Panasonic to treble Indian sales by FY15; to invest Rs 1,500cr

Panasonic to treble Indian sales by FY15; to invest Rs 1,500cr Mumbai: Japanese electronics major Panasonic Corp on Tuesday said it has set a sales target of USD 3.6 billion in India by 2014-15 and will invest Rs 1,500 crore in marketing and advertising over the next two years.

India is one of the fastest-growing markets, driven by strong growth in the consumer segment, and the firm wants to corner a bigger share of this growing section, Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga said.

"We have seen very good growth in last few years and we had sales of USD 1.3 billion in FY12. In the next two years, we are looking at a three-time growth, and we are confident of sales crossing USD 3.6 billion by FY15," he told reporters here.

Tsuga, who is on a two-day visit to the country, met Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani as well as senior representatives from the Tata Group. He said the company is keenly exploring strategic tie-ups with Indian conglomerates.

"The discussions were for both B2B and B2C businesses. We wanted to understand the direction technologies like 4G are taking in this market. These discussions are at preliminary stages, the response we got was very positive," Tsuga said.

The company's growth is being driven by consumer products like flat panel TVs and air conditioners.

"India is a high growth market for us globally, hence we are planning investment in this region on products, talent, marketing and manufacturing. In the next two years, we are looking at investing about Rs 1,500 crore in advertising and marketing of products," Tsuga said.

Panasonic India traditionally invests about 7-8 percent of its annual revenues in sales and promotion.
The company, which has three production units at Noida and Jhajjar (Haryana) manufacturing ACs, television sets and washing machines in India. Last year, it invested USD 200 million at the Jhajjar facility.
Panasonic Group, along with its subsidiaries, employs 13,400 employees in the country.

"We already have seen our market share expand in the ACs and television categories. The focus this year will be on washing machines and beauty products. We will introduce new products," Panasonic India Managing Director for Consumer and Enterprise Division Manish Sharma said.

The Japanese giant is also looking at increasing the share of local manufacturing to provide products designed for the domestic market.

"We are very focused on R&D to design products for this market. While local sourcing is about 46 percent now, we want to increase it to 60 percent in the next two years, bringing down the import component," Tsuga said.

Panasonic is also focusing on growing its B2B portfolio.

"We recently embarked on a restructuring process globally, consolidating our business into 49 divisions under four categories - appliances, eco-solutions, AVC networks and automotive and industrial systems. Besides growing the consumer business, the focus is on driving profitability by focusing on B2B business specific to energy, security and devices," Tsuga added.

He said that although India currently contributes just about 1 percent of Panasonic's global revenues, its contribution to the overall pie is slated to grow strongly in the next few years.

PTI