Home appliance maker Whirlpool of India is expecting a better performance this fiscal after having a muted demand in FY22, as it sees green offshoots and a rebound in consumer sentiments, according to its Managing Director Vishal Bhola.

In his address to shareholders in the latest annual report of the company, Bhola, however, said global uncertainties and macroeconomic challenges remain.

Reflecting on the performance of FY22, he said the pent-up demand cycle and strong momentum started in May 2020 carried forward into the early months of 2021, but the onset of the second Covid wave in April followed by the highly inflationary environment in subsequent months dampened the consumer sentiments and led to a muted demand.

“As we enter into this year, we are seeing green offshoots and a rebound in the consumer sentiments, however, the global uncertainties and macroeconomic challenges remain,” Bhola said.

The company remains “fully prepared” with an “agile mindset” and feels confident about its ability to deliver, he added.

In the last two years, there has been a “tectonic shift” in the consumers’ adoption of digital channels for shopping and most other aspects of their lives, he said.

“With this in mind, the company has made significant investments in digital business with the aim of being a ‘trusted advisor’ in the online space and providing best in class consumer experience,” Bhola said.

Supported by Whirlpool’s global expertise in this area, he said, “We have set up a technology stack that is not only cutting edge but which will also be capable of rapid scale-up in the future”.

Commenting on the new consumption trends, Bhola said there is a fundamental shift in the consumer’s relationship with home appliance products after the pandemic with a distinct premiumisation at play.

“There was a distinct premiumisation at play and consumers in this segment were willing to pay more for innovation and design,” he said, adding Whirlpool of India continued to strengthen its product portfolio throughout the year with notable new launches as per its vision of being the best kitchen and laundry company.

The company’s consolidated revenue from operations for the financial year ended on March 31, 2022, was Rs 6,196.57 crore, up 5 per cent from the previous year.

However, this increase was driven by cost-based pricing actions and growth in mid and premium product categories, the annual report stated.

Whirlpool of India, with a vision of being the best kitchen and laundry company, in constant pursuit of improving life at home, continued to strengthen its product portfolio throughout the year, it added.  The company has invested in building long-term strategic capabilities by acquiring an additional shareholding of 38.25 per cent in Elica PB Whirlpool Kitchen Appliances (formerly known as Elica PB India ) for Rs 428 crore, taking its total shareholding to 87.25 per cent.

Stating that India has one of the lowest home appliance penetration levels in the world, the company said, “This combined with a powerful demographic dividend and a strong GDP growth is expected to drive increasing adoption of appliances and a rapid sales growth in the coming years”. PTI KRH RKL BAL BAL

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