New Delhi: Hamdard (Wakf) Laboratories is now pushing for a greater share in overseas markets after providing Unani healthcare solutions in India for at least 100 years.
The charitable trust also has aggressive plans to expand its domestic business by ramping up distribution and introducing products in new categories such as personal care.
“Currently, exports contribute a negligible amount to the total turnover. Though some of our brands, such as Rooh Afza, Roghan Badam Shirin and Safi, are available outside India, too, now we have decided to go international in a big way,” said Arshad Siddiqui, chief marketing officer, Hamdard. Siddiqui said the organization would focus on countries that recognize the Unani system of medicine.
“Since we have a portfolio of over 600 natural and herb-based Unani products, which is our core competence, we are scouting for partners in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore and Hungary, where the Unani system is recognized,” Siddiqui said.
“The aim is to have local partners in these countries who can market and sell our entire portfolio. Brands such as Safi, Cinkara and Rooh Afza will be the drivers, of course.” Experts say Hamdard is a strong brand in West Asian and South-East Asian countries.
“There are fair chances of Hamdard’s success in these markets as Unani is an affordable and trusted form of medicine,” said Arjun S. Devatha, senior analyst, consumer markets, Datamonitor India, a provider of business information. “Even in (the) liquid-concentrate drink segment, Rooh Afza is a popular brand and has managed to fight competition from many multinational companies and regional players.”
Hamdard is also working on increasing its domestic portfolio by launching skincare products. “Within this year, we will launch a range of skincare products, such as face packs and washes,” Siddiqui said. “Our focus in future will be on making our existing brands stronger by aggressive marketing and on-ground activation, and strengthening foothold in some markets in South India where we are not strong, such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu.”
Hamdard is likely to face tough competition in personal care products, which has established companies such as ITC Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Ltd and Dabur India Ltd, among others. “Other than big companies, Ayurvedic products are another set of competition for Hamdard products,” said Devatha.
“The organization is going through a transition phase. Given the way consumer dynamics are changing, we are becoming more professional,” Siddiqui said. Hamdard aims to touch a turnover of Rs500 crore in the next two years, from the current Rs300 crore. It also has big plans for Rooh Afza, the brand which contributes about 40% to its revenues.
“We wish to drive out-of-home consumption of Rooh Afza, for which we have already tested dispensers at some retail outlets and hospitals,” Siddiqui said. “Within this year, we plan to set up 40 such kiosks to sell ready-to-drink Rooh Afza.”
The profits of Hamdard Wakf Laboratories are handed over to Hamdard National Foundation, which disburses these funds for charitable causes in the areas of education, medical relief and women’s empowerment.