New Delhi: France-based Groupe SEB on Tuesday launched its premium cookware brand Tefal in India, more than five years after it stepped into this market.
The €5 billion in revenue home appliances maker first entered the country in December 2011 by taking 55% stake from Harish Kumar, founder of Maharaja Whiteline. However, the two partners got into a legal spat and eventually Groupe SEB bought the remaining 45% stake in Maharaja Whiteline in May 2014.
“After Maharaja Whiteline, we are now bringing Tefal to India. We will start with cookware, irons, kitchen appliances and air purifiers. In the second stage, we will be launching food preparation products like juicers, mixer-grinders before introducing more products. We will start with four cities, then nine and then the whole country. We have big ambitions for India and we will invest a lot here,” Thierry de La Tour d’Artaise, chairman and chief executive, Groupe SEB, said in a statement.
Tefal is estimated to have accounted for close to half of the company’s global revenue in 2016.
The company will initially sell about 40 products under brand Tefal in India. Besides Tefal, Groupe SEB also sells premium brands like Moulinex and Rowenta which are unlikely to enter India any time soon, said Sunil Wadhwa, chief executive officer, Groupe SEB India (P) Ltd.
After acquiring the Indian company, the French firm has been selling products only under Maharaja Whiteline, once a popular mass-market brand in northern India. “Since the acquisition, we have developed the distribution and retail presence beyond north India. We needed this before bringing a brand like Tefal to India,” Wadhwa added. At present, its products are sold through 40,000 retail outlets and e-commerce marketplaces. The company has about 1,000 distributors.
“By July, Tefal will be available in 11 cities which we intend to increase to 60 next year,” said Wadhwa. The company will manufacture some of Tefal branded products such as mixers and juicers at its factory in Baddi in Himachal Pradesh. Most of the other products like cookware will be imported.
India’s kitchen cookware and appliances market is estimated at Rs12,000 crore to Rs15,000 crore, according to a report by industry lobby Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA). The key players include Glen, TTK Prestige, Bajaj Electricals, LG, Samsung, Inalsa, IFB, Panasonic and Phillips, among others.