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Soaring High On Strategy

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Aspirational Tony Fernandas sets it perfect for the AirAsia take off in India. After his mentor-turned-advisor Ratan Tata joined the new low cost airline concept in the country, Fernandas successfully boarded in S Ramadorai, vice chairman of TCS, as chairman. Don’t forget, as a strategic investor steel barron LN Mittal's son-in-law Arun Bhatia is also on board with 21 per cent stake.

But Tata Sons, another minority stake holder with 30 per cent interest in the venture, managed to get four top posts, including the appointments of R Venkataraman, former executive assistant to Ratan Tata  and Bharat Vasani, chief legal counsel of the Tata Group,  Tony got his man Mittu as CEO in the firm where Air Asia of Malaysia holds the upper cut of foreign investment of 49 per cent stake.

When Tony tweets out full praises on Tata veterans, Bhatia's role fades out. Most importantly, Bhatia failed to rope in his nominations. Is Bhatia's representation in the joint venture based purely on financial interest?

The feel in the industry is that Tony wants the clout — read as political or industrial clout — of Tatas and financial muscle of Mittals. (There are reasons that Tony knows better that Mittals failed completely in India while they conquer the other parts of the world. And Tatas are the best friends any day here. Also, Tatas have pioneered in airline in India through Air India.

Stuck At The Top
There are many reasons why Pidilite is the darling of stockmarket. The company had never fallen back in their top and bottom line numbers in the last 13 years and showed consistent growth. They have created solid brands like Fevicol, Dr Fixit, Fevikwik, M Seal and Fevicryl hobby ideas. But the reality that everybody agrees is that the company needs to generate new cash streams to maintain the upswing, especially on a larger base numbers.

The company’s revenue has reached Rs 3657.90 crore in the last financial year compared to Rs 500 crore in 2000-01. The PAT grew to Rs 460.80 crore from Rs 47.90 crore. Eventually, the financial downturns failed create an impact on Pidilite in all these years. The share price of the company has risen about 75 per cent in the last one year. The company is valued more than Rs 14,000 crore in the market.

Anil Jayaraj, chief marketing officer, Pidilite industries, says the company has had a long term focus on the brands and its business, irrespective of the recessionary conditions. The company has always tracked the needs of its consumers. Understanding it they launched products like Fevicol Speedx, a fast- setting white adhesive. When other adhesives take 6-8 hours to set, Speedx takes just 2 hours, claims Jayaraj.

Pidilite’s product research potential is unmatchable. But they need to find new markets. The company is already exporting to 80 countries. But their revenue from export was just $53 million  —  less 10 per cent of the total. They have 14 overseas subsidiaries with relatively low incomes. Pidilite needs to create its opportunities.