Panasonic Appliances hopes to return to profitability with new range of cookers

Tags: Companies
Panasonic Appliances India Company Ltd, the kitchen products arm of Panasonic Corporation, hopes to return to profitability with the launch of its new range of automatic cookers. The company has been posting losses for the past two years after the onslaught of China-made cookers in the market.

“We hope to come back to profitability but cannot guide to a number because it would be (stock) price affecting information. We have over 70 per cent market share in the cooker segment and would want to retain our leadership position,” said Hidenori Aso, managing director of Panasonic Appliances.

The company relaunched its electric rice cooker range under the Spectra brand on Friday to invigorate customer interest in its products. The cookers are now available in seven colours and in capacities ranging from 0.3 litre to 7.5 litre. Panasonic has electric cookers priced between Rs 1,899 and Rs 12,990. The Spectra range falls in the range of Rs 2,599 to Rs 3,695 depending on capacity, features and accessories.

“During our service campaigns, we have seen customers bringing cookers over 10 years old. It is good news, in a way, that our cookers last that long. However, at some point, we need to stimulate repeat purchase to keep our leadership position. To expand our prospects, we have also launched an exchange offer whereby customers can replace any brand of electric cooker for a Panasonic one and get up to 25 per cent off,” Aso added.

The company sells automatic rice cookers and mixer grinders. It manufactures about 1 million cookers a year at Sholavaram in the outskirts of Chennai. For the year ended March 31, 2012, the company reported Rs 147.56-crore revenue with net loss of Rs 11.41 crore, as against revenue of Rs 179.4 crore with net loss of Rs 12.76 crore for the previous year. It was posting profits till fiscal 2011. Panasonic was forced to keep the selling price at a reduced level due to increased competition, which affected its profit margins.

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