JLL Widens Product Basket, Readies for Acquisition
Mumbai: FY 2018-19 was a good year for Jyothy Laboratories Limited (JLL). Last fiscal, JLL started three new units in Guwahati, Assam - one for Ujala (fabric care) to service the entire North India market, a new factory for manufacturing Maxo mosquito repellant liquid (home care) and another one for Margo (personal care). Those apart, new machines were added to enhance production capacity for Exo (dish wash).
Attractive fiscal benefits, including GST reimbursement to the extent of total capital invested, and income tax benefits are the reason for choosing Assam as the investment destination, said M P Ramachandran, Founder-Chairman & Managing Director, in a chat with Destination Kerala.
Last year, JLL also introduced innovative products as an extension of their existing range. Exo with ‘power of ginger’ is a first for the market. Ginger powder incorporated into Exo ensures good smell and has anti-bacterial properties. Pril with ‘power of tamarind’ is also available for the first time in India. Tamarind gives great shine and has anti-bacterial properties, too. “We are focusing on new product development which appeals to the common man. R&D for product differentiation and new products are an ongoing exercise,” says Ramachandran. At the Exo factory in West Bengal, JLL has started production of ‘anti-bacterial’ steel scrubber.
Eight years after the historic acquisition of Henkel, JLL is getting ready for the next big one. “We are already in talks with few target companies,” confirms Ramachandran. “Hair care category is what we are bullish about. We are looking at products with a mass distribution route that is similar to what we currently have.”
By June-September, JLL will become debt free and then can leverage its balance sheet for a big-ticket acquisition. The Board has already approved Rs. 1000 crore towards this. An acquisition like Henkel can aid inorganic growth and shore up margins.
Ramachandran is also betting big on the Rs. 200-crore Margo brand as its flagship in the ayurvedic-herbal category. “We are targeting Rs. 500-crore turnover by FY 2022 only from ‘ayurvedic-herbal portfolio’,” he said. JLL has rolled out a facewash under the Margo brand and a handwash is on the cards, too.
According to Ramachandran, there is a rise in demand for ayurvedic products in the personal care space thanks to the increasing focus on this segment by MNCs as well as local companies. JLL is looking at Rs. 100 crore turnover over the next three years just from the facewash category.
Talking about investing in Kerala, Ramachandran said he was not interested in any industrial parks of the State Government as ‘ease of doing business’ existed only on paper. “If separate land with all amenities can be made available, then I can consider,” he said. “It is not enough for political leaders to have commitment or attitudinal change, but the approach of bureaucrats should also change for the better.”
He opined that in Kerala the wage level is very high compared to other states in India, making God’s Own Country not very manufacturing-friendly.