You must have seen the Santoor soap ad umpteen number of times on the TV. Its USP is that it keeps the user younger looking. But did you know the company making this soap? Most would assume HUL or Godrej or Marico. Wrong on all counts. It is none other than the subsidiary of one of the IT biggies of India, Wipro.
Wipro began in 1945 as mainly a Vanaspati maker and later diversified into soaps and toiletries. But from 1981, IT took over everything else. But this consumer business continues to do well, albeit in the shadow of the younger but bigger brother, Wipro. The consumer business, to enhance shareholder value is a separate entity – Wipro Consumer care and Lighting (WCCL) and its revenue in FY15 was estimated to have touched one billion dollars. It has a presence in 40 countries with over 8300 employees worldwide. It has 8 production plants in India and 7 overseas. Besides India, the business has significant presence in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Middle East. And its brands – Santoor, Chandrika soap, Glucovita Glucose powder, Northwest Switches, Enchanteur (a female toiletry brand), Romano (a male toiletry brand), Bio Essence (a skincare brand) and Yardley (a luxury toiletry brand).
WLCC gets over 50% of its revenue from exports - much ahead of Godrej Consumer, Dabur and Marico. Its most successful brand is Santoor and it contributes over 30% to overall business. It is the third-largest brand in the toilet soap category in India, with a market share of 9.5%, behind Hindustan Unilever’s Lifebuoy and Lux.
WCCL is an unlisted company. Can you imagine the valuation the company could get if it gets listed – not just on the basis of its merits but on the lineage of its younger sibling And here we were thinking that desi FMCGs were only Dabur, Marico and Godrej.