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Carat on the prowl, plans acquisitions in India

By , agencyfaqs! | In | June 29, 2004
Carat Media Services, India, is planning acquisition of other media agencies, giving a greater push to event-sponsorship, and setting up a state-of-the-art R&D hub in the country

Carat Media Services, India has charted out an ambitious strategy to fuel growth in the Indian market. The blue-print includes acquisition of other media agencies, giving a greater push to event-sponsorship, and setting up a state-of-the-art R&D hub in the country.

Carat Media Services, India is a part of the 650 million UK-based Aegis group.

In an exclusive interview with agencyfaqs!, Kim Walker, chief operating officer, Carat Asia Pacific, said that the company has aggressive plans of acquisitions in India. "We have done a lot of acquisitions in the European market and in Asia-Pacific. In India, our plan of acquisitions and joint ventures will be spearheaded by Charles," Walker said.

Carat, which had initially started off as a very small company, had a string of acquisitions in Europe, where it bought out media departments of agencies and consolidated them under one Carat brand.

Will the Indian market see an encore?

Walker declined to elaborate on this issue. "You will be the first to know when we acquire a company, or set up a joint venture" -- was all Walker said.

Apart from forging partnerships, Carat, it was learnt, will be also focussing on certain areas of business - which were traditionally not part of its Indian business portfolio.

Walker said, "In India, the majority of the business comes from media buying and planning - which is based on a commission. As compared to this, other markets witnesses a bulk of the business coming from sponsorship of events, television programmes and other consultancy services, where the agency charges a fee for the services rendered."

C B Jenarius, group CEO of Carat's Indian operations, added: "We will be looking at many such business possibilities in the country. There is an enormous scope of growth in these operations".

Carat's annual spend in research and development activities is around 20 million. And, the good news is that the company is contemplating opening a centre here in India. "We have research centres in the UK, the US, and Japan. Opening one more centre to look at the media needs of our clients in India and abroad is a possibility that we are looking at," Walker explained.

The Indian CEO will be undoubtedly seeing some tough times ahead. Carat saw a leadership vacuum after the previous CEO Meenakshi Madhvani had quit. Subsequently, the agency lost key accounts such as Cadbury's, Asian paints and Airtel (planning). So, steadying the steady-but-somewhat-shaken Carat ship will be a part of Jenarius' responsibility.

As a group CEO, he will be managing the overall business in the country, which includes the joint ventures and also future ventures like out-of -home business (for example, advising the company on how to increase interaction with the customer etc).

Jenarius says that the company should be doing a business of Rs 350 crore this year (January-December, 2004), adding that the growth projection is quite modest as the company faced a major setback last year.

Carat India has established brands like adidas, Dabur foods, Philips, Pillsbury, Max New York Life, Mattel, UDV, Royal Palms, Godrej & Boyce, Sahara Group, Federal Express, Andhra Bank, and Cream Bell.

Talking about the challenges to be faced as a group CEO of the company, Jenarius says, "My mission is to reinstate brand Carat among the top three agencies in India." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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