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Havells Counts on Lights, Water Heaters to Boost India Sales, Reduce Debt

Havells India Ltd., the best performing stock in the Bombay Stock Exchange BSE200 Index in the past year, is counting on higher sales of light bulbs and water heaters in India to reduce debt.

India’s second-largest electrical component maker is expanding domestic sales into home appliances, said Anil Gupta, joint managing director, in a telephone interview. Sales in the South Asian nation may account for 50 percent of revenue in the “next couple of years” from 42 percent last year, he said.

Havells posted its first profit in two years in the year to March 31 after its $300 million purchase of a European maker of Lumiance, Marlin and Linolite light brands in 2007. Rising sales in Asia’s second-fastest growing major economy, may help the company reduce losses at its Havells Sylvania unit. The subsidiary based in Raunheim, Germany has been losing as much as 30 million euros ($38.4 million) a year, Gupta said.

“The main focus remains growing within India,” Gupta said. “There could be various ways of refinancing debt, although we don’t need to do that.”

Havells debt totaled 1.06 billion rupees ($22.7 million) as of June 30, according to a document on its website. Havells shares, which have almost tripled in the past 12 months, rose 0.1 percent to 800.5 rupees in Mumbai yesterday.

The company also plans to sell its products in Malaysia and Indonesia, Asia’s third-most populated nation, Gupta said.

Havells has reduced the number of employees of their European operations to 2,000 from 3,800, Rahul Gajare, an analyst at Edelweiss Capital Ltd., said in a phone interview. “Sales in Europe might be flat or declining, but they are also expanding in Latin America, which is very promising for them.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruchika Tulshyan in Mumbai

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