Interview with Mr. Chris Staheli | Regional Director, Medela AG | Mr. Elias A. Majdalani Regional Sales Manager, Alliance Laundry Systems

First published in M+V’s India Insight in December 2014

M+V: Did the fact that Modi won the election influence your involvement in India?

Chris Staheli (C.S.): Our decision to consider India investment was taken before the elections with a long-term view. The election of Modi‘s party does not have a direct impact on our business direction but is bound to positively influence our decisions if the promises made during the campaign trail are kept. The election itself already had a favourable impact, for example by strengthening the rupee and thereby helping us import and offer our products for a lesser price in India.

Elias A. Majdalani (E.A.M.): Modi’s recent ‘Make In India’ initiative will ultimately have a positive effect on our business, by increasing the purchasing power of Indians. And with more clarity on policies and economic reforms, there is more positive long-term outlook. Half-finished projects are now being fast-tracked, re-opening many previously stagnant growth opportunities for us.

M+V: What is your wishlist for the Indian government?

C. S.: Stability, less bureaucracy and greater economic liberalisation, first and foremost by opening the market to FDI in the retail sector. Ultimately, we would like to see corruption being fought wherever it is found, with zero tolerance.

E. A. M.: Like any other emerging nation, India requires significantly better infrastructure, energy and logistics. Bureaucracy must be controlled and red tape cut to make doing business in India easier. These issues have not yet been adequately addressed.

M+V: What are your plans for India investment in 2015?

C.S.: Medela Pvt. Ltd. India was established on 14 February 2014. In August 2014 we imported our first container and the first deliveries of Medela products were dispatched in October 2014. Our growth targets for the next five years are set and we are on track to meet them. Medela would like to grow at a controlled and sustainable pace. The same long-term view extends to our commitment to India. We believe in this market and are confident that our investment in this country ill pay off and that our products will find a good and loyal customer base.

E.A.M.: With its rapidly increasing consumer demand driven by the growth in innovation and middle-class prosperity, India offers significant opportunities for India investment and expansion in 2015 and the years to come.

Thank you Mr. Staheli and Mr. Majdalani for this interview!