Emami has dropped out from the race to acquire GSK’s Horlicks and Kraft Heinz’s Complan and Glucon-D after reviewing its strategy and decided to defer its entry into the food space at present, director Harsha V Agarwal said.
“We had considered the acquisition of Horlicks and Kraft Heinz’s portfolio of brands and even went through the brief draft. But after reviewing them, a decision has been taken to not go ahead since we don’t want to enter food business right now. There are more interesting high growth categories for expansion,” Agarwal said.
Agarwal said that Emami will make investment in FMCG startups instead to gain expertise in targeting millennial consumers, selling through e-commerce firms and modern trade. Emami has plans to roll out a separate premium product line in personal care and health only for e-commerce and large retail chains, he said.
When asked if the valuation sought by the companies had deterred Emami, Agarwal said that was not the was not the reason. “We reviewed the brands as a potential opportunity but decided not to go ahead. We always evaluate something or the other at any given point,” he said.
With this, Emami joins ITC, which too has categorically said it is not interested in acquiring the Kraft Heinz brands. However, ITC MD Sanjiv Puri said it may evaluate Horlicks when bids open, if it is available at a fair value.
Emami, the makers of Zandu Balm and Boro-Plus, is focusing on investing in FMCG and Boro-Plus, is focusing on investing in FMCG startups in personal care as well as food and home care where it has no presence. It is keen to invest in startups in non-commoditised areas like healthy snacks, protein supplements and home cleaning. The startup FMCG brands are premium and niche, targets the millennial, is strong in digital marketing and are sold through ecommerce or premium stores, which makes it a win-win investment, since we want to provide our expertise and also imbibe their culture,” said Agarwal.
Emami last December and later in February this year announced purchasing stakes in two FMCG startups. It now has 30% in Helios Lifestyle which owns the male grooming brand ‘The Man Company’ and 26% in Brillare Science, , which has premium hair and skin care products for use in salons.
Agarwal said Emami will roll out a portfolio of premium niche personal care and health products for online sale which could be also sold in modern trade by early next year. He, however, declined to share the categories. The company has already built a presence in the premium segment with Zandu honey, which will be expanded with newer products and a variant of Fair and Handsome men cream.