Tata Consumer Products Ltd will continue to look for the right acquisition opportunities in different categories to fuel its growth, the company's chairman N Chandrasekaran said on Monday. Responding to shareholders' queries in the annual general meeting of the company, Chandrasekaran, who is also the chairman of Tata Sons -- the holding firm of the Tata group -- said TCPL (Tata Consumer Products Ltd) would focus on leveraging its product portfolio, expanding distribution and product innovation and entering new categories, while supporting both organic and inorganic growth opportunities in future.
"We also believe in inorganic expansion and yes inorganic expansion is one of the key strategies for the company. The cash in the company will be used definitely for the right inorganic growth opportunities," he said. Replying to another query on whether there is going to be acquisition in the water segment, Chandrasekaran said, "Yes, we will continue to look for any expansion opportunities, both on the water side and also on the food and beverage side and into completely new categories, which may also come through acquisitions." Last year, TCPL acquired Tata SmartFoodz Limited (TSFL) from its group firm Tata Industries for a cash consideration of Rs 395 crore.
Besides, it had also acquired Soulful business from Bengaluru-based Kottaram Agro Foods, engaged in the business of healthy breakfast cereals and millet-based snacks, to expand its product portfolio. When asked about the company's capex plan for the current fiscal, he replied: "Last year our capex was Rs 250 crore and for FY23, this is going to be Rs 361 crore, of which the project's work will be about Rs 161 crore."
Stating that the company is on a growth path, he said, "It is better for the company to focus on leveraging the product portfolio and expanding the distribution and continue to innovate product portfolio and enter new categories. We will support both organic and inorganic growth opportunities." Elaborating on TCPL's strategy, he said, "The company is focused on expanding the distribution, expanding product portfolio and time and bring in new categories and a lot of focus in the domestic market."
On the international market, he said the focus will be on US, Canada and UK and to "rationalise our presence in all the other markets". "The company has a lot of opportunities to increase return ratios or margins and will continue to improve to achieve higher growth," he added. "The business is already EBIDTA positive this year, and we have very promising outlook on the business so we'll continue to expand strongly."
TCPL has a "very aspirational growth plan" and in the last two to three years, it has been consolidating the company, the portfolio within the company as well as across the group and has launched products in both beverages and foods verticals. About TCPL's joint venture Tata Starbuck, Chandrasekaran said, "The business is already EBITDA positive this year and we have a promising outlook on the business and continue to expand strongly.
" Formed in 2012, Tata Starbucks is a 50:50 joint venture between Starbucks Corporation and TCPL. The company is also expanding its research and development budget to Rs 30 crore in FY23 from Rs 24 crore of last fiscal, Chandrasekaran said, adding, "there will be substantial increase in the R&D budget as we go into the future".
Replying to a question on TCPL revenue through, Tata group e-commerce arms bigbasket and Tata Neu, he said products of Tata group FMCG arm are presently sold online through bigbasket channel and get around 2 per cent contribution in overall sales. "We want to definitely see a significant increase in this going forward," Chandrasekaran added. About the expansion of product portfolio, TCPL chairman said last year it launched a number of new products and will continue to expand. These new products contributed around 3 per cent to the company's revenue.