Bisleri set to re-enter soft drinks space in 2016

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New Delhi, Dec 20: Bottled water major Bisleri International is looking to re-enter the soft drinks business early next year as part of its plans to clock a turnover of over Rs 2,000 crore by 2020.

The company, which is making a comeback in soft drinks segment after over two decades, has earmarked a budget of around Rs 100 crore for the new venture.

Bisleri

"Bisleri, as a company by 2020, should be more than Rs 2,000 crore. The growth will come with expansion of business (into new areas) such as soft drinks," Bisleri International Director R K Garg told PTI.

During 2014-15 fiscal, Bisleri had a turnover of about Rs 700 crore and is growing at a range of 20-25 per cent, he said.

Apart from packaged drinking water sold under the brand Bisleri, the company also sells natural mountain water under brand Vedica, Bisleri Soda and energy drink Urzza.

"We have plans to launch soft drinks in early 2016. For expansion of the company, we have to diversify. We were in that business for a long time and now we are coming in that with different flavours", Garg said.

Bisleri promoter Ramesh Chauhan had sold five popular brands Thums Up, Limca, Gold Spot, Maaza and Citra to global beverage major Coca Cola in 1993. Both parties had entered into a non-compete agreement, which expired in 2008.

"There is no clash with it now", Garg said, adding that Bisleri International would invest around Rs 100 crore in rolling out the new soft drinks. The company plans to introduce the soft drinks in lemon, spicy, mango and pina colada flavours.

It is looking at manufacturing these products in at least its five locations. On the company's overall growth, Garg said the company expects an increase from non-metro markets. Presently, metro markets contribute around Rs 300 crore to Bisleri's total sales.

Over 90 per cent of total sales come from packaged bottled water segment and rest is contributed by others. Besides, Bisleri is also planning to ramp up production of Vedica and expand its export market.

"We are planning to export Vedica to some European markets. We have exported it to Japan and some Middle East countries", he said.

Garg said the company would continue to add 10-12 plants for packaged water every year to keep pace with its growth by entailing an investment of Rs 100 crore annually. These will be a combination of company-owned plants, franchise and contractors.

Bisleri has around 80 plants in India. On overseas expansion, he said production in Nepal would start soon and in Bangladesh it has just started.

"In UAE, talks are going on with 2-3 parties and hopefully by the end of 2016 we would start a plant there", Garg added.

PTI

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