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Philips sets eyes on water purification

Special Correspondent

To re-position as lifestyle and technology company

CHENNAI: Philips India Ltd., a household name in the lighting area, is seriously evaluating business opportunities in the provision of safe drinking water.

Indicating this at an interaction with presspersons here on Thursday, K. Ramachandran, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the company, said Philips had the technology to clean water. Declining to elaborate any further, he said Philips would make an announcement in this regard very soon. Fielding a range of questions, Mr. Ramachandran said Philips would pursue a consumer-centric approach while venturing into new application areas. The focus would be on creating value proposition for consumers by leveraging the Philips brand, which stood for trust.

"Last year was the best year for Philips India for a long time to come. In fact, the last three years have been improving and good for us," he said. The company grew by over 30 per cent last year and its profitability was strong. Consumer electronics proved the main driver with a growth of over 40 per cent. "Going forward, we are re-looking at ourselves as a lifestyle and technology company,'' Mr. Ramachandran said.

The Vice-Chairman said Philips India would focus on three domain areas — healthcare, lifestyle and technology. He expected the consolidation exercise within Philips to be completed soon with the merger of many legal entities into one. Six years ago, it had seven legal entities. "We are on a strong wicket in terms of performance," he said. The contribution of software was around Rs. 250-275 crores and medical operations Rs. 200-250 crores. The contribution from lighting, appliances and consumer electronics was worth around Rs.2,200crores.

In the healthcare operations, the strength of Philips lay in premium imaging products. Yet, it was keen to enter the volume and rural market in the long-run. In the lighting business, the company would lay stress on energy efficiency and strive to win rural consumers with products with affordable prices. In the consumer electronics segment, the focus would be on flexible displays that were flat, slim and wide.

Mr. Ramachandran said the parent company was looking at Philips India as a "competency base for developing consumer solutions for emerging markets.'' On a ten-year spectrum, he felt India could emerge as a sourcing base for certain types of products.

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