Osram makes a comeback
German lighting products maker Osram will restore operations in Bangladesh, with plans to produce energy-saving lights locally.
The global-giant light producer, which earlier marketed its products through its parent company, Siemens, now has appointed a local representative, IlluminateBD, to sell its products in Bangladesh.
In addition to selling the latest in lighting innovations by Osram, IlluminateBD also plans to provide consultancy services to the growing energy-saving lights market, like lighting in interior design, saving energy and maintenance.
“We acquired a site in Tejgaon industrial area to manufacture at least 25 Osram items initially with German technology,” said Javed Ahamed Bhuyan, chief executive officer of IlluminateBD.
Presently, only five to seven Osram lamps are sold in the local market, while IlluminateBD plans to introduce 70 in the next few years. With a rapid growth in the number of local energy saving light producers, Osram’s market share was less than 10 percent until 2008.
Two local energy saving bulb assemblers — Bangladesh Lamps Ltd and Energypac Electronics Ltd — hold around 40 percent of the market share.
In Bangladesh, the campaign for energy saving lights began in the mid- 1990s. The campaign later gained a momentum when the government got involved.
Customers are encouraged to use these bulbs as it promises to save electricity by 80 percent. Demand for such bulbs nears 10 million pieces a year.
About 30 percent of electricity is used at household levels, consuming around 1,740 megawatt (MW) of electricity, against a production of 5,800 MW, as claimed by the government.
Energy saving light traders said if energy saving light usage covers all consumers, around 350 MW of power will be saved.
However, Bangladeshi market is still mostly reluctant to go for quality lighting products because of higher prices.
A good quality energy saving bulb costs between Tk 180 and Tk 1,000, depending on capacity, while a sub-standard bulb is selling at Tk 80 to Tk 200.
So, IlluminateBD plans to supply products focusing on the customers’ purchasing capacity.
“We will supply good quality products for the mass, but as affordability is a big factor here, price differentiation is required for rural and urban customers,” Bhuyan said.
As electrification is yet to spread to mass levels, there is a big untapped market for the energy saving lights.
Bhuyan said at first, building awareness is important for the country to make people go for efficient electricity use, as carbon credit issues are also involved.
He said if Bangladesh government initiates, Osram will come forward to obtain carbon credit against the growing use of energy saving lights.
Bangladesh is one of the signatories of the United Nation’s Kyoto Protocol, under which it can get compensation from developed nations by reducing carbon emission.
In 2008, Osram sales amounted to 4.6 billion euros.
Osram is one of the two largest lighting products manufacturers in the world and has 46 factories in 17 countries.