Financial hotshot Sameer Sain’s future role in Future Capital in doubt

Sameer Sain had come from Goldman Sachs to make Future Capital Holdings a financial powerhouse. The stock listed at Rs909 in February 2008 and is down 81% in two years. Sain has now stepped down as MD & CEO

As Sameer Sain steps down from Future Capital Holdings (FCH), one more bull-market dream lies shattered. FCH was supposed to be Kishore Biyani’s dream financial vehicle to extract value from footfalls into Pantaloon stores. Instead, he has now decided to split its business into financial services retailing and investment advisory. Sameer Sain, the star he had recruited from Goldman Sachs, has stepped down from his position as chief executive and managing director of the company. He has sold 10 lakh shares recently, reducing his 11.85% stake in the company.

FCH is currently in the process of splitting its retailing and investment advisory between the key promoters, Sameer Sain and Kishore Biyani. Mr Sain has now been appointed as vice-chairman of the company. He will be heading FCH’s investment advisory while distribution of financial services will be looked after by Mr Biyani. FCH is in the process of appointing a new chief executive and managing director.

When Mr Sain joined Future Capital last year, institutional investors pumped in money, banking on his stellar track record. Mr Sain was a managing director with Goldman Sachs and head of the special investments group, co-head of wealth management for Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, and a member of the executive committee of Goldman Sachs Bank Zurich. He was supposed to create a financial powerhouse for Mr Biyani by leveraging the reach and customer base of Pantaloon.

For the quarter ended December 2009, FCH’s sales have fallen by 68% while operating profit is down 45% compared to the corresponding year-ago quarter. Net profit is down 37% at Rs3.94crore.

FCH was supposed to have multiple revenue streams. Apart from selling insurance, consumer loans, credit cards and wealth management services, it is an adviser to various offshore and private equity funds. FCH Ltd was incorporated in October 2005 and started its retail financial services business in June 2007. Taking advantage of the bull market of 2007, it made a public issue in February 2008. The stock listed at Rs909 on 1 February 2008. Now after two years, it is quoting at Rs173, resulting in an 81% erosion in investors’ wealth. FCH manages four funds under its real-estate advisory services. FCH’s retail financial services started in June 2007 with an agreement with Pantaloon Retail India Ltd (PRIL), under which FCH has exclusive right to provide financial products and services at present and future malls, stores and retail outlets in India which are owned, controlled or managed by PRIL and its subsidiaries. FCH’s private equity arm, Indivision India Partners, manages a $425-million fund that focuses on providing growth capital to businesses which benefit from the growth in consumption in the Indian sub-continent.


Maruti Suzuki eyes 100% jump in exports in FY10

Maruti Suzuki has said that it expects to double its exports to about 1.6 lakh units this fiscal, while it is looking at overall sales growth of over 20%

The country's largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSI), on Monday said that it expects to double its exports to about 1.6 lakh units this fiscal, while it is looking at a 20% overall sales growth, reports PTI.

"Last fiscal, we exported 80,000 units. We are expecting 100% growth in exports this fiscal," MSI executive officer for marketing and sales, Mayank Pareekh told reporters on the sidelines of an AIMA event in New Delhi.

The company's overseas sales growth was driven mainly by the export of its flagship model A-Star, which clocked sales of over one lakh units till December 2010, within 11 months of launch. MSI aims to cross two lakh units of exports by 2010-11.

The A-star, which is produced only in the company's Manesar facility, is exported primarily to Europe and countries like Chile, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria and the UAE, where it is sold as the Suzuki Celerio.

It also contract manufactures the model for Japanese car major Nissan, which sells it in the European market as Pixo.

Recently, MSI had kick-started exporting its latest model Ritz to South East Asia as well to expand its export portfolio, besides exploring the West Asia market.

Commenting on the overall sales growth of the company, Mr Pareekh said, "So far on an average, we have been growing at about 20%-22% this fiscal and we expect this to continue. Overall for the entire fiscal, we expect this level of growth."

Maruti had sold over 800,000 units, of which the domestic market contributed 722,000 units, Mr Pareekh said.

"We will produce a million units this fiscal and of course we will try to sell this within the year. So far we have sold about 840,000 units this fiscal," he said. The company has rationalised and reactivated its capacities and "currently we are producing at peak of our level", he said.

On rising commodity prices, Mr Pareekh said that they are still going up and pressure on margins continued. He, however, declined to comment if MSI would look for another round of price hikes. "As a company policy, at first we try to absorb it. In January we increased prices by less than 1%."

On Budget expectations, he said that the government should continue with the policies that helped the auto industry to grow at about 21% in the last 12 months.

"It will be too early to exit from stimulus measures as those were the main reasons for growth of the industry. It is too early to say that the auto industry has fully recovered (from the slump due to the global economic crisis)," he said.


‘In-film’ branding emerges as a new revenue model

‘In-film’ branding has emerged as a new revenue model for filmmakers. It has helped to reduce publicity budgets of films by a minimum of 15%

The subtle and seamless placement of brands like Volvo and Mahindra in Bollywood megahit '3 Idiots' has brought into focus the effectiveness of film-branding as a good revenue model reducing publicity budgets, ensuring desired effects for both the movie and the product, reports PTI.

"Brands ride on films. In-film branding has emerged as a new revenue model for filmmakers. Filmmakers have realised that break-even of a film is difficult (to achieve), and the need of the hour is to increase the revenue model," Sajaay Moolankodan, senior director, GoFish Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which conceptualised the brand integration of '3 Idiots', told PTI.

"Agencies like ours understand the demand of the script, integration of brands and pitch for various brands. There is a cost given by the brands—Rs25 lakh-Rs75 lakh—depending on the placement. The package deal is between Rs2 crore-Rs3 crore which includes a cash component and co-branding activity. It benefits both (product marketers and filmmakers) and reduces the publicity budget of the film by a minimum of 15%," he said.

However, he said that brands and filmmakers need to be careful to ensure that scripts are not tweaked to fit in brands. "Sometimes, brands want on-the-face placement. But we convince them that such a thing would kill the film as well as the brand," he said.

Two-wheeler Mahindra Flyte made its debut in Bollywood with '3 Idiots' with a few scenes involving Aamir Khan riding the bike with two pillion riders—Sharman and Madhavan.

Mr Moolankodan said that his agency understood the brand as well as the film language. Hence, his recommendation to clients—be it the producer or the brand manager—to avoid loud and force-fit placement and to look at the marriage between the script and the brand only if the script permits.

"'3 Idiots' has become a perfect platform for filmmakers and brand managers to realise the effectiveness of seamless placement within films," he said. In-film brand placement is like surrogate endorsement for the brands. "It works both ways," he said.

The model is not evolved as yet like in Hollywood films. The filmmaker cannot promise 100% visibility to the brand.

Certain scenes may be cut during editing. Scripts can undergo changes during the shooting stage as well. Brands are compensated most of the time, but sometimes they are not, he said.

"In Hollywood, scripts are locked before the film goes on the floors and a set commitment to the brand is followed. In India, brands are sceptical of being attached to films."

Post '3 Idiots', brands are aware of film-branding as a good option. Marketers are willing to break the clutter and reach out to newer audiences, he said.

The Volvo SUV XC90R design was another placement in the film.

“Raju Hirani, director and co-producer of '3Idiots' had clearly briefed us that he wanted a red colour premium SUV as any other colour would clash with the backdrop of Shimla and Ladakh,” Mr Moolankodan added.

"The Volvo XC90 in red had not been launched in India by then and Volvo specially got two red SUVs air-lifted from their headquarters in Sweden to facilitate this integration," he said.

Similarly, an Airtel Internet data-card and its signature tune were ‘placed’ during an important sequence while Sharman Joshi is in hospital and Aamir tries to connect to Web cam chat through this data-card.

Apart from this, the entire cast used Samsung mobiles and these gadgets were showcased in the film. Air India was showcased in the opening sequence of the film. The film’s mahurat was shot in an Air India aircraft.

Mr Moolankodan said that in film brand placements, it is imperative for all brands to look at placements only if the product can naturally fit into the script.

Even though film-branding is not the main medium for marketing of brands, it is cost-effective and acts as a bonus value, he said, adding that “70% to 80% is spent on TV, press and outdoor (advertising). Film sponsorship accounts for 2%-3%," he said.

Out-of-film associations also help to increase the visibility of the film after the release. "Out-of- film association is (like) taking the concept of the film and footage for a co-branded television commercial," he said.



Amitava Sengupta

5 years ago

Hi, we r going to produce a Bengali feature film in Kolkata. We need in film branding. Can we have any assistance and how in regards to this?


5 years ago

how much did volvo pay 3idiots for its placement?

G Sudhakar

6 years ago

Please give the address of agencies which will help us in getting in film branding for our forth coming Telugu picture.


6 years ago

Can you please give me details of an agency that accepts films for 'In-film branding'



In Reply to Rajesh 5 years ago

xcess enterainment


6 years ago

Good coverage of in film branding, film makers and audience will know more info about the film business.

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