Sun, 15 Sep 2013 11:32:54 GMT

Hafele bullish on Indian market



Mumbai, Sept 15 (PTI) Despite the slowing economic growth in the country, architectural hardware provider Hafele is bullish on Indian market and aims 16-20 per cent business growth by crossing Rs 200 crore in revenues this year.

A subsidiary of German group Hafele, Hafele India, has 7 design centres in the country and employs over 350 people.

"Last few years, we have been growing strongly but not so much this year. (However) we will be hitting Rs 200 crore this year (by December)," Hafele India Managing Director Jurgen Wolf told PTI.
Last year, Hafele India''s turnover stood at Rs 172 crore.
Talking about the Indian market, Wolf said there have been dramatical changes over the last few years and concepts like modular kitchens are gaining acceptance.
"I have been here for 12 years now and I have seen the market change dramatically. The home improvement segments is one of the fastest growing...My guess is that the market is growing at 20 per cent per year...Rs 18,000 crore but a large part of it is unorganised," he added.
Drawing comparisons with cars, Wolf said people today understand that they can invest in a modern kitchen and other home improvement items, though it may seem luxurious.
"What I tell them is that you are willing to spend lakhs on a vehicle that you would drive for a few hours a day. That will last 7-8 years. Your home is for much longer. And people understand that," he added.
Asked about the impact of rupee depreciation, Wolf said the impact has been tremendous. "My cost has gone up 25 per cent. It has impacted customer sentiment. They want to wait before making a large monetary commitment. But there is still growth. And that gives me the confidence of doing well in this market," he said.

Wolf added that the company, on its part, has embarked on some cost-cutting measures to tide over the situation.
"We have cut down our marketing budget by almost half, we spend about eight per cent of our revenues on that. We are careful before employing more people. We are controlling costs, the last thing we want to do is fire people but I would still say business looks much better than last year," he said.
Asked if Hafele would look at introducing more affordable mass products, Wolf answered in the negative.
"We are premium, we are not shy of saying that. Customers come to us because they know they will get quality products.
We are there in Hyderabad, we are expanding in Bangalore and we are doing a completely new one (store) in Kolkata. That speaks of the potential we believe India has." PTI SR KRK

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