In conversation with Achal Bakeri, Founder, Chairman & MD of Symphony Ltd

Armaan Madhani
/ Categories: Mindshare, Interviews
In conversation with Achal Bakeri, Founder, Chairman & MD of Symphony Ltd

"We have been selling through e-commerce marketplaces for quite some time now. Over the last two years, we witnessed an exponential growth in offtake through these channels. The rise in digital penetration in India has primarily contributed to this. Leveraging on this trend and with a further aim to strengthen our digital presence, we launched our own D2C brand store at the onset of summer 2021. We are optimising our supply chain for deeper penetration of our products pan-India through digital channels." says Mr. Achal Bakeri, Founder, Chairman & MD of Symphony Ltd 

What is your outlook on the consumer durables sector? What impact will the second wave of Coronavirus have on the sector?  

  • Consumer durables sector has a long runaway of growth on the back of:  

    • Increasing aspiration of the younger population.

    • Increasing affordability. 

    • An accelerated shift from the unorganised to organised on account of GST introduction. 

    • Increasing marketplace decentralisation, thanks to increasing digital penetration. 

  • The most significant impact of the second wave of COVID-19 is that it has increased the pace of digitalisation, leading to a spurt in the e-commerce sales of consumer durables. 

 

Your company witnessed a strong rebound coupled with healthy PAT growth in Q4FY21. What factors have contributed the most to help charts turnaround?  

  • The turnaround was led by our RoW i.e. rest-of-the-world business, which includes exports from Symphony India and revenue of our overseas subsidiaries.  

  • For the quarter ending March 2021, our RoW business registered the highest-ever topline of Rs 165 crore with YoY growth of approximately 46 per cent. Particularly, this was led by our business in the US wherein, we increased our market share by 67 per cent.  

  • Further, our domestic business also clocked a healthy 28 per cent (approximately) YoY growth, registering one of the highest standalone toplines for the quarter. This helped to achieve the highest quarterly PAT for the company. 

  • All in all, our Q4FY21 topline was the highest, which not-so-surprisingly came amidst COVID-19.  

  • There was a lot of buoyancy and demand in Q4FY2021, which continued till the mid of April. In fact, we were all gung-ho and increased the production of all our models at full throttle, until it was thwarted by the second wave of COVID-19.    

  • This performance was because of a combination of various factors such as: 

    • Introduction of a variety of models in the last one or two years, 

    • Our surging focus on increasing distribution/dealer network in semi-urban and rural regions, 

    • Our introduction of direct-to-customer (D2C) sales channels and online-offline integration to liquidate channel stock. 

    • Onboarding of newer large retailers in the overseas markets. 

 

How do you look at the untapped market opportunity in the industrial & commercial air cooling space? What are the global opportunities available?  

Suitable for all kinds of commercial & industrial establishments, Symphony’s large space venti-cooling is a unique concept of air cooling plus ventilation. One does not need to close a space to employ this cooling. This is of even greater significance in the current times of the pandemic.  In global markets like China & the USA, there are strict regulations to maintain a comfortable working indoor temperature and as such, these air coolers have gained immense popularity. However, in India, the market for air coolers for industrial & commercial applications is still nascent. There’s no national brand in this segment. It is a market which we are creating and also, expecting good growth from this segment. Currently, we are witnessing an increasing awareness and demand for cooling solutions for industrial & commercial applications in India. 

Your company’s online sales have witnessed good growth over the past few quarters. How do you plan to further develop your e-commerce capabilities to enhance brand visibility?  

We have been selling through e-commerce marketplaces for quite some time now. Over the last two years, we witnessed an exponential growth in offtake through these channels. The rise in digital penetration in India has primarily contributed to this. Leveraging on this trend and with a further aim to strengthen our digital presence, we launched our own D2C brand store at the onset of summer 2021. We are optimising our supply chain for deeper penetration of our products pan-India through digital channels. We are also working towards enhancing the entire shopping experience of our customers, whether it is online or offline so that our customers have a seamless purchase experience while buying our products through any channel.

What are your growth levers?  

Our major growth levers include: 

  • Increasing penetration of air coolers in Indian households. 

  • Shift from unorganised to the organised sector. This was kicked-off by demonetisation and the introduction of GST. 

  • Increasing demand of industrial and commercial air coolers. 

  • Increasing shelf-space in key overseas markets such as the USA, Australia, etc. 
     

What are your top three strategic objectives? 

We have several strategic objectives but the top three are as follows: 

  • In the domestic market, our focus for the household segment is towards deeper penetration in the rural areas. 

  • Another key objective is to increase awareness of large space venti-cooling, its benefits & feasibility for industrial as well as commercial spaces. 

  • Going forward, we plan to make India as our manufacturing hub which will help us support our subsidiaries as well, while they focus on distribution and marketing.

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