Not looking at a huge change in distribution : BritanniaMaitreyee Vaishampayan
Update on the Indian Equity Market:
On Thursday, the indices ended lower after a six-day gaining streak. The Nifty ended slightly lower at 10,029. Among the sectors, Media (+4.1%), Pharma (+2.2%), and IT (+1.9%) were the top gainers. Private Bank (-3.1%), Financial Services (-2.6%), Bank (-2.6%) led the losers. VEDL (+7.7%), BHARTIARTL (+5.7%), and ZEEL (+5.5%) led the gainers while ASIANPAINT (-4.6%), BAJFINANCE (-4.0%), and HDFC (-4.0%) ended in the red.
Britannia recently declared its fourth-quarter results. In a post-result interview, Britannia Industries MD, Mr. Varun Berry discussed distribution network, market share, and margins. Here are the edited excerpts of his interview with ET Retail on 4th June 2020:
- Britannia has a reach of about 5.5 million outlets. During the lockdown period, e-commerce has witnessed a massive 300% growth, which is about a percentage of their total sales. In the time to go, it is expected to grow from 1% to 2% to 5%.
- Though e-commerce is growing exponentially, there is a huge base of the supply chain pyramid which has to be kept serving. Hence, he does not believe that distribution strategies are going to change in a hurry.
- It will remain to be a situation where you will have to service kirana stores because they are so entrepreneurial in their way, they operate that they service their own markets wherever they are in a way e-commerce would do in a large city. As long as they have the infrastructure, kirana stores will be serviced by companies like Britannia.
- There are some strong brands where they will prefer taking a pull strategy, rather than a push strategy. A couple of years back, they had adopted a modified pull strategy which has a disastrous impact.
- Since they are not looking at adopting the strategy in a hurry, they will continue to have direct distribution to 2.5 million-odd retailers. The strategy of servicing the wholesalers will continue. There will be a disproportionate focus and nurturing of modern trade, e-commerce, and alternate channels, but the base strategy will not change.
- A lot of freebies have been cut out due to the lack of availability. A lot of costs from the sales and marketing system have been cut down. They will continue doing that going forward.
- Ad spends have been cut till now. Once a normal stocking of brands starts, normal ad spends will resume. This month itself, they will get back to advertising for some of the brands once they have enough product, which will be a temporary phenomenon.
- They will continue to nurture and build brands for the future. Since it seems everyone is sitting at home and watching television, Mr. Berry is of the opinion that it is the right time to advertise and they will start doing that.
- Investments will be made in creating new brands and launching new products. But there is the labor shortage issue. Since migrant workers have gone back, Britannia is operating at a lower capacity in every factory. Due to this, prioritization has become important and thus they are staying away from innovations. As soon as there are sufficient workers, they will start unleashing some of the innovative products.
- Britannia is at the operating leverage cusp and has witnessed a disproportionate jump in margins in the last quarter results. However, its sustainability after a period of time will have to be looked at. The focus will be on unearthing opportunities and making the business efficient going forward.
- From a 4% margin seven-eight years ago to around 15% now, operating margins have certainly improved. There will certainly be progress on the margin but in a slow and steady fashion.
Consensus Estimate: (Source: market screener website)
- The closing price of Britannia was ₹ 3,458/- as of 4-June-2020. It traded at 51x/ 45x the consensus earnings estimate of ₹ 68.0/76.8 per share for FY21E/ FY22E respectively.
- The consensus target price of ₹ 3,540/- implies a PE multiple of 46x on FY22E EPS of ₹ 76.8/-.
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