Nestle India's New Chief: Priority Is To Bring Back Maggi To The Market

02/08/2015 10:16 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

NEW DELHI -- With the Maggi ban hitting sales of company's other products as well, Nestle India's new chief Suresh Narayanan on Saturday said bringing the instant noodles brand back to the market is his top priority as he sought to strike a conciliatory note with authorities.

The company has also identified other categories and looking at opportunities of introducing new products to overcome the challenge that has resulted in the company recording its first quarterly loss in over three decades.

"Task number one is to get Maggi back. That's an important part of what I will be focussing on," Narayanan, who took over as new Managing Director of Nestle India five days back, said in an interaction with reporters here.

Seeking cooperation from authorities, he said: "It is my endeavour and those of my colleagues that we come to with respect, with cooperation, with support from the authorities, I am not in a confrontational frame.

"...Nestle is a part of this country. We will be a part of this country as we have been for the last 100 years respecting the laws of the land and also respecting all the authorities. It is my hope that we are able to find a solution and we are able to move forward."

He, however, declined to 'hazard a guess' on how soon Maggi will be back on shelves saying the matter is sub-judice as Nestle India has challenged the ban on Maggi by central food safety regulator FSSAI in the Bombay High Court.

Narayanan said due to the ban, "a whole business segment has been dismantled" and "the whole system (of supply chain, manufacturing and distribution) is on freeze". Hit by ban on its Maggi instant noodles, Nestle India reported a standalone loss of Rs 64.40 crore for the quarter ended on June 30, 2015 -- its first quarterly loss in over three decades. It had posted a net profit of Rs 287.86 crore during the April-June quarter of financial year 2014-15.

Calling for an "introspection" within the company to overcome the challenge of Maggi ban, he said: "As a consequence of what has happened we will be having a process of introspection as an organisation, in terms of learning what was the thing happened, what was the thing that was right what was the thing which we have done was not right."

This is going to be constituting the part of the learning of the organisation. All this is internalised and taken for the future in terms of assuring that the company doesn't come by the unfortunate incident again, he added.

When asked if the ban on Maggi has hurt sales of other products of the company, he said there has been impact as the products were sold in the same geography as Maggi.

In order to overcome that, Narayanan said the company would be increasing the advertising and marketing spend on other product categories.

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