Ambuja Cements completes Sankrail expansion project
In May 2016, Martin Kriegner, Head of Lafarge Holcim - India Operations and member of the Board of Directors for Ambuja Cements inaugurated the augmented Sankrail Grinding Unit in Howrah, West Bengal. Ambuja´s Sankrail Grinding Unit is strategically located about 25 km from Kolkata and was commissioned in the year 2001 with a grinding capacity of 1.2 million tonne per annum. This included two ball mills of capacity 92 tonnes per hour, two packers of capacity 180 tonnes per hour and a manual wagon loading system.
Due to the plants´ proximity to prime markets and increasing demand resulting into higher dispatches over the years, the plant capacity was increased to 1.5 million tonne per annum in the year 2010. With the recent expansion the capacity has touched 2.4 million tonne per annum.
While inaugurating the expanded project, Kriegner said, ¨To meet the demand of the eastern market and enhance customer orientation in the competitive market of West Bengal and increasing supply to the nearby states of Orissa and Jharkhand by optimising the overall regional logistics cost, a capacity addition of 0.90 million tonne per annum of PPC cement at Sankrail was envisaged. I am sure this expansion will address the expectations of customers in the eastern markets in India.¨
The Sankrail plant´s expansion unfolded as a brownfield project in November 2012 with an investment plan of Rs 338 crore. The project included installation of ThyssenKrupp Roller pressure of capacity 140 tonnes per hour in Cement Mill-1, increasing the capacity to 235 tonnes per hour in combo grinding, two additional packers of capacity 240 tonnes per hour, a mechanised cement rake loading system and an additional railway line network.
Ambuja Cement has recently launched its super specialty cement, ´Ambuja Plus-Roof Special´, in the specialised segment of the cement market. Ambuja Plus -Roof Special is a special quality PPC cement with advanced SPE technology. It extracts 100 per cent of silicate gel from cement that helps in making the concrete stronger, denser and leak-proof, resulting in strengthening of the roof.
Speaking on the occasion, Ajay Kapur, MD & CEO - Ambuja Cements Limited said, ¨I am sure that the unit with additional capacity will help us to cater to our customers faster, resulting in higher value proposition combined with the unbreakable strength of the Ambuja brand.¨
Dalmia Bharat Foundation to impart vocational training through NSD
In line with the Prime Minister´s Skill India programme and Dalmia Bharat Foundation´s (www.dalmiabharatfoundation.org) focus on Corporate Social Responsibility, the company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) (www.nsdcindia.org) to impart vocational training and skills to 60,000 unemployed youth across the country. The MoU stands for a 10-year commitment, during which vocational training will be imparted to benefit the country´s youth across various sectors i.e., apparel, beauty and wellness, retail, auto, healthcare, construction, agriculture, security, plumbing and servicing capital goods. Some of the job roles identified under these sectors are that of a fitter, instrumentation mechanic, electrician, etc. The duration of these training programmes will vary from three to six months. Upon successful completion, trainees will receive a certificate from NSDC/Sector Skills Councils (SSCs). The first year of partnership will see three training centres at Trichy, Rourkela and Belgaum, that will roll out skill training for local youth. Dalmia Bharat Foundation´s overall targets is to set up a network of eight Livelihood Skills Training Centres at Tamil Nadu (Trichy), Andhra Pradesh (Kadapa), Karnataka (Belgaum), Uttar Pradesh (Sitapur), Assam (Guwahati), Odisha (Rourkela and Cuttack) and Jharkhand (Bokaro). In addition to these new facilities, existing ITIs at Dalmiapuram and Rajganjpur and one handloom-cum-weaving training centre at Umrongso (Assam) will also be leveraged.
The National Skill Development Corporation, through its skill ecosystem, will ensure that the courses that run in these centres are all aligned to the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF), which is a competency-based framework that organises all qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude. NSDC will ensure quality training and managements of the structured skill development programme.
Applauding the partnership, Gautam Dalmia, Managing Director, Dalmia Bharat Group said ¨Knowledge sharing and skill upgradation is one of our key focus areas. Our partnership with NSDC has enabled us to design new vocational training and skill building programmes which have a direct bearing on employment. This joint programme will help in bridging the employability gap and creating a specialised, skilled workforce.¨
Appreciating the joint initiative, Jayant Krishna, CEO, NSDC said, ¨Collaboration is the mainstay of any significant developmental initiative and strategic partnership towards achievement of national goals like those of Skill India. Corporates are now stepping up their roles with integrated and sustainable CSR programmes and we see strong contributions from the industry now. We are happy to join hands with Dalmia Bharat Foundation on the skills agenda and jointly extend opportunities to the youth so that they can add to their personal as well as to the country´s economic growth. I hope many other corporates find this as a motivation and invest in our country´s youth through skill development.¨
Growth will come from east and north: HM Bangur, Shree Cement
ET NOW was in conversation with H N Bangur, Managing Director, Shree Cement. We capture some of the salient points of the conversation for our readers.
The programme acknowledged that at times, Shree Cement has performed better than its peers. Bangur expected volume growth to be around 12.5 per cent. A major portion of the growth will come from east as well as north, he said.
On pricing, Bangur said that no cement company has pricing power. Suddenly, if the monsoon is good (which is expected), rural incomes will rise. Hence, Bangur sees better prices ahead. He said that the pricing power depends on the economic growth of the country, and as it is expected to be 7.5 per cent or 7.7 per cent, he expects a 9 per cent demand growth for the cement industry. He said that Shree Cement would grow about 1.5 times the industry average.
On capacity utilisation, Bangur said that current capacity utilisation of his company is around 75 per cent. He felt that if plants run at a higher capacity utilisation, then they could run out of commodity during the peak season. Bangur´s aim is never to run at higher capacity and he is in favour of average capacity utilisation of 75 per cent. He is confident of adding more capacity as soon as this level is reached.
Regarding the Chhattisgarh expansion, Bangur said that it was a second kiln for the company and a brownfield project, pushing down the cost of putting up the unit. He added that the company´s first unit in Chhattisgarh, which was put into operation about one year back, is being fully utilised. That´s the reason why Shree Cement would be needing more capacity.
Shree Cement has commissioned capacities very quickly in the past. Bangur said that the company would commission the added capacity by December or January next year.
On future expansions, the company is not looking at any inorganic growth. Bangur felt that inorganic growth is normally very successful when markets have matured and no more capacity is needed. He said that in India, because the market is growing at a good rate, it can support new capacities. So only changing hands of the capacity will not add anything new, said Bangur, since it is only changing the control. He said that he wants to put up new units which India can sustain.
On the power business, Bangur said that Shree Cement is primarily a cement company. The company had put up an efficient power plant (of 150 MW x 2 capacity) for its captive use. Though Shree Cement has sold some power in the market in the past, Bangur emphasised that the company was not going to move into the power business anymore. The primary focus will be only on the cement industry, he said.
India Cements brings new products to the market
The N Srinivasan-led India Cements Ltd (ICL) has quietly embarked on a fresh initiative to launch a host of new products. The objective, it is learnt, is to further strengthen its relationship with the distribution network and beef up the business prospects of its channel partners.
With this twin objective in mind, the company has also decided to extend requisite technical support to its stockists and dealers in marketing these new products. ¨This will go a long way in strengthening their bondage with the company besides increasing their commitment,¨ a ranking official said.
As part of this exercise, the company has launched Coromandel SRC, a sulphate-resistant, specialty blended cement meant for construction in aggressive environments (like coastal areas). This is being manufactured at its Vishnupuram plant in Telangana. SRC, it is claimed, will improve the performance of concrete in the event of sulphate attacks. It has also launched Coromandel Duralite Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) blocks, which are made from cement, fly ash, lime and alumina, an aeration agent. ACC blocks, the official said, could be an excellent substitute for conventional clay bricks, hollow and solid concrete block. These could help in faster construction, he pointed out. The company has also started selling Cormomandel White Cement, produced at its grinding unit in Chennai.