29 March 2020

Interview - Rajesh Kawoor (Universal Construction)

We expect the concrete equipment market to start opening up in the latter half of 2014


For over three decades Universal, an ISO certified company has been a solutions provider in the robust field of manufacturing construction equipment that caters to the specific needs of business. With huge investments in its infrastructure, strong R&D, extensive range of superlative products, wide spread sales and service network and global reach, Universal, has endeavoured to provide world class construction equipment backed by fully equipped integrated manufacturing process. RAJESH KAWOOR, VICE PRESIDENT (CONCRETE BUSINESS), UNIVERSAL CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT LTD, fielded questions on the Indian ready mix equipment market.   



Briefly offer us an assessment of the current RMC equipment market in India and the main challenges for its growth?


Currently the RMC equipment market is negative.  We are expecting it to improve at the end of 2014. The market is likely to start growing in the near future, probably in 2015. We expect the RMC equipment market will grow at a fast pace from 2016 onwards.

 As far challenges go in my view the biggest issue for RMC equipment is awareness of quality of concrete in Tier II and Tier III cities. Also, the projects not taking off at the expected pace affects the growth of the RMC equipment sector. Looking back, we have seen that that RMC equipment has grown gradually and we are positive that the market will keep growing in the future. 



What is the size of the market for concrete equipment? And what is the contribution of your company in terms of the market requirements? 


The current size of the concrete equipment market should be around Rs 2000 crore. As we are a major supplier of small and medium concrete equipment, we are catering to all important demands of the industry. As far as bigger concrete equipment is concerned, we have started developing the division in recent years. We are growing at an average rate of around 15 per cent.  We have already started increasing our market share in bigger equipment and we are hopeful of reaching the league of the top three suppliers of bigger RMC equipment in the next three years. We have a substantial market share in the bigger and medium size construction companies and those are our major clients.



Tell us about the performance of your company this year highlighting the various categories of products launched in 2013?


It is well understood that the market situation is not positive this year. We have experienced shortfalls in the bigger equipment sector in terms of our targets. However, we have done well in the smaller and medium equipment category. In 2013, we have launched our Self loading Mixer which is totally designed and developed in house, whereas the other comparable machines available in India are designed and developed in association with overseas partners. We have also launched Concrete Batching and Mixing Plants of higher capacity of 60 Cum/hr. which was not there in Universal’s product portfolio earlier.

We along with our partner Zoomlion have launched the High Pressure, High Performance Concrete Pump which can place concrete at height of approximately 220 metre.



What is your current order book position – product wise sale?


Currently our order book is comfortable compared to our existing production capacities. In the Small and Medium capacity equipment sector our growth was not very significant, but we were able to maintain the figures of last year. In the bigger capacity equipment category, our performance was not comfortable compared with our targets, but our growth rate was positive compared to the figures of last year.



What can we expect in terms of launches in 2014? Give us an understanding of the new product features?


We are planning to launch different variants of Concrete Batching Plants which were not manufactured by Universal in the past.

We will also be launching stationary as well as mobile concrete pumps of range, which was not earlier available in our portfolio. These concrete pumps will be newly designed and developed for the Indian market considering both current and future requirements. We will also be launching additional products other than our existing range.



Tell us about the projects where your concrete equipment products are being used?


Our range of small, medium and bigger concrete equipment are being used in most of the big projects being executed in India. To name a few, our bigger concrete batching plants and concrete pumps were used in the construction of major metro rail projects such as Delhi, Mumbai , Bengaluru and Chennai.


What will be your strategy to market your products?


Our strategy for the future is to maintain leadership position in the small and medium equipment category and to establish ourselves with Corporates and medium size clients for bigger concrete equipment. We also have plans of reaching the position of top three bigger equipment manufacturers with total concrete equipment solutions.



You have to work closely with contractors in different projects with different constraints. In what way does this impact on your R&D?


Our R&D team is continuously engaged in the improvement and development of products as per the market demand.  Due to this they are always working very closely with our clients for upgradation of existing products and development of new products. 

We do not consider this as a constraint because we have already received good cooperation from our clients. We invest substantially in R&D. I would say the budgetary allocations to our R&D is comfortable and does not impede our efforts.



What is your outlook for 2014? 


We do not expect any positive changes in the concrete equipment market in the first half of 2014. We expect the concrete equipment market to start opening up in the latter half of 2014. We have planned our activities accordingly. We feel that the concrete equipment market will start growing at a steady pace only from 2015.


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