In interaction with Mr. Pradip Kumar Menon, CFO, Pidilite Industries Ltd.
Speaking with DSIJ, Mr. Pradip Kumar Menon, CFO, Pidilite Industries Ltd. states that the recovery from the impact of the pandemic has been swift and this is evident from the rising sales curve in both the domestic and international markets. Following is the detailed discussion.
What is the key learning Pidilite Industries has taken from the current pandemic?
The unprecedented nature of the pandemic took everybody by surprise, especially the lockdown. It became imperative for organisations to be agile from top to bottom as one had to assess situations precisely, adapt and respond quickly to every changing event. At Pidilite Industries we first made sure that our people were together and aligned. We formed two leadership teams – one was an ‘Act Now’ team and the other was a ‘Plan Now’ team. The Act Now team focused on ensuring safety, security and day-to-day operations and the Plan Now team focused on how we could be at the forefront of change that was likely to come after this crisis. The volatility of the situation has reiterated to us the importance of adaptability, resilience and agility.
What are the various strategic initiatives taken by your company to improve its market share?
Pidilite Industries has remained focused on its strategy of creating categories through holistic brand management, innovation and driving distribution to meet the unmet needs of consumers. This is supported by a resilient supply chain, digital wave and culture.
What is your product mix strategy to maximise revenues?
Our approach is to innovate and add premium value to our products. In the process we keep our consumers upgraded and thereby drive a better mix. An example of this is ‘Fevicol’ where we have upgraded consumers from the SH variant to more premium variants such as ‘Marine’ (water-resistant), ‘Heat X’ (heat-resistant), ‘Ezeespray’, etc. We have strengthened the business through inorganic opportunities such as the recent acquisition of the Araldite brand in the Indian sub-continent.
What is your outlook on the Indian economy and how do you see Pidilite Industries growing over the next two to three years?
Consumption has seen green shoots in the last two months, especially around the festival season, in many sectors, although it remains to be seen to what extent it would sustain in the coming months. A lot depends upon the trajectory of the pandemic and vaccination measures. While we are seeing input costs hardening, we remain cautiously optimistic on the steadily improving demand recovery and expect the economy to get back to growth by early 2021. Our focus remains on profitable double-digit volume growth both in the medium and long term.
What are your opportunity areas in 2021? What is the growth status of your international markets’ expansion?
While we are seeing input costs hardening, we remain cautiously optimistic on steadily improving demand recovery and expect the economy to get back to growth by early 2021. This will be positive for our business and all the categories we operate in. On the international front our business focus remains on emerging markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East where we can replicate the India–like model. We have seen strong double-digit growth in recent quarters across our international markets as the impact of the pandemic has receded. This is building on our robust performance during 2019-20 as well.
Is your business back to the pre-pandemic levels?
Overall, the consumer and end-user segments have registered volume and value growth in excess of 20 per cent during Q3 FY20-21, exceeding the pre-pandemic level across geographies. The recovery is also aided by strong growth in rural and semi-urban areas while the urban regions have also shown good recovery. Overall, the B2B segment has grown by double digits in the last quarter. Given our strong brands and organisational resiliency, we have probably bounced back at a faster rate than the market and hope to sustain the growth going forward.