Next 10 years will offer India the greatest opportunity

  • Interviews
  • Mar 02,23
Started in 1958, APAR Industries Ltd over the years has grown into a diversified company supplying products and solutions to over 140 countries. Today, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of aluminium and alloy conductor, the third largest transformer oil manufacturer and offers a wide range of speciality and renewable cables in India. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Kushal Desai, CMD, APAR Industries, elaborates on how the company has grown over the years by developing pr
Next 10 years will offer India the greatest opportunity

Heading a conglomerate that has interests in segments like conductors, transmission cables, speciality oils, polymers and lubricants, what are your priorities for APAR at present? ?
APAR has pioneered the development, innovation and manufacturing of many first-in-India products and technologies. In the relentless search of creating an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, we have emerged as one of the world's largest aluminium and alloy conductor manufacturer, the third largest transformer oil manufacturer and proudly offering the largest range of speciality and renewable cables in India. Consistent growth in these diversified verticals has propelled us to become a billion-dollar conglomerate with our products installed in over 140 countries.

With our motto of delivering ‘Tomorrow's Solutions Today’, we are always focused on serving our cutomers and powering them to leverage their assests at optimal levels. Our range of cutting-edge house wires (APAR Anushakti), batteries (ARKOS) and auto-lubricants (Eni) are further expanding the horizon and bringing innovative solutions to every consumer. These products are custom made for powering every Indian and every house with exceptional quality products and services launched for the first time in the country. At APAR, we have always placed priority on providing achieving sustainable growth with equal importance on ESG and CSR.

How have various business units of APAR evolved over time? How are you gearing to tap the new opportunities in each of these business segments?
Since 1958, APAR has been relentlessly contributing to the power sector by manufacturing and supplying quality conductors to enhance the transmission and distribution of electricity in India. APAR started with humble beginnings 11 years after independence by Shri Dharmsinh Dadubhai Desai, a visionary entrepreneur, freedom fighter, and servant of the nation. He envisioned significant growth in the power sector for the betterment of the nation and thus embarked on the journey to build APAR Industries.His ideologies was passed on and followed by the next generations of the family. Dr Narendra Desai, who joined APAR in 1964, ventured into one of the most critical components in a power generation, transmission and distribution system, the manufacturing of transformer oil business.

Today with the reins of the company is in the hands of the third generation, my brother and Managing Director of APAR, Chaitanya Desai, and I have further diversified and expanded the business, serving different verticals, including speciality cables, lubricants, speciality automotive and polymers. Moreover, with the new entrance of fourth generation, the millennials are taking the company to international markets with the support of digital and strategic initiatives.

How are massive capital investments in infrastructure, power, railways/metros, defence, electric vehicles, defence, renewable energy, modernisation of industries, etc leading to increase in demand for APAR's products and solutions?
As announced by the finance minister, this union budget is the foundation and blueprint of the economy for 'Amrit Kaal', for the next 25 years – from India at 75 to 100. With a major focus on R&D for sunrise sectors, sustainable solutions, and technological advancements in this budget, we are also looking forward to a growth-driven economy in the future.

The ‘Gati Shakti’ platform itself is a significant example. The budget will also focus on laying the foundation for rolling out 5G spectrums, laying out optical fibre and enabling easy availability of broadband services in rural areas. This will be an added boost for the wire and cable industries.

For energy transmission, the focus lies on clean and sustainable energy. As India's economic growth is estimated to be 9.2 percent in the upcoming financial year, we can expect a push towards more investments and a renewed focus on Atmanirbhar Bharat.

What are your views on the present status of the Indian manufacturing industry?
India's manufacturing industry has incredible potential to place the country on the global manufacturing map, concurrently boosting several employment opportunities for India's youth and supporting the re-emergence of India's manufacturing industry. With all global eyes on India, our government's decision to a massive capital outlay in infrastructure, green growth and tech-enabled projects is a step in the right direction to make India one of the manufacturing engines of the world.

What factors will propel the growth of the Indian manufacturing sector in the coming years?
There is an unprecedented opportunity as China Plus One manufacturing strategy takes hold. All the industries will now have the highest conviction to diversify its supplier base which will bring in other countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Middle East to compete for this opportunity.

For APAR and India, the opportunity remains vital with better, faster, cheaper paradigm remains at the core, with the new rightful addition of ‘greener’. Our supply chain will become flexible, more responsive and technology-intensive with time. With the application of Industry 4.0, India is achieving higher productivity output with lower energy intensity. At APAR we are committed to technology-based solutions, and with the adoption of quality systems like Six Sigma, every inch is produced with the same consistency.

The third important factor that will affect the growth of the Indian manufacturing sector is the adoption of ESG. Climate Change is real, and ESG is here to stay. Companies should care more about how their processes will affect the planet long term.

With sustainability becoming important for global businesses, what kind of challenges and opportunities it presents to the Indian engineering industry?
In the past decade, the demand for renewable energy alternatives has been steadily increasing amongst industries and individual consumers who are beginning to care more about how products and services will affect the planet long term. Due to this rapid change, companies are beginning to incorporate sustainable practices within their production and distribution. In the current economic climate, a company's willingness to adapt to the demand of current market trends and adopt a green mentality may 'make or break' their overall success.

Although APAR started its sustainability journey in April 2021, over the past several years, we have made significant progress in the areas of environmental performance, energy conservation and improved safety considerations in our product design feature. Our eminent ESG initiatives include setting the foundation for water conservation, reducing the consumption of fossil fuel based grid energy, and augmenting the rainwater harvesting capacities for sustainable water security at our various plants. Additionally, we have entered a definitive agreement with a leading supplier to jointly develop a hybrid power project (solar wind hybrid) under the captive group model. This initiative will significantly reduce our requirement for grid-based electricity and GHG emissions by approximately 10.000 tCO2e per annum at the Khatalwada plant.

India is third largest producer of electricity worldwide, with a target of 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030. With new Renewable Purchase Obligations – DISCOM's mandatorily need to purchase renewable power resulting in huge development for transformation from fossil fuel based energy to renewable energy, so the cable market will naturally grow in synchronisation with the power industry. Further to this, Rs 19500 crore for solar PLI Scheme and 449 ongoing projects are there worth $ 181.86 billion, which will open up significantly the demand for sustainable and eco-friendly cables.

What is your "Vision 2025" for the Indian manufacturing sector?
The next 10 years offers India the greatest opportunity I have not seen in my 34 years of work life. However, the operating environment, as mentioned earlier, will be very different, very challenging and dynamic as we contend with China plus one, better faster cheaper, ESG – climate change related regulation and volatility.

My "Vision 2025" is to remain relevant for not just the next two years but for next two decades. Automation, higher efficiency, stricter emission and disposal standards and higher safety standards will define the way we operate. As regulation changes, and customers expectations increase, lies the opportunity for providing unique solutions to differentiate our offerings from competitors and measure our own progress with those of our customers.

What are your long and short term growth plans for your company in India?
R&D is the bedrock of our organisation and is driven by our mission statement, "To design and manufacture Building Blocks for Energy Infrastructure, Transportation and Telecommunication Sectors that contribute meaningfully to make this world more energy efficient, environmentally sustainable and a safer place."

Backed by extensive R&D facilities and a strong research team, our products are specially developed as import substitutes to "Make In India". At the same time, we are always searching for new global requirements, energy saving and sustainability. Solving real business problems for our customers and energy problems.

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