KOLKATA: The country’s second-largest paint maker Berger Paints said that despite the pandemic its capital expenditure for this fiscal remain unaffected and will be the same as last year.

The major investment will be in its upcoming Sandila plant near Lucknow of around Rs 260 crore and the plant was expected to be operational from 2022 onwards, a company official said on Friday.

The company was implementing a few strategies to narrow the gap with the market leader Asian Paints that commands about 50 per cent share in the paints industry.

“Yes, we love to gain further market share and close the gap between us and Asian Paints, and that is our endeavour. We have taken a lot of measures,” Abhijit Roy, MD & CEO, said while replying to shareholders’ questions during the 96th AGM of Berger Paints.

“They (Asian Paints) are about three times our size and we are about 18-20 per cent and are quite hopeful that some of our strategies might work,” Roy told reporters.

He said the company has taken some strategies to further scale up its distribution network to gain market share.

On business performance during the COVID period, he said upcountry was doing far better than the cities. “The rural markets are doing reasonably well. The tier-II, III, IV towns are doing reasonably well. What is affected is the cities and rightly so because of the fear of COVID…June onwards, we are growing very healthy. In June we had almost double-digit growth,” the official said.

The company had recently roped in filmstar Akshay Kumar as brand ambassador to boost sales.

“This quarter (second quarter) itself you will see positive results and going forward we want to do even better,” Roy told shareholders.

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