NEW DELHI: Reckitt Benckiser, the healthcare to homecare group, is hoping to double the size of its business in India, which would make the country one of the firm's most valuable markets.

India has been named among Reckitt's 16 global "power markets" expected to drive future growth, a list also housing the US, UK, South Africa, Russia, China and Brazil.

"My aim and vision is that India should become the single biggest market in the next three-to-five years for Reckitt Benckiser in revenue," Chander Mohan Sethi, Reckitt's senior vice president, Asia Pacific, told the Press Trust of India.

"I know that it is not going to be easy to compete with markets like the US, but we will do it on the back of innovation and investment on building our brands."

A key source of Reckitt's optimism about India's prospects is the rising affluence of shoppers and the expanding number of consumer households, which is set to increase from 50m to 200m.

To position itself most effectively for growth, the parent of Dettol and Veet has decided to focus on the health, hygiene and homecare categories, largely in that order.

As a demonstration of this, it paid £460m to buy Paras, an Indian pharma company which owns D'Cold, a popular cold and flu remedy and Moov, a topical analgesic pain ointment.

"It was primarily a product strategy, but it also gives us synergy on the channel front. The primary reason for purchase was the portfolio; the secondary synergy benefit is that we are also more focused on the health channel now," said Sethi.

During the past seven years or so, the UK-based firm has invested significantly in India, with funds allocated to enhancing manufacturing and R&D facilities, as well as to strengthening its brands.

Reckitt's revenues, including those from Paras, stand at around £400m per year in India, a total that has been rising by 18% per year in the last decade, a figure now due to reach 20%.

"The expectation from India is that it will be in the top two or three fastest-growing countries for the group. Therefore, the contribution from India should double in terms of size," Sethi said.

"Today, India is the seventh or eighth largest growth market for the group; it will definitely be in the top five in three-to-five years."

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff