Australia begins bottled beer, sunscreen exports to India

By Neena Bhandari, IANS,

Sydney : Two iconic products of the Australian lifestyle, sunscreen and beer, are the latest to join the growing list of exports strengthening the economic ties between India and Australia.

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The Adelaide-based family company, Hamilton Laboratories, has sent its first shipment of sunscreen and South Australia’s Coopers Brewery has sent an initial shipment of 400 cases of Coopers Pale Ale, Sparkling Ale and Stout to India this October.

“To carve out a niche in a market where more than one billion people are exposed to the sun is an exciting development for Hamilton. The population and climate in India makes it an ideal market with incredible potential,” Hamilton Chairman Richard Blake said.

India already has a large number of local sunscreen manufacturers, but Hamilton is confident that their reputation for premium quality and the strong distribution network will provide the competitive edge.

“Our opening order for A$100,000 (US$69,226) worth of our Sensitive, Optimal, Toddler and Everyday Hamilton sunscreens is a strong sign of what can be achieved in this market,” Blake said.

“It is also a sign of the increased importance the local population is putting on sun protection and the greater awareness of skin cancer,” he added.

India is one of the fastest growing markets for this 75-year-old company, which exports to more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe and North America and retails its product primarily through pharmacies.

The growing Indian middle class with enormous spending power is also helping another South Australian company, Coopers Brewery, to reap rich dividends.

The company exports bottled beer to more than 26 countries across the world and has just secured its first export order to India.

Chairman and Marketing Director Glenn Cooper said this was the first time Coopers had ever exported bottled beer into India, although it currently exports malt extract and home brew kits to the sub-continent.

“This contract arose from discussions with the export manager of the Indian import company D C Johar & Sons, which is based in Bangalore. They were after a premium quality beer to be stocked at numerous five star hotels throughout India and thought Coopers would be a perfect match,” Cooper told IANS.

India is attracting more Australian business prospects. According to Austrade research conducted with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are over 1,500 Australian businesses currently exporting to India.

Australian companies like Gloria Jeans and Cookie Man are doing well in Indian retail markets through franchising arrangements.

Australian exports to India increased 37 percent in 2006-07 as against 22 percent in 2005-06. In the past five years, Australian exports have increased at an average annual rate of 41 percent.

India is now Australia’s fourth-largest goods export market after Japan, China and South Korea. In 2006-07, India was Australia’s largest market for gold, second-largest market for coal and copper ore, and third-largest market for wool.