Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Interview - Deepak Kanitkar (Chembond Chemicals Limited)

Bonding with the best



Chembond Chemicals Limited, established in 1975, is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of specialty performance chemicals in the country. DEEPAK KANITKAR, GENERAL MANAGER – TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, CHEMBOND CHEMICALS LIMITED offers ANUJA ABRAHAM a peek into the business.




Tell us about your product portfolio? How big is your construction chemicals business in India?


Chembond Chemicals  is a diversified chemical company and our main business is in India. Our group manufactures a variety of products that range from metal treatment, water treatment, construction chemicals, coatings and biotechnology, paper and textile chemicals. Apart from that we also trade in raw materials. Our construction chemicals division caters to larger infra projects as well as retail segment through our brand K-Fix. This is generally through our countrywide distributor and applicator network. We manufacture a complete range of chemical products like concrete admixtures, waterproofing products, repair products, grouting, joint sealing, tiling and surface treatment products.



Please name some of your clients and projects you are associated with?


We are supplying to major Indian brands like Gammon India, Unity, Reliance, Birla Group of Companies. We are involved in a lot of infrastructure projects like roads, tunneling, hydro power projects and thermal power projects. Currently we are supplying to two major road projects, and in thermal power sector we are supplying to a project in Karnataka. We are also supplying to Reliance’s Jamnagar Project.




Give us an overview about your product development?


We are constantly improving our existing product range. We have a strong R&D lab at our Vadodara factory and we have quality control labs all across the country. When we launch a new product, we send samples to the customers and obtain their feedback on it. If the customers are satisfied with the product, we launch it in the market and if not, then we take it back to our labs, modify it, re-test it and then launch it.




What are the new launches for 2014?


We have launched a new product called KEM INJECT OXIDAMP-C, which is a good solution for rising dampness in the building. We have also launched KEM PROOF 90 which is a new chemistry in integral waterproofing. We have reduced the dosage requirement to half that of the conventional product and it gives the same performance. Other latest development is that we have launched a aqueous based anti-carbonation coating KEM PROOF ULTIMATE. Products like Kem Super Grout UW, Kem Inject UWEP, Kem Grout EP5 are launched for under water repair and Kem Mortar FS, Kem Epoxy Grout ELV and Kem Mortar EP1 are designed for quick repairs of roads and bridges.




Do you perceive the entry of small scale industries in the specialised construction chemicals area as a threat?


There will always be new entrants in this business. There are some issues related to pricing. But in terms of quality, service and new technology, the small scale players have clear disadvantage.



With the entry of a lot of MNCs in this segment, how has your company positioned itself in the market?


The market is open and we believe there is space for everyone. At the same time we have trust in our R&D abilities and our distributor network. We have formed strategic partnerships with international players for better positioning. Recently, we got associated with an Australian company for their patented pile jacketing system, particularly for marine repairs in India. We are also associated with ADEKA Japan for distributing Hydroswellable water stops in the country.




What are the major challenges faced by your company?


The major challenge is not about getting business, but getting the money back. It is about the financial status of the infrastructure clients and to a certain extent, the market sentiment. The vicious cycle of underpricing, compromised quality and project delays have all lead to a liquidity crunch. Pricing in such a market becomes another dilemma. There is a constant rise in input costs due to various reasons but the same can be recovered from the buyers. This makes balancing revenues and margins a tough task.




What are the main growth drivers for your company?


Infrastructure growth plays a major factor for us. With infrastructure expected to be given a lot of emphasis by the new government, a lot of projects may start soon. Besides road projects, we are also supplying to power projects and irrigation projects. There is a constant focus on residential housing sector too. Last year we introduced  KEM PROOF 86, an exterior elastomeric waterproof coating and KEM PROOF 87,  roof elastomeric waterproof coating which are now being widely accepted in the market.


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