in Vietnam and Malaysia but currently
has a limited modern trade presence in

Halal toiletries are
products devoid of alcohol and animal derived emulsifiers. Though markets such as
Singapore and Hong Kong are dominated by modern trade—accounting for
robust 70%—WCCL has used its domestic expertise to build up its general
trade presence. As consumers avoid discretionary spends, their frequency of
shopping at general trade outlets has increased. Unza expects to gain by
positioning the lowerend and smaller units of its premium portfolio through this
channel overseas.

acquisition, the rising raw material prices prompted the company to shift to
common sourcing from China and automation across its five south-east Asian
manufacturing units. This quarter, it will infuse funds towards revitalising and
repackaging few brands. “We expect discretionary spends to go up over a
period of time and want to have the first share in it,” liaison director
of Wipro Unza, Kumar Chander,

WCCL had livened up
overseas marketing spends by around 30% in FY09 to push growth even in slowing
markets . “More than sheer increase in advertising, we have restructure
our spends from targeted below-the-line activities at the store level to more
mainstream advertising channels this fiscal. This is focused on increasing
demand even in smaller towns,” Mr Agrawal,

In the first quarter of
FY10, Unza’s volumes grew 13% to Rs 231 crore as Vietnam led the pack
growing 45%, followed by China and Indonesia.