Wipro CFO reveals how its ‘SEA footprint’ is complete following Splash Corporation acquisition

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Wipro has acquired Splash Corporation to fulfil its goal of becoming one of the top three personal care players in Asia. ©Wipro Consumer Care
Wipro has acquired Splash Corporation to fulfil its goal of becoming one of the top three personal care players in Asia. ©Wipro Consumer Care
India’s Wipro Consumer Care has acquired Philippine personal care company Splash Corporation, with its CFO telling us the deal will fulfil its goal of becoming one of the top three personal care players in Asia.

Wipro believes the acquisition enables it to further establish its presence in the fast-growing Philippine market by leveraging Splash’s distribution capabilities.

Additionally, Wipro can now take Splash’s brands, including SkinWhite, Maxi-Peel and Vitress to other international markets where it already has a strong presence.

The company did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition.

Philippine potential

Deepak Chandran, CFO of Wipro’s international business told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that Splash has been on WIPRO’s radar for some time now.

“Our stated objective is to grow in emerging markets so we’ve been constantly looking at the gaps in our portfolio from a geographical standpoint and the Philippines stood out as a clear gaping hole.”

Chandran believes the acquisition of Splash partly fulfils that objective.

“I wouldn't say the picture is complete but I would say the footprint is complete. We are now present in all the large countries in SEA.”

Chandran said the company planned to accelerate the growth of Splash.

“We intend to significantly increase the growth ambitions of the business. It will be partly from domestic expansion and partly from taking the brands internationally to other markets we are strong in.”

He added that the firm was confident it will be able to grow Splash significantly because of the market potential of The Philippines.

Chandran estimated that the market is currently worth $4bn and has been growing at a CAGR of 6% for over the last five to seven years.

“The forecast is fairly positive. Growth has been concentrated around the Manila area… but now there is a focus on building up areas outside of Manila. This is driving increase income levels, spending power… Riding on that trend, we see a lot of potential and growth in some of the personal care categories.”

He added: “We believe the Philippine market offers the potential to grow the business significantly higher than it has in the past. Combined with a focus on international, I think it should do really well in our hands.”

Chandran believes that under its wing, Splash will experience growth that is “significantly higher than industry growth rate and significantly higher than its past performance.”

He highlighted that the company has had an excellent track record with its acquisitions.

“Unza has grown much faster with us than it used to with the previous owners. Same with our other acquisitions. We are confident that this business model can be replicated with Splash also.”

Taking its brands across Asia

Originally from India, Wipro is present in South East Asia, China, the Middle East and Africa.

The company first entered SEA in 2007 with the acquisition of Singapore’s Unza Holdings.

“At the time, we took a fairly large strategic bet to come to SEA. We believed the sensibilities of the region were similar to India. It was close to home and the objective was to focus on emerging markets,” ​said Chandran.

The bet paid off for the company and it continued to acquire more firm such as L.D. Waxson Group and Zhongshan Ma Er to strengthen its presence in Asia.

Even with its entry into the Philippines, Chandran said that the company still has a lot to do to grow its brands.

For instance, the company sees a lot of potential for its Halal personal care brand, Safi.

“[Safi] is very well-appreciated by our Muslim consumers. It is probably the largest personal care brand in Asia, possibly the world. We launched Safi in Indonesia last year and it is doing very well,” ​explained Chandran.

“Now it’s probably the largest halal skin care brand in the pharmacy channel. With the insight we have, we know this is something we can possibly take into the Middle-East.”

Similarly, the firm sees a lot of international potential for SkinWhite, one of Splash’s skin care brands.

“Because of the large presence of Filipino foreign workers in the region, SkinWhite is a fairly recognised brand, not just in The Philippines, but also in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle-East. We can grow the brand in a way that Splash wasn’t capable of doing on its own,” ​Chandran.

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