PRD Rigs India is a leading manufacturer of drilling and exploration rigs. As the market demand for mining and construction equipment grew, the company diversified into a wide range of drilling machinery for mining and geotechnical exploration. T.T. Paranthaman tells Sandeep Menezes that he is confident that the equipment market will grow at least 30 to 40 per cent, particularly in mining segment.
How do you see the equipment market growing after the elections?
Currently, the equipment market is witnessing a downward trend. But after the elections we feel that the market will grow at least 30 to 40 per cent particularly in the mining segment. But, we feel that once the election process is complete, it will take another six to eight months for the equipment market to start witnessing growth.
What has been the impact of rupee depreciation on the equipment segment?
It has not affected PRD Rigs much as far as the domestic market is concerned. Most of our products are totally indigenous except for few parts. Due to rupee depreciation PRD’s export growth has been strong at nearly 20 per cent. Currently, around 80 per cent of our revenues are from exports, while 20 per cent revenues are from the domestic market.
How has the recent hardening of interest rates affected the equipment market?
Earlier, we used to only do the mounting. I mean, the truck comes and we mount the machines onto the trucks for water drilling solutions. Now we have come up with this crawler mounted version, where the entire machine can be sold as a single unit. We have also approached various financers for approval.
At present, the equipment market is witnessing negative growth of around 15 to 20 per cent compared to last year. How has PRD fared vis-à-vis the industry?
We have been fortunate enough to sell more machines as we have a wide service network. Also, our company has a very strong presence in Africa. We have two companies in Ghana and Kenya for taking care of service. Water solutions drilling machines will be needed more in Africa since it is a fast developing region.
What is the level of shortage of trained equipment operator in India?
PRD’s water drilling segment was started around 40 years ago. We help customers by sending operators for operating the machines. We are planning to train more people and thinking of starting an institute for training in drilling technologies. There are plans to start a drilling institute in Tamil Nadu.
What growth do you foresee in the drilling segment?
There is a lot of scope in India as huge investment is allocated for infrastructure projects where road projects have a major share. For this geotechnical investigation is required, which needs drilling. Then, drilling is also required to build roads. So we are hopeful of ample opportunities.
What is PRD’s future strategy?
Since we are already strong in water drilling solutions, PRD is now diversifying into mining and geotechnical exploration. We are targeting around 40 per cent growth over next five years due to our mining segment equipment. The initial aim is around 10 to 15 per cent growth per annum.