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Cover Story
 

2010 was theirs! Is 2011?
FMCG Saw Some Heavy action on the M&A front last year. But, as The Industry matures and valuations rise, It’s The small-ticket Strategic Acquisitions that will drive the sector in 2011
Issue Date - 18/08/2011
 
If there was one sector that saw some heavy action on the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) front last year, it was fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). For the uninitiated, the total value of M&A deals ($797.83 million) in the sector in 2010 went up 16 times when compared to the 2009 figure ($47.94 million), and in fact, a whopping 23 times from the 2008 number ($33.97 million). Reason: India’s Rs.460 billion FMCG market remains highly fragmented with over 50% of it dominated by non-branded, unpackaged home made products. This certainly presents a tremendous opportunity for established brands, both domestic and multinational, to expand their reach across the country by pursuing inorganic growth strategies.

Several FMCG companies such as Dabur, Marico, Godrej Consumer Private Ltd. (GPCL) and Emami have already been snapping up companies or brands since 2010 to expand their sphere of activity. While GCPL did five outbound deals and one domestic deal in 2010, rivals Dabur and Marico forged two outbound deals each. In fact, a significant contributor to the growth registered in 2010 were outbound deals (domestic companies making acquisitions abroad). There were 18 outbound deals worth $506.90 million in 2010 as against four deals worth $45.5 million registered in 2009 and two deals totalling just $2 million in 2008. It was high valuations of local assets that drove the homegrown companies abroad. Considering this, there was certainly a rebound in M&A activity levels in FMCG in 2010. Companies which had postponed M&A activity in the past two years were clearly making up for the lost time in 2010. Sounds logical! But then, what about M&A’s in the sector in 2011? Does M&A activity in the sector continues to experience the same momentum as it was witnessing some six months ago?

If a recent report by KPMG is to be believed then M&As will intensify in Indian FMCG space in the near term. “However, the lack of large acquisition targets and the number of acquirers looking for opportunities means valuations will continue to be at a premium,’ says the report. In fact, the sector has already seen over a dozen deals in M&As in the first half in 2011 so far, and the momentum is expected to continue going forward. Certainly FMCG sector in India has been experiencing a phenomenal pace of growth since the last decade owing to increasing consumer incomes and rapidly changing consumer tastes and preferences. Further, large scale and low cost production facilities, modern retailing strategies, gives Indian FMCG companies an edge over its western counterparts. “All this certainly makes India an exciting place to be for international FMCG giants which are now looking forward to ramp up their Indian operations or are planning to enter the country soon,” says Oliver Mirza, MD, Dr. Oetkar Funfoods. For instance, Reckitt Benckiser has already acquired Ahmedabad-based Paras Pharma, makers of OTC brands like Moov, D’Cold, Dermicool, Krack, Itch Guard, et al, for a whopping $730 million (in December 2010).

However, going forward the sector is unlikely to see any big ticket acquisition as the local brands have still not scaled up beyond the $20-25 million mark. But then, that’s what they call a market for strategic acquisitions!

 

          

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