In view of the current recessionary scenario, what is your outlook for project investment and the manufacturing sector in India?
The last 18 months have surely been slow. Since the last quarter of Y2011, we have seen a continuous slow market in India. However, with inflation coming below the politically sensitive 5 per cent level now, the interest rates are likely to drop fast and this should revive consumer demand again.
Project investment in manufacturing sector is very much linked to the market sentiments and we believe that this should start improving pretty fast in the coming months. In the long term, we remain bullish about the Indian manufacturing sector. A population of well over a billion people, having a median age of 25 years only, and growing middle class, which is beginning to earn more and more, the long-term potential of this market is not very difficult to estimate.
How has the slowdown in the industrial sector impacted business opportunities and market growth at DISA India?
Normally an industrial slowdown is very bad for capital equipment industry, as the need for capacity expansion vanishes in the short term. However, we have somehow bucked this trend through a slew of new products and new markets. The severe dip expected in slowdown times was avoided for DISA INDIA as the cushion of new products and markets compensated for the drop in legacy products.
We were thus able to hold our revenues in Y2012 (as against Y2011), and actually ended up with an all-time high opening order backlog of 105 crore this year, which gives us good confidence for the current year. However, we are keenly looking out for the market recovery now, to get back to our usual high growth trend.
We also see that while greenfield investments slowed down during Y2012, the demand continued to come from technology upgrade requirements, as the Indian industry apparently prepares to be get ready for the next rising cycle.
What is the currently scene in moulding products and solutions in India?
In Y2011, about 4,500 Indian foundries produced about 10 million tonnes. However, of these 4,500, we estimate that over 75 per cent are manual foundries. Of the balance 25 per cent, a significant majority uses semi-automatic technologies, and less than 150 foundries use the latest global technologies, namely the high pressure moulding lines.
As a trend, we have seen the move from manual to semi-automatic solutions and from there high pressure moulding lines. This trend is only getting further reinforced in spite of the current slowdown in the markets.
What is your company’s market share? Do you have plans to increase it in coming years?
In terms of our market share for moulding equipment, we supply a significant majority. Our strategy is very simple: to facilitate our customers in this clear need for high-end foundry technology in India. To make it happen, the key things are cost and support. We are committed to make the high-end technology more affordable through continued localisation in our Tumkur and Hosakote plants. Once the technology is in place at a customer, the next step is the strong local service and application support, as the customers go through their learning process in operating and maintaining the new technology equipment.
We have introduced new technology products at each of the last few IFEX shows in India and we can clearly see the increasing customer acceptance for the same. We are literally the only one, locally producing the top end high pressure moulding lines of all types; the legendary Vertical DISAMATIC, the flexible matchplate solution DISA MATCH and the robust Flask solution DISA FLEX, all these apart from the Iconic Jolt-Squeeze solution ARPA.
With the global merger of the DISA Group with Wheelabrator, the world’s largest surface preparation solutions provider, we are also introducing a whole new range of shot blasting solutions to the industry in India.
How has DISA India benefited from public and private sector projects in industrial and infrastructure sectors?
Indirectly but surely. Through the DISA range of moulding and sand plant equipment, we primarily cater to the foundries, which in turn is the mother industry for all the other industries. Through Wheelabrator range of surface preparation (shot blasting) equipment, we reach out to multiple industry segments like automotive, forging, structural steels, aerospace, shipyards and general industrial sectors. We are also taking our filters range beyond the traditional foundry markets to new applications in general industrial segments.
You cater to various industries like automotive, infrastructure, and machinery and engineering. Which of these areas look promising?
Automotive is by far the biggest end segment for our customers. However, with our continuously expanding product range, we are now reaching out to multiple industry segments.
Can you mention some of your orders, both completed and ongoing? What is your current order book and where do you see it in 2013-14?
All major castings producers e.g. Brakes India, Amtek Group, Shakti Group, Munjal Kiriu, Mahindra Castings, Tata Motors, CRI Pumps, Texmo, Aquasub, to name a few, are existing DISA customers. In the recent past, we have executed projects for Nelcast, KSB, Jothi Malleable, Madras Engineering, again to name a few. Some of the major orders under execution are for Amtek Group, KFIL, Texmo, Brakes India, VR Foundries, Indsur Group, HMSI and Musashi.
What are some of the innovations we can expect in moulding technology?
Specific to India, we will keep expanding our offered range with more efficient moulding and sand plant solutions. We have now introduced our first product for core making, which are key machines in foundries. The range of Wheelabrator products are also being continuously introduced, focusing on the automotive and steel market segments.
Can you briefly talk about DISA India vis-à-vis its parent company, Norican Group?
DISA India is owned 75 per cent by Norican Group, which is the mother entity of DISA Group and Wheelabrator Group worldwide. Norican Group is closely held by a private equity group worldwide. While DISA is the world’s leading provider of foundry technology, Wheelabrator Group is the world’s largest provider of surface preparation (wheel and air blasting equipment) technology. The group has a strong focus on its global spares business also through its global sales, service and dealer networks. The group also has a fully owned engineering company, DISA Technologies Pvt. Ltd, focusing on high-end engineering support for the global sister entities.