Indus Motors Reports Record Sales and Profits in 2012
The domestic auto industry sold 178,753 cars, 23% more than last year. The rest of the demand was met by imports of 55,000 cars in fiscal year 2012, representing an increase of 50% over last year. In addition to durables like automobiles, companies in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) sector are also expected to report strong sales and earnings this year. Engro Foods has emerged emerged as the supercharged FMCG player with over 400 percent in bottom line in 2011, grabbing fourth position after Nestle, Unilever and Rafhan, and outpacing National Foods. The sector growth has been particularly well supported by strong rural consumption in recent years.
Here are a few key points excerpted from a recent Businessweek story on rise of the rural consumer supported by higher crop prices in Pakistan:
1. Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive Co. are sending salespeople into rural areas of the world’s sixth most-populous nation, where demand for consumer goods such as Sunsilk shampoo, Pond’s moisturizers and Colgate toothpaste has boosted local units’ revenue at least 15 percent.
2. “The rural push is aimed at the boisterous youth in these areas, who have bountiful cash and resources to increase purchases,” Shazia Syed, vice president for customer development at Unilever Pakistan Ltd., said in an interview. “Rural growth is more than double that of national sales.”
3. Consumer-goods companies forecast growth in Pakistan even as an increase in ethnic violence in Karachi has made 2011 the deadliest in 16 years for the country’s biggest city and financial center.
4. Nestle Pakistan Ltd. is spending 300 million Swiss francs ($326 million) to double dairy output in four years, boosted sales 29 percent to 33 billion rupees ($378 million) in the six months through June. “We have been focusing on rural areas very strongly,” Ian Donald, managing director of Nestle’s Pakistan unit, said in an interview in Lahore. “Our observation is that Pakistan’s rural economy is doing better than urban areas.”
5. Haji Mirbar, who grows cotton on a 5-acre farm with his four brothers, said his family’s income grew fivefold in the year through June, allowing him to buy branded products. He uses Unilever’s Lifebuoy for his open-air baths under a hand pump, instead of the handmade soap he used before. “We had a great year because of cotton prices,” said Mirbar, 28, who lives in a village outside south Pakistan’s Matiari town. “As our income has risen, we want to buy nice things and live like kings.”
6. Sales for the Pakistan unit of Unilever rose 15 percent to 24.8 billion rupees in the first half. Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan Ltd.’s sales increased 29 percent in the six months through June to 7.6 billion rupees, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “In a generally faltering economy, the double-digit growth in revenue for companies servicing the consumer sector has come almost entirely from the rural areas,” said Sakib Sherani, chief executive officer at Macroeconomic Insights Pvt. in Islamabad and a former economic adviser to Pakistan’s finance ministry.
7.6 billion rupees, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “In a generally faltering economy, the double-digit growth in revenue for companies servicing the consumer sector has come almost entirely from the rural areas,” said Sakib Sherani, chief executive officer at Macroeconomic Insights Pvt. in Islamabad and a former economic adviser to Pakistan’s finance ministry.
7. Unilever is pushing beauty products in the countryside through a program called “Guddi Baji,” an Urdu phrase that literally means “doll sister.” It employs “beauty specialists who understand rural women,” providing them with vans filled with samples and equipment, Syed said. Women in villages are also employed as sales representatives, because “rural is the growth engine” for Unilever in Pakistan, she said in an interview in Karachi. While the bulk of spending for rural families goes to food, about 20 percent “is spent on looking beautiful and buying expensive clothes,” Syed said.
8. Colgate-Palmolive, the world’s largest toothpaste maker, aims to address a “huge gap” in sales outside Pakistan’s cities by more than tripling the number of villages where its products, such as Palmolive soap, are sold, from the current 5,000, said Syed Wasif Ali, rural operations manager at the local unit.
9. Palmolive's detergents Bonus Tristar and Brite are packed in sachets of 20 grams or less and priced as low as five rupees (6 cents), to boost sales among low-income consumers hurt by the fastest pace of inflation in Asia after Vietnam. Unilever plans to increase the number of villages where its products are sold to almost half of the total 34,000 within three years. Its merchandise, including Dove shampoo, Surf detergent and Brooke Bond Supreme tea, is available in about 11,000 villages now.
10. Telenor Pakistan Pvt. is also expanding in Pakistan’s rural areas, which already contribute 60 percent of sales, said Anjum Nida Rahman, corporate communications director for the local unit of the Nordic region’s largest phone company.
Undeterred by the gloom and doom reports in the media, Pakistani consumers are continuing to spend and private consumption has now reached 75 percent of GDP. It rose 11.6% in real terms in 2011-12 compared with just 3.7% growth a year earlier , according to Economic Survey of Pakistan. In fact, many analysts believe that Pakistan's official GDP of $220 billion is understated by as much as 50%, buttressing a recent claim by the head of Karachi Stock Exchange that Pakistan's real GDP is closer to $300 billion.
I believe that even a modest effort to increase tax collection can significantly improve Pakistan's state finances to support higher public sector investments in energy, education, health care and infrastructure.
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