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Differentiated brands from Britannia — to enter new foods

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More tasty bites from Britannia are on the cards, as the company plans to diversify into other food businesses

“The company has increased its cash reserves. We are looking for opportunities in organic and inorganic growth. We need to have a commanding role in biscuit business, diversify into other food business, grow our dairy business and increase our international presence,” said , Nusli N Wadia, chairman, Britannia Industries Ltd (BIL), at the annual general meeting of the company.

However, Wadia did not disclose the specific businesses in which the company plans to diversify.

According to Vinita Bali, managing director, the company is likely to enter those segments of food business where brands are differentiated. “We are not in the business of commodities since there is very little differentiation (of brands). We aim at creating brands that are differentiated,” she said.

In biscuits, Britannia shares the top spot with Parle and has a market share of 34-35 per cent. BIL has acquired a stake in Daily Bread.

Legal action against Danone

On Britannia’s standoff with French food major Groupe Danone, Wadia said that the company was contemplating legal proceedings against Danone for “unauthorised use of Tiger brand” abroad.

BIL said that Danone had been using the brand in five countries namely Indonesia, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore and Pakistan and has applied for registration of this brand in 70 other countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia, for which the company do not have any authorisation. “We are exploring all options including legal proceedings,” Bali said.

On Danone’s stake sale in Associated Biscuits International (ABI), which holds 51 per cent stake in Britannia, Wadia said, “It’s up to them whether they want to sell (their stake). We hope to arrive at a settlement sooner rather than later.” Danone and the Wadia family have 50 per cent stake each in ABI.

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