* Uni Wash|
* Rohit Surfactants|
* margin pressure|
* Bimal Kumar Gyanchandani
MUMBAI: Maker of India's largest-selling detergent brand Ghari, Kanpur-based Rohit Surfactants plans to launch a mid-premium laundry brand to take on Hindustan Unilever's Rin and Procter & Gamble's Tide. "We want to tap into mid-priced category which has good potential as well as offer higher margins," Rahul Gyanchandani, director at Rohit Surfactants, said. Ghari competes in the highly competitive mass-priced segment, where companies are under margin pressure due to high raw material costs. "In addition, apart from brands such as Rin and Tide, there is a vacuum in the segment which we want to fill," Gyanchandani said. The new brand, Uni Wash, will be launched in the next 2-3 months and be priced similar to Rin and Tide, the company said. Rin's 1-kg pack costs 50, while Tide Naturals' 870-gram pack is sold at 30. Spokesperson of HUL and P&G said as a company policy they do not comment on competitors. Rohit Surfactants' Ghari late last year beat HUL's Wheel to become the top brand in the 13,000-crore laundry industry. The firm's entry into the mid-premium segment is expected to make the infamous Rin-Tide fight even murkier. HUL early this year priced Rin lower than P&G's Tide and released an advertisement asking consumers to choose the better brand-the latest in a series of aggressive commercials from either brand targeting the other. Some blatant ads even attracted legal recourse from the other side. According to an industry insider, Tide's share has doubled in the last two years to over 13.7% in 2011 while Rin's share has grown from 4% in 2009 to around 6%. TOUGH MARKET
Analysts feel that Rohit Surfactants' entry could further dent margins in laundry,...