India: Fogg maker Vini in talks with WestBridge Capital, others to raise capital

Photo: Mint

Vini Cosmetics, maker of Fogg deodorants, is in talks with several investment firms, including its existing private equity investor WestBridge Capital, to raise money and fund its next growth plan, said founder and promoter Darshan Patel.

“We are in talks with several investors. We want to bring in strategic investors who can help take this company to another level…from a small to a midsize company,” Patel said over the phone.

The fundraising plan is in line with its strategy to expand its product portfolio and double its revenue to 2,000 crore in the next three years.

As part of the growth plan, the Ahmedabad-based firm would look at both the organic and inorganic route to expand its product portfolio.

At present, the company earns more than 80% of its revenue from the Fogg deodorant brand, while the rest comes from other products, such facial powder White Tone and facial cream Glam-Up.

According to a report by market researcher Euromonitor, Vini Cosmetics continued to lead the deodorants category “due to the value proposition offered by Fogg”. Some of the other prominent brands in the estimated 3,000-crore Indian deodorant market are Hindustan Unilever’s Axe and ITC’s Engage.

Vini’s fundraising plan may involve diluting stakes by the promoters in the company. “How much stake the promoters dilute would depend on which investors and what structure both the parties decide,” Patel said, adding that he was willing to give away a controlling stake to the right investor.

Patel and his younger brother Dipam Patel own a 63% stake in the company.

“Discussions are on for the last one month. The transaction can happen anytime, but it is also unpredictable given the market situation. People are cautious about signing deals,” Patel said.

According to a 9 September report by The Economic Times, WestBridge Capital plans to pick up an additional 30% stake in Vini Cosmetics from Sequoia Capital and the promoter group for 2,000 crore. Sequoia and WestBridge currently own 17% and 20% in the company, respectively, the report added.

Patel launched Vini Cosmetics in 2010 after spending two decades at Paras Pharmaceuticals, which he co-owned with his brothers. Patel had a 24% stake in the company.

During his stint in Paras, Patel was instrumental in repositioning Moov, the pain relief cream and spray, and Krack, a cream for treatment of cracked heels, Dermi Cool prickly heat powder and Set Wet hair gel, among others.

Patel plans to add another two or three categories to the company’s portfolio in the next two years. The launch of new products will depend on the opportunities in the market, he said without providing further details.

This article was first published on livemint.com.