Feature

Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals has been doing well but there is a tightrope walk ahead

The electricals company has triumphed over its troubled past and now it needs to secure its future 

After taking Racold to the top position in the water heaters space in just three years as the company’s managing director, Mathew Job was set for the next adventure. Only this time, the stakes were higher. From managing a Rs.5-billion company, he was asked to lead the then Rs.10-billion Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals (CGCE) along with MD Shantanu Khosla.

The two joined in 2015, when the company was in the middle of a management reboot. The consumer electrical business had been demerged and sold to Advent International and Temasek, by the Avantha Group to repay debt. It wasn’t difficult to sell. The electricals vertical, then the undisputed leader in fans and residential pumps, had been contributing one-fifth of Avantha’s revenue. And it has kept growing. While revenue went from Rs.39.2 billion in FY17 to Rs.45.11 billion in FY20, net profit went up from Rs.2.83 billion to Rs.4.94 billion (See: Steady current).

When CEO Job started his stint, his priority was clear. “Until a few years before the demerger, the consumer electrical business was underinvested in,” he says. Therefore, he focused on improving profitability and creating a cash chest, to reinvest in the business.

The first thing he tackled was the distribution network, which was not very well organised. Earlier, distributors would hold inventories based on ma

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