“India has seen a phenomenal growth. From December onwards, the inventory build-up has been good, which we term, as a helicopter take-off. The loyalty programmes for dealers have helped and we have seen a pull effect in the market backed by vertical growth,” he tells DTNext in an interaction. Admitting that the sanitaryware brand did take a hit in its margins, owing to 40 per cent rise in commodity prices, he says the burn was ‘absorbed’ while the brand gears up to post a robust growth this year. Having expanded its portfolio to include faucets, water heaters and pipes and fittings, Roca Parryware is upbeat about seeing a 10 per cent growth over 2019. “The global pandemic has left India Inc to perceive 2020 year as a missing page from their business outcomes,” says Ranganathan, sounding confident of breaching the Rs 1,600 cr revenue mark by the year-end. Incidentally, Parryware contributes 70 per cent of the overall revenues.
January to April period has seen record sales and production and despite the lockdown ‘blip’ of May, the brand sees itself gaining speed in the latter part of the year. “Our Rs 50 crore capex is on track and expansion of faucets range in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan plant and plastics at Sriperumbudur is on, as we have reached 90 per cent utilisation,” he says, choosing not to derive comfort from a capacity utilisation perspective.
The brand continues to make market-led investments to give it the desired visibility via ‘flush COVID’ digital campaigns, even as it is keen to not slow down production. “We anticipate pent-up demand in June and July, as May onwards, the construction activities typically peak. All the states have permitted the building work to go on. We will take a hit only on the retail trade front,” says Ranganathan.
With its in-house-developed digital platform bringing traction (700 enquiries a month), the brand is betting on ‘safebuy’ concept as the need for bulk orders (25 bathrooms in Ambur or school urinals in Bengaluru) has kept its vendors busy. “We now have a database of over 15,000 dealers and 45,000 plus plumbers, as more and more customers are placing orders digitally. We also notice electronic items such as e-flush are moving fast,” he notes.
Exports to Australia and Europe have shown an uptick. Ranganathan says, “Since we are AAA certified, making headway into global markets has proved beneficial. With 30 per cent cheaper production cost advantage compared to south east Asia or 70 per cent cheaper than Europe, we believe exports can emerge as a big winner as there is no compromise on quality.”
Full payout of bonus and salary increments of 7 to 8 pc earlier this year have kept the 3,500 strong people’s morale high as Roca Parryware saw its market share climb by 1 per cent to 36 per cent.