After acquiring Mumbai-based Cheryl’s Cosmeceuticals last year, L’Oreal India, part of the L’Oreal Group, is further scouting for acquisitions to extend its product offerings in India. Last year, L’Oreal India’s topline growth was at 16% and is currently ranked 16th amongst L’Oreal countries. The mass market will remain L’Oreal India’s main engine of growth this year. Hence, the company is gearing up to launch a slew of innovative brands to woo economy-conscious consumers. Dinesh Dayal, COO of L’Oreal India, talks to FE’s Lalitha Srinivasan about the company’s strategic plans.
Is L’Oreal India looking for more acquisitions in India?
We are always open to looking at opportunities in brands that complement our portfolio of brands. It allows us to enter the market where we are not yet present or in a sector where we don’t have enough presence.
How significant is L’Oréal India’s role in worldwide operations?
Last year, we grew at 16% in terms of top line when the overall beauty market was down to 6-7 % in terms of growth rate. We continue to grow at 2.5 times the market and our endeavour is to get into L’Oreal’s top-five club of markets by 2020. We are currently ranked 16th amongst L’Oreal countries and if we maintain our double-digit growth rate per year, we should be able to reach the top five ranking by 2020.
Will L’Oreal India focus more on mass market products to drive volumes? What are your plans for other segments?
The mass market will remain our main engine of growth. We are very clear that we do not want to do ‘me-too’ products. Our role is to upgrade the Indian consumer by providing innovative products but also to have bridge products with modern alternatives for traditional products. We are relatively concentrated in a few large segments and hair colour remains a very important category for us on which we are constantly developing and innovating.
What is the update on L’Oréal Group’s investment in India?
We have announced a commitment to invest R970 crore between 2011 and 2016. Today, we have most of our assets in place — research & innovation, product development, manufacturing and distribution. We will continue to invest in our ‘go to market’ facilities in terms of operations and distribution centres.
What’s going to be your core organic growth strategy? How do you plan to take on your rivals HUL and P&G in India?
We are a