Singer India | Rare Investments: New Investors Like Rare Investments Could Help Build Growth Plans Singer: MD

“We expect the growth of sewing machines to be higher, because so far we have only sold household sewing machines. Now we are also getting into industrial sewing machines which is a growing segment and the garment industry is expected to grow at a rapid pace,” says Rajeev BajajCEO and CEO, Singer India.

Given that we have the data regarding the wholesale transactions that have taken place and that we have seen a number of new investors, including Rare Investments, buying shares of the company, can you explain to us what the company is doing and what it means ?
is a small company but it is a very big brand. Unfortunately, we have not been able to use our potential. We have two main activities, the core being sewing machines. Singer is a world leader in sewing machines. Sewing machines having limited growth, we entered household appliances after our exit from BFR in 2013.

Appliances now includes a range of appliances from small to large appliances, but the focus would now be on defining the categories we want to focus on in the future and grow only in those categories. Sewing machines contribute 68%, being the core business on a turnover of less than Rs 500 crore. Still, it has a lot of growth potential because in India, sewing machines are still a product of aspiration for poor and middle class families. In the United States and in developed markets, they have moved to advanced automatic machines, even digitally managed and you can copy from the camera and paste the image.

I am sure that once India also becomes a developed country in the next 25 years, as we aim to be, we will also progress towards this type of machinery. We have the medium range of sewing machines, automatic zigzag sewing machines that have built-in stitch patterns. In Covid times we saw a lot of sewing machine purchases around the world because people had hobbies and loved to sew. Regarding yesterday’s wholesale transactions, we were part of Singer Asia until December 2021. Prior to that, this new group had purchased part of Singer Asia’s capital and completed it in December 2021. The new owners were particularly looking for Indian investors to help us grow together and that is why yesterday there was a sale of part of Retail Holdings (India) BV but they still hold control.

They own 37% of the shares and they intend to keep control and go further.

You mean that Singer Asia owns 37% of the capital?
Not Singer Asia. Singer Asia held around 58% until December 2021, which was sold to a new group of Greek and British investors. These people sold 22% yesterday to Indian investors including Rare Investments. They want to have the participation of local investors and develop the business and develop the plan together.

You said 68% of your revenue still comes from sewing machines, but given that you’re also in appliances and that’s a very competitive space, as a strategy, are you going to look to develop the activity for which you are known? is it sewing machines or are you going to expand the appliance segment?
I would say that in sewing machines, the growth would be higher because until now we only sold household sewing machines. Now we are also getting into industrial sewing machines which is a growing segment and the garment industry is expected to grow at a rapid pace when the PLI program will also be considered for the garment industry.

However, home appliances are an important, albeit competitive, market. At present, we are in about 24 home appliance categories. We would now limit it to six or seven categories where we can introduce niche products, competitive service and the Singer brand. The visibility of the Singer brand is very low in India and I hope that with the arrival of investors, we would be encouraged to invest more in brand promotion than in the application, which will help us to compete with other brands in the home appliance market.

Currently, we would only have 1% to 2% market share and we aimed for at least 5% share in the categories we would spit and on sewing machines. Of course, we are currently number two in India, although we are leaders worldwide. Our objective is also to regain our leadership through the application of the brand. In due course, the focus will be on the application of the brand, because at present, the visibility of the brand is very low.

The investors who entered, including Rare, are therefore not financial investors?
Yes, they are financial investors, but they are also our promoters and they may come up with plans to develop the business. When business growth is announced, brand promotion would be the first program.

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