Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Aug 08, 2002
Pernod Ricard planning to launch international brands
KOLKATA, Aug. 7
PERNOD Ricard, among the world's top spirits and wine companies, is planning to introduce a host of products in the Indian market, courtesy Seagram, the outfit it recently acquired.
While no names are being discussed at the moment, Seagram officials maintain that it is only a matter of time before some of the best-known brands will enter the domestic market.
According to Mr Kaushik Chatterjee, Vice-President - Operations (East, South & West), the group has a number of top names in its portfolio. Pernod Ricard's new portfolio includes around a dozen spirits that sell more than one million cases on an annual basis. These include Chivas Regal Scotch, Havana Club (Cuban rum), Jameson (Irish whiskey) and Martell (cognac).
The group, which has 68 production centres, has a turnover of 33.6 billion euros. Seagram's acquisition, incidentally, has been okayed by competition regulators in Europe and Canada, and by the US Federal Trade Commission. Thanks to such approvals, Pernod Ricard is said to have joined the ranks of the world's top three companies in the spirits and wine segment.
The acquisition, in fact, has helped double the group's market share. Pernod Ricard, the top producer on the European front, is consolidating its presence in Russia, South America and Asia.
In India, Seagram has a turnover of around Rs 1,000 crore, and the company is looking at a considerable topline growth. Its latest plans include introduction of select products and promoting the existing ones. Some of the latter are Chivas Regal, 100 Pipers, Royal Stag and Blenders Pride.
Seagram has already moved into the dark rum category with Ron Amigoz, a brand that it launched in Kolkata. The rum, said Mr Sumeet Lamba, Vice-President - Marketing, will be made national in a few weeks.
"We are looking at upgrading the market for dark rum, which is currently dominated by a couple of brands," he told newspersons, adding that the brand has an "youthful" profile, which is supported by the advertising punchline `Non-stop Dosti'.
Rum, according to Mr Lamba, is still not a fashionable drink in certain social circles in the country. Some players such as Seagram, however, are of the opinion that rum (especially dark rum, which sells the most) would need a lift in terms of its social image. "India has a vast population of consumers who prefer rum. We need to widen the net to rope in other social types as well," Mr Lamba said.
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