Muscat: The National Detergent Company (NDC), one of the leading fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies in the Sultanate, has launched an aggressive plan to increase capacities for certain product ranges and is aiming for higher growth in these categories, which will be the volume driver for the NDC in the coming years.
In an exclusive interview with Times Business, V. Sundaresan, director and chief executive of NDC, said, "We also have plans to increase the distribution in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and other key markets. These steps will help us achieve the aggressive long-term plans of the company in the coming years."
NDC manufactures and distributes a wide range of highly reputed and successful brands covering various segments like detergent powders, liquid detergents, soaps, shampoos, allied laundry aids and other household cleaning products.
The target for upcoming plans is to achieve a turnover of $70 million by 2015.
Sundaresan, who played a key role in NDC's growth, says, "Our turnover in 2012 was in excess of $ 54 million and we are planning to end the year 2013 with a higher figure in spite of the stiff competition and the unfavourable situation in some of the export markets."
The NDC exports to over 40 countries in the past but the bulk of the export is to the GCC countries where we have been successful in establishing good regular business.
"Some of the export markets like Egypt, Syria, Morocco and other countries in the Middle East are going through a rough period where our volumes have suffered. We have plans to get into newer markets in the future but the bulk of the sales will still be from the GCC.
We are also introducing new products in all the major key markets, which have been well-accepted by both consumers and trade. Overall export accounts for over 60 per cent of our sales volumes and is likely to be higher in the coming years," he adds.
NDC claims that in Oman, it has a market share of over 43 per cent in detergent powders and over 45 per cent in dishwashing liquid (DWL) — the two key segments that NDC operates in.
Sundaresan explains, "Bahar is the market leader in both powders and DWL. We have a reasonably good market share in some of the export markets as well such as Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. We have seen extreme competition from the multinational companies (MNCs), especially price discounts on key brands which have impacted our volume growth plans. The MNCs have access to huge funds to carry out their marketing plans both ATL and BTL which puts regional players like us under tremendous pressure.
We need to find our own innovative ways to overcome the competition. For the last so many years, we have been quite successful in that."
When asked that it has been noticed that across the FMCG categories, lower prices perk up volume growth but NDC hardly reduced its prices, he responded, "The category that we operate in does not necessarily guarantee big volume growths if the prices are lower. You may get some advantage for a short period of time but after that, the growth saturates. The plan is to offer consistently good quality at affordable prices and to increase trials so that consumers shift to your brand and stay with it. The overall spend for a family on our range of products is not high enough warranting a price cut every time."
The NDC began manufacturing and marketing soaps and detergents in 1981. It exported its products to over 40 countries in the past and has been successful in many of those markets, especially in the powder detergent, dishwashing liquid and soap range of products.
The NDC is the first ISO certified soap and detergent company in the region. The company's flagship brand Bahar was voted as the 'Best Brand' in the country for the period 2010-2011, and was amongst 130 regional and multinational brands across categories in a Brand Survey.