STIHL bets big on India

Last Updated 29 January 2015, 17:15 IST

Andreas STIHL, the €2.8-billion leading German manufacturer of chainsaws and power tools for professional forestry and agriculture, has said it sees great potential in India for growth near plantations owing to the huge shortage of labour.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Andreas STIHL Board member and Head (Marketing and Sales) Norbert Pick said, “We feel there is great potential for growth in areas where plantations are located as there is a huge shortage of labour.

With few available hands, products like STIHL brush cutters can help in faster clearances and better turnaround time for planters.”

“Mechanisation is taking place in India at a rapid pace. Our experience so far is that there is initial resistance in using power tools in traditional areas. But once the technology becomes familiar, users adapt to them so much that they are unable to function without our tools,” Pick said.

On technology adoption in India, Pick said, “India is not yet fully mechanised to use power tools such as chainsaws. But we do have other products that can be used in agriculture, horticulture, and plantations. Our products are used in apple orchards as well as coffee estates.” Andreas STIHL has been operating in India since 2006. The Rs 85-crore company, a wholly-owned Indian subsidiary, would be completing ten years in India this year. 

It has been registering a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 per cent for the last five years. In 2015-16, it is confident of a 30 per cent growth, Pick said. 

Some 60 per cent of the company’s orders are from the agriculture sector. It markets 40 kinds of equipment for agriculture, forestry, garden and landscape maintenance, ranging from brush-cutters, chainsaws and mist-blowers.

“India is a very important growth market for the STIHL group and the management is committed to invest more in terms of presence, service and new products into this market,’’ says Parind Prabhudesai, Managing Director, Andreas STIHL India.

Pick said, “We have a strong local presence and a very good dealer network. Our plus point is being located close to the market.” He cited Gonikoppal, a coffee-growing town in Karnataka, as an example of the company’s close interaction  with end-users. 

New products

On new products, Pick said, “We are focusing on battery-driven products for urban areas to curb higher noise levels. In 2009, we introduced a battery-driven hedge trimmer which is totally noiseless and very popular. 

“We are also striving to introduce same-sized battery packs for a family of products. More products will be launched in a phased manner. High pressure cleaners, paddy-weeders and a few harvesters are already planned for launch this year.”

The company has a robust distribution network with 120 importers selling STIHL’s brands in 160 countries throughout the world. It has 34 international sales subsidiaries and 40,000 servicing dealers. In India, Andreas STIHL employs 45 personnel and is looking at expanding across all regions. 

Approximately, 14,000 people work for Andreas STIHL around the world. Currently, it owns over 2,000 patents or patent applications.

(Published 29 January 2015, 17:15 IST)

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