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Growing Britannia looks beyond biscuits

When Vinita Bali returned to Britannia Industries six years ago as managing director, she set in motion a process that seems to be culminating in turning the biscuit-maker into a food major. Rachit Vats reports. Not just crumbs

business Updated: Jul 05, 2011 02:00 IST
Rachit Vats

When Vinita Bali returned to Britannia Industries six years ago as managing director, she set in motion a process that seems to be culminating in turning the biscuit-maker into a food major.

After delivering the company's highest ever-compounded annual growth rate of 22%, Bali is now on the way to take Britannia into categories other than biscuit.

"In 2005 Britannia was a Rs 1,500 crore company and the growth was largely from biscuits. We had a very small dairy business and did not have products such as rusk for example, that we have in bakery now," said Bali.

"Biscuits are less critical to our growth compared with five years ago," she said. "We have built other businesses, of the order of Rs 1,000 crore, and are looking at dairy, cake, rusks and bread and the overseas business. That's very significant. Our business focus is in 2 areas — bakery or cereal and cereal-based products, and dairy or milk-based products," Bali said.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/050711/05_07_11-buss25d.jpg

Britannia closed 2010-11 with over R4,600 crore sales of which biscuits still accounted for 85%. For FY11 bakery's contribution in value terms is in excess of Rs 550 crore and the entire business of dairy is over Rs 550 crore.

Bali indicated that Britannia will continue to expand its dairy, foods and bakery portfolio.

"Only 9% of the total foods sold in India are branded and packaged. So the remaining 91% represents a big opportunity for value added branded and packaged products," said Bali.

In the last few years Britannia forayed into breakfast cereals with Healthy Start, and is running a pilot project ActiMind and Tiger Zor in dairy. Bali parried questions on a foray into ice-creams, without denying it.

Britannia is expected to report a top-line growth of 14.2%, driven largely by volumes and an increase in realisations.