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UDV India plans new plant for Smirnoff

Calcutta, Dec. 13: UDV India, subsidiary of spirit major Diageo, plans to set up a greenfield plant to produce its highest selling brand Smirnoff.

The company is looking at potential sites in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for the project.

Confirming the move, UDV director (marketing) Anupam Dutta said Smirnoff is the only international brand the company produces in India.

“Keeping in view the growing demand for the product, we are setting up a very special plant which will produce, at least in the beginning, only the Smirnoff brand,” Dutta said.

Smirnoff was earlier produced in the UDV plant at Neera. But recently UDV has sold off all its domestic brands, which include Gilbey’s Green Label and Gilbey’s Gold Club.

As part of the selloff, the Neera plant is no longer in the UDV fold. Hence, a new plant is very much important for the company, he said.

The company, however, may not look for a tieup for third party production as Smirnoff needs a special kind of production facility in order to maintain quality.

Dutta refused to comment on the investment needed for the project.

In India, UDV will focus on Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker, the two main international brands. While Smirnoff is being produced in India, the company does not have any intention to produce Johnnie Walker here.

“Johnnie Walker will continue to be produced and bottled in Scotland and imported to India although it faces a pricing problem due to prohibitive import duties. But the brand is fast catching up among the elite,” he said.

In order to make Johnnie Walker more affordable the company has approached the government for rationalisation of the duty structure.

“We are also investing in brand promotion while bringing about a change in the consumption pattern,” Dutta said.

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