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Cover Story
As Shatter-Proof as Ever!
Women have broken a lot of Gender Barriers in Society, But The Glass ceiling is not Exactly in that List Yet
Issue Date - 17/03/2011
“All about Attitude”
It changed the way India used to write by bringing in Parker & Waterman to India. And now it’s time to Push Brand Luxor

It started as India’s first writing instrument company and is now ruling as the biggest. At the same time, as a registered trademark in more than 120 countries it’s now set to make its mark in the global arena too. In an exclusive interaction with B&E Pooja Jain, Executive Director, Luxor Writing Instruments Pvt. Ltd. (LWIPL) discloses how the company is planning to get into the league of the Parkers and Pilots of the global writing instruments industry.

B&E: Do you think it is more challenging for a woman to be a successful entrepreneur?
PJ: Irrespective of gender, a person has to face challenges in order to be successful. It is all about the attitude with which you confront the world. Personally, I do not consider myself successful enough. I am in the transition phase and a lot more needs to be done. I am highly ambitious and yet to achieve my goals. Having said that, I must add that I am lucky to be born in a family which is always high on initiatives. And that made my journey not so trouble-free as I was made to start from the basics.

B&E: Did you always aspire for the position that you are holding today?
PJ: Nothing was planned. In 1998, during Luxor’s joint venture with Parker, I joined in. The best part about my journey has been the opportunities I had. It made me what I am today. After my stint with Gillette in the UK and the US, I joined Luxor at a junior level with a very small take home, and then came the launch of Parker’s B2B division. I was the product manager and had to take care of everything. I trained people. It took me 10 years to reach this position and today the turnover of LWIP is Rs.3.50 billion.

B&E: Luxor has been a formidable name in Indian writing instrument industry. Are you satisfied with the way the company has progressed in the last decade?
PJ: Although I am highly ambitious, I still think the growth of LWIP has been satisfactory. Currently, the domestic turnover of LWIP is Rs.2 billion, while internationally the numbers have reached Rs.1.50 billion. In fact, last year only we have recorded a 100% growth internationally and 40% on the domestic front. For the current year, we are expecting the same to be 30%.

B&E: What are your organic and inorganic growth plans?
PJ: We will be growing inorganically for some time now. Basically, we are not looking at new mergers and acquisitions. We are currently focusing on restructuring the business, the management and expand our product line. We are planning to float a public offer in the next three years and mulling to invest Rs.500 million in a manufacturing plant in Noida, only for Parker pens. Our focus for the year is new product development and preparing strategies to strengthen ourselves in the overseas market. Though we are present in 75 countries and registered in 85 countries, but I think a lot still needs to be done. People know Parker in the international market, whereas, I want them to know Luxor.

B&E: Despite being a formidable name in India, your market share is just about 12-15%. Do you have any plans to increase the same in the near future?
PJ: Our product line is larger in comparison to our competitors. Talking about the market share, in their respective segments, Parker enjoys a market share of 90%, Waterman’s market share is 30%, Pilot has a share of 60%, while Marker enjoys a share of 80%. We deal in so many brands under one umbrella that I don’t see any competition. At the same time, we are on an in-house expansion spree and are consolidating as well. Also, there are many things in the pipeline, but they are yet to be finalised. Since I am no ordinary thinker, I will surely come up with something unique.

By : Shruti Mittal

The Box Office tale
10 years & 32,000 Films later, HBO India is still hurling canonballs in The ‘TV Warzone’. Here is how it is doing that.

A decade back, there were 100 channels fighting it out in the red ocean of TV broadcasting in India. Today, there are 400+. And during a time when evolution has become a synonym in the TV entertainment space, there is one woman in the HBO camp who has been there right from the time the channel was launched in India in the year 2000. Today, Shruti Bajpai, Country Manager and Head of HBO South Asia, oversees the channel’s operations across four markets (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives). Competition has only got tougher and consumers choosier over the years, but these have supposedly not proven to be stumbling blocks for HBO India, which has seen a steady rise in topline in recent years. In fact, 2010 was its best year ever in this regard, as revenues grew 15% y-o-y. The only problem is – the market is bound to fragment further. Bajpai, who knows the ropes of broadcasting business, discusses HBO’s strategic moves with B&E.

B&E: Mostly, TV channels believe in what they term as “core properties”. Is HBO any different?
Shruti Bajpai (SB): Actually, we too believe a lot in our core properties. Our growth strategy – which includes marketing as well – is to focus on our core properties. For example, a huge proportion of our investments are focused on the “Hollywood Premier League”, which is one of our hottest properties.

B&E: And what about HBO Originals? How much does it contribute to the content of HBO India? Also, is there anything unique about your company’s revenue model?
SB: The HBO Originals which consists of Movies TV Series made for HBO by HBO, forms less than 15% of the content in India. The rest is blockbuster films. Talking about our revenues, you see, most TV channels in India follow a dual revenue model – subscription and advertising. In this regard, HBO is no exception.


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