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B & C

Spreading the aroma of masalas

By Michael Fisher | B&C
Ms Maria Francisca Costa Vaz made a resolution 25 years ago not to take it easy on the laurels of her late rich dad’s success story, and with her husband Mr Karl Vaz who also comes from a food background and started small making authentic spices.

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A rejuvenating experience

By Shoma Patnaik | B&C
The spa industry has really changed from being a part of a beauty parlour to standalone centres that are exclusively into body massages and spa therapies. The Tatva Spa, says its energizing owner Ms Asha Arondekar, is for families.

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Buying a health plan: Should you disclose pre-existing conditions?

By Deepak Yohannan
The problem with pre-existing conditions is that health insurers shy away from them. Heart disease, diabetes or even that tricky knee can turn the eager insurer into a hesitant one.
The good news is that an insurer cannot refuse coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

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Climbing his way to success

By Erwin fonseca | B&C
Plucking a coconut is always a herculean task. But what makes this even more difficult is rarity of people who can do the job. There were times when coconut pluckers were a dime a dozen, but that is not the case today.

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Into the world of books

By Dheeraj Harmalkar | B&C
Marcus Tullius Cicero once said that, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” From this, one may understand how much importance was given to book reading in the olden times, and even today.

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Finger-licking Biyachi bhaji

By Vishant Vaze | B&C
During the days of the Portuguese, Bicholim as a town would attract hordes of people who were in search for a place serving tea, coffee, snacks and other refreshments. Shantadurga Hotel, named after the town’s presiding deity, has been one such popular haunt since it began in 1932.

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A necessity more than luxury

 

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.

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Making ships seaworthy

 

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.

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Bhajiyas by the road

 

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.

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