Indian firm looks to create a ‘Kodak Moment’ in home appliances

New Delhi: Kodak is finding a new moment in India, this time in home appliances. More than a year after launching Kodak televisions in India, the local brand licensee is ready with Kodak washing machines, betting on the low penetration of the this category in India.

Kodak washing machines will reach the market in three to six months, said Avneet Singh Marwah, director and chief executive officer of Super Plastronics Pvt. Ltd (SPPL), Kodak brand licensee in India.

“India will be the first country to have Kodak washing machines that we will make in India. Kodak TVs and speakers are available in other markets like South America. But Kodak’s entry into the home appliances segment will start from India,” Marwah said in an interview. His company launched Kodak TVs in August 2016.

Founded in 1888, The Eastman Kodak Company ruled the world of film photography and its tagline ‘Kodak Moment’ even found a place in the Oxford Dictionary. Since its bankruptcy in 2012, the New York-headquartered company been trying to find its feet in printing services and by licencing the Kodak brand. Marwah’s SPPL brought brand to India. Kodak TVs were initially sold in e-commerce marketplaces and later introduced in retail stores.

“Unlike TV, washing machines will be launched offline or in the traditional retail channel. The scope for washing machine in India is huge considering the low penetration,” Marwah said, adding that depending on the success of Kodak washing machines, Kodak may also look at taking it to other markets in future.

According to a November 2017 report by consulting firm PwC, only 13% rural households and 88% of urban households in India have washing machines, while the global average is 70%. Sales of washing machines are estimated to grow by 11% from 5 million in 2017 to 9 million by 2022, noted the PwC report.

To leverage the underpenetrated market for washing machines, Marwah has decided not to extend the Kodak brand to any other home appliance in the near future. “We need to establish Kodak TV and washing machines in the market before we look at anything else,” he added.

SPPL was founded in 1990 as manufacturer of plastic injection moldings for television companies, and started contract manufacturing for some of the home-grown brands, such as SVL, Crown and Suntek, and even created its own brand Beltek. Currently, it has three factories in Pune, Noida and Jammu. SPPL is planning to add one more factory at an investment of around Rs100 crore this year.

While Marwah’s SPPL has rights for using the Kodak brand name in India and neighbouring countries, the New York-based company has agreements with companies like Bullitt Group for Kodak Ektra smart phones in a few countries and with Archos for budget Android tablets in Europe.

Kodak TVs, priced between Rs15,000 (32” smart) and Rs43,999 (55” 4K) in India, are available on Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm and at over 2,000 retail stores across nine states. “We’ll add 10 more states by end of this year. Seven models of Kodak TVs are currently available, and Marwah plans to add five more this year.

SPPL has 350 services centres, and Kodak TV is among the five most sold TV brands online, Marwah said. “At present, we have a little less than 3% share in India’s total TV market. In three years, we hope to capture 6-7%,” added Marwah, adding that the scope is huge. Marwah may be betting on the projections. India’s TV market is projected to grow by around 6% from 13 million units in 2017 to 18 million units in 2022, according the PwC report cited above.

Revenue-wise, SPPL is still a small entity. According to Marwah, SPPL hopes to cross Rs 300 crore by March 2019, from around Rs200 crore at present.livemint