Feature

North block

Kerala-based appliances firm V-Guard has had a great run so far, but pan-India ambition brings its own challenges

On a scorching Thursday afternoon, as people queue up to cast their vote in Kochi’s Venala suburb, passers-by may be excused for thinking that the area houses the regional headquarters of either the CPM or the state Congress. In truth, Venala houses the headquarters of one of Kerala’s most successful consumer electrical appliances companies, namely, V-Guard Industries. The company was founded in 1977 as a sole proprietorship by the now philanthropically inclined Kochouseph Chittilappilly with a seed capital of ₹1 lakh gifted to him by his father, an agriculturist. Chittilappilly, a postgraduate in physics, originally wanted to be scientist. “However, that didn’t work out and I joined the R&D department of an inverter manufacturing firm at a pitiable salary. In 1977, at age 27, I decided to start out on my own.” 

Thus was born the company out of a tiny rented tin shed with two workers producing one or two stabilisers a day. In 1983, the company spread to other parts of the state and started its first branch at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Pump sets became part of the repertoire a decade later and in 1996, V-Guard was converted into a private limited company. In 2008, the firm went in for an IPO that brought in ₹65 crore. “I joined the company in 2006, when we were at ₹200 crore in turnover,” says Chittilappilly’s son Mithun, a postgraduate in finance from Melbourne University, who took over as managing director in 2012. 

Big basket

V-Guard’s five segments account for more than 80% of its sales

Today, the over ₹1,500 crore-firm is a dominant player in the consumer electrical appliances space in south India, clocking a revenue and profit CAGR of 37% and 32%, respectively, over FY10-FY14. “The quality of the brand and our quick and efficient after-sales service has also played a role in our success,” says Chittilappilly. As on date, V-Guard boasts of an expanded product portfolio that includes uninterrupted power supply units, inverters, pumps, house wiring cables, electric and solar water he

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