It’s been a tough two years for Symphony Limited. Last year when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March, sales of air coolers in the domestic market were severely impacted due to the national lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of Coronavirus. Again in April this year, the unprecedented surge in Coronavirus cases impacted the company’s earnings in the first quarter of the current fiscal.
“Being in a seasonal business, a product which primarily sells during the summer months both the [Covid-19] waves couldn’t have come at a worst time for us,” says Achal Bakeri, founder, chairman & managing director, Symphony in an exclusive interview to Fortune India.
Bakeri further pointed out that at the top-line level the company registered a degrowth of 20% whereas on the standalone basis, India business recorded a degrowth of 31% in 2020-21 compared to 2019-2020. “The decline of 31% in the India business was to some extent arrested with the international business. We ended the year with a 20% decline in revenue for FY21.
Symphony’s gross revenue declined 20% to Rs 931 crore in 2020-21 following the effect of the pandemic-induced lockdown.
“We have done well in some of the international markets where we have a presence. This includes Australia and the U.S. where we have grown the business also during the pandemic,” says Bakeri, adding that the pandemic has been a big setback for the company. “Two summers back to back have been disastrous for us. However, it is fortunate that we have a substantial chunk of [revenue] coming from international business.”
The Ahmedabad-based air cooler maker has presence across 60 countries including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. In India it has a network of over 30,000 dealers and more than 1000 distributors. Symphony—which operates in the consumer and industrial air cooler market—have been focussing more on international markets and industrial cooling to drive growth.
Symphony’s clients in the industrial cooling business include names such as BigBasket, Delhivery and Hawkins.
“The air cooler industry is dominated by unorganised players (about 70% of total industry). We believe organised players would gain market share due to their strong balance sheet and robust supply chain network,” noted a research report dated July by ICICI Securities, adding that “industrial air-cooling market is worth about Rs 10,000 crore and Symphony being the only branded player in this segment stands to take advantage of it.”
Although the first quarter of the current fiscal was a complete washout due to lockdown, the management believes that the overall FY22 performance will be better than what the company achieved in the last three years, noted the ICICI Securities report. “Exports are expected to increase and the management believes that exports contribution would be above Rs 100 crore in FY22.”