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“We Deliver Products which Exceed Customer’s Expectations”
By: Pragun Jindal Khaitan
We had a conversation with Pragun Jindal Khaitan Managing Director, Jindal Aluminium Limited & he spoke about the company’s major milestones, their products and production facilities, latest prestigious architectural projects, and more. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Please tell us about your company Jindal Aluminium Limited (JAL)? How long have you been in the extrusion business and in the Indian market?
Established in 1968 with a humble beginning, and one extrusion press, the company today is a market leader in aluminium extrusions with 11 presses of various sizes with an installed capacity of 1, 20,000 MT per year. Jindal Aluminium Limited is the first extrusion company in the secondary sector. In the year 2012, the company diversified into flat-rolled products with a capacity of 40,000 tonnes per annum. The company is manufacturing aluminium flatrolled products in various alloys. We are also producing circles, roofing sheets, foils, SRC/PP Cap, etc. Today, we are the second largest producers of flat-rolled products in the country.
JAL Plant – Front view
To meet our energy requirements, we have also installed 50 MW of wind power projects in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh besides, 30 MW of solar power project in Karnataka which is sufficient for our captive use and the extra power is transmitted to the state grid. By using renewable sources (wind and solar), we have reduced our dependence on thermal energy which requires fossil fuels like coal and diesel. We continuously strive to deliver to our customers a product which exceeds their expectations at a price which represents value for their money.
Tell us briefly about JAL’s journey in the extrusion business over the years, also about your major success stories?
Press conveyor belt, P6, Plant – 1
The company started with a production capacity of 5,000 tonnes per annum in the year 1967. We achieved production of 12,000 tonnes in 1984 which was highest by any extrusion manufacturer in India at that time. Thereafter, we never looked back and ramped up our capacities constantly and produced 85,490 tonnes last year which is again the highest production of aluminium extrusion by any manufacturer in India. The second largest manufacturer of extrusions after us is way behind and producing around 40,000 tonnes of extrusions yearly.
The company will retain its leadership through continuous investment by ramping up its capacity from time to time. It is a matter of pride that today Jindal Aluminium caters to more than 25% of total extrusion production in the country. We are also the second largest producer of flatrolled products in the country.
Please tell us about the extrusion business for façade and fenestration market?
Extrusion Presses at various plants
Globally, the major use of extrusion is in building and constructions. Being a large extrusion company, we are not oblivious to this and work closely with our customers in modifying the designs of façade and fenestration which is best suited for their functional needs. We have many customised solutions for our customers and our large die library contains most of the common designs of windows, doors. However, for any special designs, our tool shop is fully equipped to make dies quickly to suit their requirements.
Almost 60% of our sales are in the building and construction industry for facades and fenestration. All reputed fabricators of facades of the country are our regular customers. Our products are preferred by all fabricators over other manufacturers due to better quality, on time deliveries and impeccable service.
Where are your products manufactured? Tell us about your manufacturing facilities?
We have two extrusions plants and both are in Bengaluru, Tumkur Road. The flat-rolled products plant is also in Bengaluru. Both the plants are situated on Tumkur Road within a distance of 35 km from each other. We have 11 extrusion presses of different capacities, the smallest being 750 tonnes and the largest one is of 4,000 tonnes.
With such a wide range of extrusion presses, we can produce an extrusion of diameter as low as 3 mm and as big as 300 mm. Depending on the design, we can deliver maximum width of 450 mm which no other manufacturer in India can supply.
Such a wide range of production lines equipped to extrude all sizes and in all kinds of hard alloys, such as 6005, 6082, 6061, 6262, 3003, 3004, 2014, 2024, 7075 is what sets us apart from others.
Could you please tell us about a few of your latest prestigious architectural projects?
RMZ Ecoworld, Bengaluru
We are associated with most of the developers, builders and architects for their requirements and you will find Jindal extrusions in most of the prestigious projects. For the sake of confidentiality and space, we can’t list all the names, but to name a few big ones: Omkar 1873, Mumbai; Godrej BKC, Mumbai; Intel, Bangalore; Goldman Sachs, Bangalore; Amara Raja G2 Hospital, Hyderabad; Embassy One, Bangalore; Bagmane Tech Park, Bangalore; RMZ, Sky View, Oracle, ESIC Hospital at various places; I Gate, Bangalore; AIIMS at Delhi, Chandigarh & Raipur; Indira Canteens in Bengaluru, and and many more. Almost all reputed projects have one thing in common; that is, they use Jindal aluminium extrusions.
How do you see the extrusion business evolving in India?
The per capita consumption of the extrusions in India is one of the lowest in the world. Wood and steel had been the preferred choice of Indian customers for doors and windows. It was only in early 2000 that Indian customers confronted with many modern designing and coating requirements started realising the quality of aluminium extrusions. The share of aluminium extrusions in B&C started growing rapidly with rising disposable incomes.
We can see many aesthetically built structures designed by foreign architects around us which is fuelling the demand further for extrusions in façade and fenestration and with that Indian façade and fenestration sector is also evolving but we have still a long way to go if we compare us with developed countries.
What has been your organization’s contribution in bringing about the current revolution in the façade and fenestration sector?
Night shot of Intel’s Sarjapur Ring Road Building 3 (SRR3), a new office building in Bengaluru
JAL has contributed considerably to the façade and fenestration sector by developing new designs with reputed architects, fabricators and builders. We have capacity in developing an intricate and complicated design in shortest possible time. As mentioned above, JAL meets 25% of the country’s requirement of aluminium extrusions. Hence most of the builders and fabricators approach us for developing new dies in a short time. We deliver customised extrusions for façade and fenestration. Regularly we keep displaying our customised products for B&C in exhibitions in India and abroad and also educate the customers about benefits of aluminium over other substitutes.
What are the advantages of extrusion products from Jindal Aluminium Limited have over its competitors?
Our company offers many advantages to the customer over our competitors. We have the widest range, better surface quality; better properties, the dimensional accuracy which are more stringent than what is required normally and of course quick delivery which is faster than customers’ expectations are some of the main strengths of our company.
Of course, we do have to compromise a bit on the cost to meet these high-quality standards, but we don’t mind that when our customers are delighted. As a result, we have many customers so loyal, amidst present cut-throat competitive environment, who have kept Jindal as their only source for meeting their requirement continuously for 25-30 years.
What do you see as the main challenges faced by the extrusion industry?
We perceive uPVC products are the main threat to the aluminium industry. This is a well-known fact that uPVC products are not environmentally friendly and has a much shorter life compared to aluminium, but some builders prefer the same since it can be assembled at the site in short time. Aluminium Association of India needs to create a public awareness about the environmental hazard of uPVC windows and its low durability. Unfortunately, Aluminium Association of India does not take any step to promote aluminium in India.
The only activity AAI does is to pursue with the Government for increasing import duty or for imposing safeguard duty on aluminium metal for the benefit of primary producers. Hence, it is known as Primary Producers Association for Aluminium.
Besides, the high price of aluminium due to high import duty is another factor which is driving customers to try some cheaper alternatives. The primary producers out of their greed for more profits keep pressurising the government for increasing the import duty on aluminium. With the result, the prices of aluminium keep going up regularly. From April this year, the price of aluminium metal has gone up by 15%.
Import of downstream products including extrusion at a cheaper price from China is another challenge to the extrusion industry in India. The government of China gives an incentive of 13% for exporting downstream products which makes Chinese products cheaper than the cost of Indian manufacturers, the government needs to increase the import duty on downstream products in India to stop this unfair dumping.
Raw material and downstream products have the same rate of import duty in India which is not so in any other country. The import duty on raw materials should always be minimum and the downstream products should be higher. If this principle is followed, the extrusion industry will flourish in India also.
Tell us about your channel expansion strategies in the market.
We have more than 125 channel partners throughout the country in all the major cities who are instrumental in making Jindal profiles available in every nook and corner of the country. Almost 60% of our production is sold through our channel partners. Depending on the demand we keep increasing the channel partners in a particular city. Balance 40% of our sales is to actual users and in exports. Of late, due to increasing demand and advent of demanding customers who prefer to deal directly with the company, our share for actual users is increasing but our channel partners will always remain our major stakeholders.
Where do you see your company and the industry in 2020?
In the immediate future, we have plans to invest in a large-sized aluminium extrusions press which will increase our capacity to 1,60,000 MT per annum. The government has ambitious plans to improve the much needed infrastructure of the country. Metro rail, bullet trains, smart cities, new airports which are being planned throughout the country will boost consumption of aluminium extrusions.
To meet this burgeoning demand, we have plans to install a 6,000 tonnes extrusion press by 2020 which will increase our production capacity to 160,000 tonnes per annum. This will be the largest press in India using billets of 16” diameter which will produce large-sized extrusions and harder alloys required in aerospace and defence where private investment will boost demand of profiles required for the segment. Considering all this, a large-sized press becomes necessary.
Supported by our customers, Jindal Aluminium will keep growing but our motto which is to deliver the best quality products at an economical price to our customers is what will remain close to our hearts, always.
Pragun Jindal Khaitan
Pragun Jindal Khaitan, the Managing Director of Jindal Aluminium Limited, joined the family business in 2013 after majoring in finance and strategic management from the Wharton School of Business of University of Pennsylvania. He focuses on all the company's business verticals, including aluminium extrusions, aluminium rolling, renewable energy and health care. Under the tutelage of one of the finest experts in the aluminium extrusion industry, Dr. S. R. Jindal, Chairman of Jindal Aluminium, Pragun Jindal Khaitan honed his skills in administration of large business and has behind him a proven track record. During this tenure, the overall business turnover of the company has shown a marked jump in revenues crossing Rs.2500 crore mark in a short span of time. He keeps abreast with the latest technology in the field and has guided the company for making huge investments towards technology upgradation and capacity expansion. Khaitan has played a vital role in the company’s position as India’s largest player in aluminium extrusion manufacturing.