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Berger Paints cruising after hitting a pandemic speed bump

  • Published at 07:07 pm January 26th, 2021
Berger profit 2021

Profit and sales up in Oct-Dec

Berger Paints saw its profit soar 35.4 per cent between October and December to Tk 90.2 crore as the country’s leading decorative paint manufacturer appears to have put the worst of the pandemic behind it.

This takes the company’s profits in the first nine months of its 2020-21 financial year, which runs from April to March, to Tk 167.1 crore, up about 3 per cent year-on-year.

There are two reasons behind the profit growth, Rupali Chowdhury, managing director of Berger Paints Bangladesh, told Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

“We have managed to bring down our costs between March and June and at the same time, the price of raw materials has come down a bit. This has helped us increase our income.”

There is no doubt that the paint industry has been one of the casualties of the pandemic, she said.

Bangladesh announced its first confirmed cases of COVID-19 on March 8 and three weeks later, the government put the country on shutdown, bringing economic activities to a screeching halt. 

Paints being a discretionary product was among the worst hit during the shutdown. 

The shutdown was lifted on May 30 and with it seems the demand for paint returned gradually.

Between July and September, which coincided with the monsoon season, when construction activities and repainting work hits the slow lane, Berger Paints logged in sales of Tk 165 crore, up 11.5 per cent year-on-year, on the back of pent-up demand from the preceding three months.

Chowdhury credited the sales spurt to pent-up demand from the shutdown period.

“Consumers could not place orders or buy during the shutdown. Besides, infrastructure works were on hold. They bought our products in the July-September period,” she added.

With social distancing becoming the norm, households were reluctant to immediately allow painters in. 

To get around this predicament, the multinational paint manufacturer -- which has a 52 per cent market share in Bangladesh, according to a research of LankaBangla Investments -- rolled out disinfection services and hand sanitisers.

Called Berger Mr Expert Advanced Hand Sanitiser, the product, which is manufactured by following the formulation of the World Health Organisation, comes in a 250ml bottle and carries a price tag of Tk 180.

Its disinfection service, called the Berger Expert Sanitisation Service, provides up to four weeks of protection against virus and bacteria.

The service cost is Tk 3.50 per square feet if the premise is less than 5,000 square feet. It is Tk 3 for premises between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet. The service charge is Tk 2.5 when the premise is larger than 10,000 square feet.

Subsequently, it logged in sales of Tk1,133.1 crore in the first nine months of its ongoing financial year, down 7.3 per cent year-on-year.

Then earlier this month, Berger launched a water-based interior emulsion paint called ‘Breathe Easy ViraCare,’ which kills 99% of the infection-causing viruses – includingSARS-COV-2, the virus causing COVID-19 --and bacteria on the painted surface within 2 hours of exposure.

Berger’s strong showing amid the pandemic has cheered the market: its stock, which has been listed since 2006, gained 16.9 per cent amid the pandemic. On Tuesday, shares of Berger Paints closed at Tk 1,549.3.

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