The Goan home appliances market is estimated to be in the region of Rs 300 crore and is growing by 15 - 20 per cent year-on-year. In terms of growth markets in India, Goa ranks third behind Maharashtra and Gujarat. With attractive loan financing options on offer, the task of purchasing a home appliance has now become a lot easier. With rising incomes and changing lifestyles, home appliances have become more of a necessity than a luxury, thereby fueling demand. Home appliance dealers are now looking to close the year with a double digit percentage rise in turnover, writes MICHAEL FISHER
Goa consumers are creating new trends in the home appliances market which is estimated to be Rs 300 crore and is growing by 15 per cent to 20 per cent year-on-year. The pattern of spending has become more liberal than Goans known for they conservativeness. Today, a home would have in each room an LCD television, a minimum of two fridges and a freezer, which is the trend. The days of one TV or one refrigerator for one home are of yesteryears.
With each customer spending an average of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh in the home theater, LCDs and LEDs segment, retailers known as dealers have mushroomed to 150 and are still counting from the 50 odd stores 10 years ago. Ideally located shop space measuring 15sqm x 15sqm is now rejected. Home appliance traders want much, much bigger retail space to showoff their wares.
Over three lakhs of the Goan population is in the age group of 10 to 25 years and this is the purchasing power, says Samsung dealer and Prime Electronics proprietor Mr Felipe Alvares. About eight consumer durable brands are looking at revenues growing by 20 per cent in 2013, riding on robust performance by its home appliances division.
Maharashtra and Gujarat are well-known growth markets in India, but for all the talk about them being big spenders and the fastest growing consumer economies, don’t lose sight of other promising geographies. If anyone would like to know which state is number three, then finance companies will tell it is Goa. This is taking into account its population.
“In this year, we are expecting to grow our business by 20 per cent. Our growth driver will be our strong portfolio of home appliances,” Samsung Chicalim dealer Mr Alvares informs. He has a retail showroom in Panaji as well.
The three fastest selling appliances this summer are refrigerators, air-conditioners and flat screen LCDs and LEDs and are foreseen to contribute double digit percentage this year compared with 2012 summer. LCD and LED flat panel televisions are making a big impression with consumers, as prices keep coming down while quality and screen options increases. The other essential products are micro ovens, washing machines, water coolers and filters, stoves among others.
Dealers are, however, expecting a drop in big value items such as the 46 inch panel screens and double door king size fridges, said Margao’s biggest dealer, Mr Gautam Talaulikar. This is probably due to the stoppage of mining activities in the state. TVs will soon be extinct products as they are being replaced by LCDs and LEDs. Electric induction cookers which were fast sellers are now stagnating.
Loan financing has made it fast and easier for purchasing latest household products. Full cash payment and loan financing are running neck and neck, says Bajaj Finserv Lending manager – sales, Mr Sandeep Patil. In less than 12 months, the installments are paid in loan financing.
“We have two seasons in a year. From April to June demand is for financing ACs, washing machines and refrigerators. And from October to December, the festive season demand is for flat panel screens and home theatres. This is the time when brand manufacturers offer exciting schemes, which include I-pads worth Rs 25,000 and a Zita Volkswagen in the All India contest,” he adds.
Bajaj Finserv gives an EMI card with a value of Rs 30,000 - one lakh to good profile customers. The customer need not start the paper work, which is already with the Bajaj Finserv. The EMI card is only for purchasing home appliances at Bajaj registered dealers, says Mr Patil.
Bajaj also offers life insurance to its customers, whose products are first insured. The policy premium is paid by Bajaj Finance for Bajaj customers. It comes with zero per cent interest. In case of defaulters, a legal notice under section 138 from the court is served to get the money back from the defaulting customers. Then, under section 9, the notice is served to get back the product.
For instance, some 62 per cent of households earning less than Rs 30,000 a month owned between two and four televisions, according to Bajaj FinServ survey. That compares to 68 per cent of those earning Rs 1 lakh or more a month.
Marketing pundits point to spending patterns, saying consumption is a better indicator of living standards than income. Using that metric, the state’s poor are living better than they have been in decades, enjoying many of the amenities that the middle class have. This is attributed to the financing companies and personal loans division of banks.
Manufacturers are embracing new consumer behaviours, says Mr Sudesh Shetye, proprietor of Shetye Sales Syndicate, with showrooms in Panaji and Duler. “People are not as badly off as one would think,” he points out.
The changing lifestyles of the new generation who are exposed to the materialistic world coupled with spending power from NRIs, expatriates and new owners with a second home in Goa are creating a huge demand-supply gap for home appliances.
For quick delivery, most dealers have tied up directly with the manufacturers, cutting off the dealer network. The most affordable product brands are Haier and Videocon. Mr Sheyte also points to other appliances and electronics that are now commonplace in the homes of those with the lowest incomes, including microwaves and air-conditioning.
Air-conditioning in Goa has become more of a necessity rather than a style. This is not what you think of when you think of poor. The fact that people can afford these things suggests improvement in living standards over time, Mr Shetye’s research explains.
He remembers in 1996-97 when LG and Samsung brands entered Goa, there were a few showrooms. The payment mode was 90 per cent cash down payment without a fuss, and about 10 per cent through financing schemes from banks. Over the years, Goans shrugged off shame of taking loans, and the loan bubble started growing by banks and financing companies. A huge under cutting is going on, with every brand trying to grab a higher share.
There is a lack of skilled technicians to install the products. What dealers have are just handymen whose knowledge of functioning of the products is very little, rues Mr Shetye. During a breakdown, the dealers don’t have skilled people to send. There is a shortage of loaders, drivers and helpers, which is hindering the growth of the home appliance market in Goa.
Sharp, which went in for a revamp, has entered the Goan home appliance market. CEO and managing director, Mr Sunil Sinha, said that Sharp’s products are fitted with AC to DC inverters which will cut down energy consumption by 60 per cent. Sharp fridges have been built with a hybrid cooling unit to keep vegetables fresh, and it will not become dry.
Goan home appliance dealers are looking to close 2013 with a double digit percentage rise in its turnover. They are also planning to invest between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore on various segments. Per se, this growth is being stunted due to lack of qualified manpower technicians.
It is not too far when the traditional television will be challenged by the rise of internet video sites, the person owning a flat-screen TV ... or two, would really look poor.
Western India Shipyard Ltd based at Mormugao offers world class services in ship repairs
By Sudesh Bhosle | B&C
Western India Shipyard Ltd (WISL) is an ISO 9001-2000 certified Indian leading composite ship repairs facility. After it was set up in 1994, Agarwal Business Group (ABG) took over the company in 2010. In addition to WISL, ABG owns three other shipyards, of which two are located in Surat, while the other is located in Gujarat. ABG also deals in cement consignments.
Set up with an investment of Rs 170 crore, the company aimed at boosting the ship repairs business as per the needs of the Indian ship building industry and over the world. The yard is strategically located in the Mormugao port and is geographically well positioned to offer a range of comprehensive ship repair services. WISL is one of the world’s newest multi-dimensional and multi-purpose yards offering modern, streamlined, sophisticated ship repairs facilities and services. WISL offers world class expertise in undertaking repairs for general cargo and bulk carriers, oil-chemical-gas carriers, dredgers, transshippers, passenger vessels, drill rigs, in addition to tugs, barges, floating cranes and several offshore support vessels.
Director and chief executive officer, WISL, Commander (Retd) Mr Subhash Mutreja, informed that WISL has grown since its inception and during the last 3 to 4 years, the turnover of the company increased after ABG took over the reigns. “During the last 2 years, the company has achieved greater profit and in 2011-12 it has achieved a total turnover of Rs 140 crore,” stated Mr Mutreja.
Mr Mutreja informed that the mission of setting up the company is to offer world class ship repair services and products by integrating the highest quality of people, processes and products with professional and streamlined operations while ensuring complete customer satisfaction consistently through the 5Es which are – expertise, excellence, efficiency, efficacy and esteem.
He mentioned that the company has repaired over 547 ships since its inception. WISL handles vessels with 200 metres in length and 32 metres in width for repairs. Last year, WISL repaired around 32 vessels. WISL is the only private ship repair yard in India which has the biggest floating dock that was imported from Singapore in 1995.
Among WISL’s notable achievements, Mr Mutreja informed that the company is the first private shipyard in India which carried out the medium refit of Indian naval ship INS Sujata. “The naval ship INS Sujata was a patrol vessel and was being converted into a cadet training ship as the Indian Navy was falling short of a training ship and for the role conversion we have accepted the contract recently in 2012,” added Mr Mutreja. He opined that the medium refit of the ship was the biggest order received by WISL till date which was worth Rs 75 crore.
He also maintained that WISL also has the facility of specialised underwater repair by using ‘Cofferdam Technology’ and it is the only yard in the state that can adopt this latest technology.
WISL so far has used the technology for 3 ships, including one passenger ship. He recalled that the Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai cruise liner MV Ocean Life had a lucky escape for 401 passengers, including 134 onboard crew after the vessel developed a crack on its return from a maiden voyage in November 2010. The ship was being repaired by WISL by using the Cofferdam Technology. He also maintained that the floating dry dock is the only facility available with the private ship repair yard.
WISL has its own 250 permanent employees working in various departments, of which the majority are locals. “The company has generated employment facilities to the locals, thereby creating a stronghold among the private shipyards not only in Goa but also in the entire country by adopting various new technologies which is a need of the hour for surviving in the changing arena,” added Mr Mutreja.
In addition to the permanent employees, there are around 300 to 400 outsource employees working with various contractors. During peak time, the average workers working in the yard touches nearly 800, which includes permanent and outsource temporary workers.
Mr Mutreja also informed that WISL is a customer friendly yard which recognises talented ship repair specialists and those with the ability to apply first class technical knowledge in ship repairs, and anticipating the client’s needs through knowledge and giving them timely and quality conscious services along with value for money.
He further disclosed that WISL is all set to expand its expertise worldwide with its Quality Management System certified by both BVQI and IRQS under ISO 9001: 2000. “Over the years, WISL is the obvious choice of ship owners for its competent and comprehensive range of ships repairs with commitment to quality and excellence,” concluded Mr Mutreja.
Mr Dhanwant Pandit’s modest hotel in Pernem has grown from a humble beginning and continues to be popular for its ‘bhajiyas’
By Bhiva P Parab | b&c
If you are in Pernem town and want to relish some tasty ‘bhajiyas’, then Mahalaxmi hotel is the place to go. For the last two decades, this modest hotel owned by Mr Dhanwant Pandit has maintained the distinct taste of its bhajiyas which continue to be a hot favourite.
“Its the taste and quality of the bhajiyas and the approach towards the customers that matters. All these years, since I started my business of making bhajiyas, I have solely focused on quality and my customers’ interests, so my approach towards them has always been cordial. Therefore, over the years, my business has increased. We have our regular customers as well as new people who have been coming here,” says Mr Pandit.
“I only use good quality cooking oil and digestive materials such as ginger while preparing the bhajiyas. Most importantly, while serving the bhajiyas, I don’t count the number of pieces that I put into a plate, instead I fill the plate entirely, which costs only Rs 10,” he adds.
Mr Pandit started his business in 1992. Rs 50 was all that he initially invested. “With that amount I bought whatever material was needed for making the fritters and began selling them along the roadside in Pernem. At that time I didn’t even have a kiosk. I used to carry out my business using a single table,” Mr Pandit mentions.
“It is hard work and God’s grace which has made me successful today. I now earn handsomely through my hotel business. My wife has played an important role in its success. She has supported me at every step and still helps me in managing the hotel. It’s because of her support that I have tasted success,” emphasises Mr Pandit.
Mr Pandit toiled at a time when he hardly had any money to sustain his family. But even though he is successful today, that habit has still stuck. Everyday, his work begins around five at dawn, working along with his employees, and ends at around 8 in the evening.
“I am also grateful to my customers, especially the regular ones who come especially to savour the bhajiyas that we serve. I own my success to them,” avers Mr Pandit.
Mr Das is happy. After years of telling his parents, his wife and colleagues that he will apply for life insurance by the end of the week or month or year, he has finally taken the great leap. He is now the proud owner of a life insurance policy. “Now, I can stop worrying about how my family will manage when I am no more,” he says, storing the policy bond away safely in a drawer.
Has he gone through the policy bond after receiving it? “Just a quick glance,” he says. “I don’t understand insurance jargon too much.”
Is that a problem? It very well could be.
The policy bond is an elaborate document, and it makes sense to go through it with a fine-tooth comb. If you spot any errors—it could be something as silly as a spelling mistake—or unfavourable terms and conditions, you have a 15-day window within which to return the policy.
The ‘insurance jargon’ that Mr Das mentioned could very well be a stumbling block for non-insurance folk. But there is no reason why you cannot learn to make sense of it.
Step 1: Review basic policy information
At this stage, you will have to channel your proofreading skills. Keep a pencil handy in case something doubtful crops. Look out for spelling errors with respect to your personal information as well as that of your beneficiaries. Keep a lookout for discrepancies in terms of the type of policy, premium amount, mode of payment, term duration, etc. If you spot an error, get it corrected as soon as possible.
Step 2: Study the terms and conditions
The insurance agent may have promised you the moon. Now that you have the policy bond in your hands, make sure your policy offers all that you signed up for—nothing more, nothing less. So if you opted for a policy that allows partial withdrawals or loans, make sure this is mentioned in the bond.
Step 3: Examine the cost of insurance
Your agent may have made several glib promises. But he may have left out key aspects of the policy—such as the cost of insurance. Most policies list out the various costs involved in providing you life insurance coverage. Examine these costs to ensure that you are not paying any unnecessary fees.
Step 4: Compare the policy with your application
In case you missed anything, compare the policy with your original application. If you have limited experience with insurance, this step could point you towards possible errors and omissions.
Step 5: Evaluate illustrations and tables
Look through illustrations showing the insurer’s current performance in the life insurance sector as well as the guaranteed minimum benefits you can expect when the policy matures. While you are at it, study the tables provided to get a clearer idea of future premium projections as well as cash values that you can access.
Step 6: Understand the settlement section
Complicated settlement procedures can make life difficult for your family. So make sure to understand the process of filing a claim and receiving the payment, and then communicate this clearly to your beneficiaries.
It is not that difficult and even a non-insurance person like Mr Das can learn to understand his policy bond. And if the going gets tough, you can always ask more insurance-savvy people for help.
(The author is the CEO of MyInsuranceClub.com, an online insurance price and features comparison portal. You may write to the author at Deepak@myinsuranceclub.com)
Starting out as a modest eatery in 1968, O’ Coqueiro’s popularity has soared ever since, especially for its authentic Goan Portuguese cuisine
By Abdul Wahab khan | B&C
Whenever someone asks for directions along the busy Porvorim highway, most often than not, O’ Coqueiro is always the prominent landmark that is known to everyone.
The hotel has an interesting history. Way back in 1968, the hotel initially started out as a small eating joint and later became a modest bar and restaurant which was set up by Mr Stovio Pinto. It was later leased out to Mr Lucio Miranda and Mr Christavo Pinto.
In 1970, the management of O’ Coqueiro Bar and Restaurant changed hands and was popularised by Chef Gines Viegas, a native of Assagao, who had returned from East Africa. O’ Coqueiro is now run by Chef Peter Fernandes, who apprenticed with the legendary Viegas. In 1997, Chef Viegas collaborated with Alcon chairman, Mr Anil Counto, who at that time invited Mr Fernandes to come aboard and run the venture. Later in 2002, when Chef Viegas passed away, Alcon acquired the restaurant, and since then Mr Fernandes has been with O’ Coqueiro, that’s nearly 23 years.
Mr Fernandes who today solely manages the hotel, admirably said, “I have been awarded the Best Chef of India in 2007-2008 in the non-hotel category by the Government of India,” while adding that O’Coqueiro has developed a reputation for serving authentic Goan Portuguese food. The name O’ Coqueiro, which means coconut tree in Portuguese, lends credence to most of the masalas that go into the preparation of its sumptuous dishes, he mentions.
The hotel’s popular Goan cuisine is most appreciated, as most of the NRIs and locals who visit the place, rekindle fond memories as they savour various Goan dishes for which O’ Coqueiro has become famous the world over. Dishes like ‘samarachi kodi’ that is cooked using dried prawns and served with coarse rice and para (dry mackerel), ‘haad maas’ (pork bony meat) and ‘buch’ (pork guts) which is made from pork, are much sought after. The hotel also serves Goa’s traditional liquor - coconut and cashew feni.
Mr Fernandes revealed that his mentor, Chef Gines Viegas, was the first to introduce chicken cafreal in the state. “Although we are also famous for sea food and cocktails, we never discriminate among people, be it middle or higher class. Also, there’s a myth among people that we are expensive and don’t serve halal chicken which is incorrect as we never categorise our prices. When it comes to halal, we are supplied by Royal Foods who cut the chicken in a halal manner. We are God-fearing people and would never deceive our important customers,” he emphasised. During the months of June, July and August, the hotel receives many Arabs who specially come for the chicken dishes.
“One can’t visit Goa and complete a holiday or business trip without visiting O’ Coquiero. Every month, we change our items with novelties to suit our customers’ taste buds. Another important aspect is whenever we receive discount offers from our beverage suppliers, we pass on the benefits to our customers as well,” adds Mr Fernandes.
The hotel has a seating capacity of 400 people, along with banquet halls which play host to silver weddings jubilees, Christian communion and birthday celebrations.
“The numbers don’t matter at O’ Coqueiro, what matters is the quality. No matter how many guests arrive, we offer a special nook for them. For the immensely private, we have a cosy private dining room from two to eight guests as per seating capacity. For a slightly larger group, say 16 to 20 people, we may present the charming Sala de Banquet. While the Sala de Jantar, a very special dining zone, seats 30 to 40 people comfortably, the Salao, that is the non-air-conditioned dining hall, accommodates up to 100 people as well. If the guest count crosses the 100 mark, we then offer the open air Relvado. There are also other attractions such as live music every Tuesday and Friday nights. We take care of every little detail, so that every big occasion leaves an impression in our customers’ mind,” he points out.
The hotel’s greatest asset is its employees, he says. There are around 35 employees, mostly Goans, who are trained by Mr Fernandes himself.
What is surprising is that the hotel has never advertised, except on certain festive occasions. The hotel’s popularity has simply spread through word of mouth. “Our good treatment and courtesy policy made us famous globally,” he avers.
The mining ban seems to have had an adverse effect on hoteliers like him. He explains that the consumption patters of his customers has changed, as people who would order large quantities of items have now cut down two - three items from their usual order list. He laments that the government is unsupportive towards the hotel business by raising taxes which has in turn affected the rates. However, over period of time, customers have taken the hike in rates in their stride, he says.
“I don’t believe in competition even if somebody starts their business at our entry gate. It will not hamper our business. We believe in serving the best authentic cuisines to our new and existing customers. It’s my dream to expand the O’ Coquiero brand in other states. I am waiting for an opportunity. In the meantime, we are also planning to set up a big hall to host events for larger crowds,” says Mr Fernandes as he signs off.
Someone has rightly said that, “A man in a well-tailored suit will always shine brighter than a guy in an off-the-rack suit.”
Goans in particular tend to loosen their purse strings when it comes to buying western style clothing, especially suits. While some prefer to buy ready-made suits, there are some others who still choose to get their clothes ‘tailor-made’ for them. For Panjimites, Welfit Tailors seems to be the preferred place to get a suit stitched.
Mr Aleluia Rodrigues is the owner of the three Welfit shops - Welfit Tailors, Welfit Classic and Welfit Silhouette. He acquired the art of tailoring in Mumbai and later came to Goa and started working for a tailoring shop. Later in 1960, after gaining sufficient expertise, he started stitching suits and men’s clothes on his own. Three years later, he got a license to set up his own shop Welfit Tailors and never looked back. In the initial years, he alone would do all the stitching work, but as business started growing, he employed a few workers to manage the workload.
When he came in Goa in the late 50’s, there were many popular tailors like Crecent, Lawrence and Minen who were specialised in stitching suits, men’s cloths, etc. It was his childhood ambition to be a tailor, he says. Mr Rodrigues is a native of Raia, Salcete, where it was common to come across people wanting to be a tailor during those days, he explains. In his family, no one has taken up tailoring, so he therefore decided to pursue it as a profession.
Mr Rodrigues during those days offered his services to eminent people like judges and counsels who practiced law. Some of the notable ones were retd Judge Couto, retd Judge Noronh Pereira, Adv Gomis Pereira and Adv Amadio D’Costa. He also stitched clothes for Dr Rego who was a famous gynecologist back then.
Tourists who would come from European countries would frequent his shop. All these people were his regular clients who would especially get their suits stitched from him. He also cited an example of his longstanding customer Dr Rego whose son and grandson who still continue to stitch their suits at Welfit Tailors.
In 1993, Mr Rodrigies set up a new shop Welfit Classic where they stitch both gents and ladies garments, and is now managed by his son, Mr Arnold Rodrigues.
Later in 2001, they opened another shop Welfit Silhouette which sells ready-made cloths. They also accept orders for stitching wedding dresses and are specialised in men’s suits. Over the years, Mr Rodrigues has seen a healthy growth in his business and is pleased with it. With 15 workers employed at present, the shops have a monthly output of 35 - 40 suits. The cost of suits may cost according to style, pattern and quality of the fabric. On an average, a suit may cost anywhere between Rs 4,000 – Rs 5,000.
Keeping up with trends and tastes, Café Central is going strong in clientele and fortunes, writes SHOMA PATNAIK
Among the older food stores of Panaji selling Indian munchies and snacks, Café Central is a hot pick. It figures as the store most likely to be suggested by residents to newcomers looking for a place to shop. Located in the mid-city, Dr Pissurlekar road or bang opposite the CCP building, it is the place where experts on good eating head to for the evening snack or to buy the longer keeping nibbles for the kitchen cupboard at home.
Like all bakery shops selling cakes and confectionaries, Café Central emanates a tasty aroma. You get a whiff of it as you near the place from the 18th June Road side. After which the tangy-sweet fragrance engulfs full blast, as you enter the shop. Inside, the place is jam packed with customers, especially if you walk in at peak evening hours from 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. In these brief hours, orders for eggless cakes, samosas, pao, batawadas are quickly taken and fulfilled until the loaded shelves are nearly cleared out.
Café Central owes its popularity to three smart partners - Mr Ravindra Gayatonde, Mr Dayanand Bandekar and Mr Kedar Bandekar who have a 50:25:25 stake in the business. But, it is Mr Gayatonde who usually man’s the cash counter, taking time off to get down to talking. Ask him about the secret behind the shop’s fame and he is modest enough to think on the reply.
It could be “innovation in food items” he says that has translated into regular introducing of new stuff to add to the range. For instance, the mushroom samosa, which is an original recipe or other tasty bites like corn patties or the paneer makhani rolls.
Another reason for continuing reputation, he thinks is the goodwill earned through years of existence and also the loyalty of regulars. Then of course there is freshness in fare that is its biggest USP.
Customers point out that like fair-minded local eateries, the café offers value for money. Its rates are affordable and quality maintained with snacks crunchy and crisp. The fillings in the savories are wholesome and taste as good as made at home.
Café Central has an annual turnover of above Rs one crore, which is growing at a healthy rate. It makes profits after accounting for the salaries of around 30 employees and costs incurred on ingredients and other overheads. The profits are due to volumes as the owners keep a reasonable margin on the selling prices.
All the food is made in the kitchen behind the store. One would not realize it, but at the rear of the shop there is a fair amount of space to house the cooking area, the store and a small office. “Having all facilities nearby is a great cost saving as it saves on transportation, helps oversee quality and generally help to keep an eye on things,” explains Mr Gayatonde. He points out that in the food business, it is crucial to be vigilant, supervise the kitchen and control quality.
Like the cafés of Panaji, Café Central has an old history. It was started by the late Mr A S Gayatonde in 1932 when it soon went on to become a happening place of those times. In the old days, the café was located opposite to the municipal garden, Panaji and was famous for its puri bhaji.
But after moving to present premises, it shifted focus to sells confectionaries and Indian snacks. The shift in address as well as fare has not affected its reputation and fortunes. As for the future, says Mr Gayatonde, “It lies in the new generation of the partners, viz members such as Mr Abhijit Gayatonde and Mr Rahul Bandekar” who are waiting in the wings to add their own touch of innovation to the café.
On Friday, chemist shops in India were closed for business. Owners downed their shutters supporting the strike call given by their fraternity. In Goa, with local stores also closed, it felt amiss to have the neighbourhood pharmacy missing in action.
Recent advances in adhesive tape technology by an India-Ireland joint venture at Kundaim Industrial Estate are creating new opportunities for a wide range of industrial applications in the adhesive tapes market.