Malabar Cements has set ambitious plans to drive expansion of the company´s operations and enhance the footprint of its products.
Malabar Cements has firmed up its expansion plans. In its tireless efforts to cement its dominance the company has streamlined its expansion plans. Addressing one of the major challenges of logistics, the company has earmarked a CAPEX of Rs 160 crore for cement and allied materials logistics hub at Cochin Port Trust, to cash in on the sea frontage that Kerala has. Speaking about the expansion plans for the company, PH Kurien, Principal Secretary, Industries and Chairman, Malabar Cements, says, ´Ambitious plans are set to drive the expansion of the company´s operations and enhance the footprint of its products. Logistics forms the biggest challenge for a company like ours. So we have proposed to implement Rs 160-crore cement and allied materials logistics hub at Cochin Port Trust. A seven acre property is planned to be taken on lease to set it up.´ He adds, ´The state government has given a KVAT loan with a four-year holiday to implement the project.´ The new expansion project is expected to bolster the company´s presence in the market and give its products a 25 per cent market share in the state as against the current 10 per cent. This hub is expected to provide addition of cement grinding capacities in both public and private sectors in Kerala.´
Malabar Cements, the first and only portland cement manufacturer in Kerala, set up in1978 with a capital outlay of Rs 680 million and paid up equity capital of Rs 260 million has come a long way. Today, Malabar Cements plays a pivotal role in the developmental process in northern districts of the state by ensuring adequate supply of raw material for construction that forms the backbone of the state´s development itinerary. On an average, the company makes a net profit of around Rs 36 crore annually, before honouring Income tax related commitments by achieving an annual sale of 500,000 MT and a turnover of around Rs 290 crore.
With a production capacity of 4.2 lakh tonne of clinker per annum, Malabar Cements is the largest portland cement manufacturing unit in Kerala. As part of an expansion programme, a 2.50 lakh-tonne clinker-grinding unit was commissioned at Cherthala in Alappuzha district in August 2003, taking the total installed capacity of MCL to 8.1 lakh tonne of cement. However, due to shortage of clinker, the plant was shut down in 2008. Recently, the company was successful in importing clinker through global tendering and trial production has already commenced.
According to K Padmakumar, Managing Director, Malabar Cements, the company has plans to install a facility for pre-calcination to increase clinker production capacity, and also plans to install one more 100 TPH cement mill in Walayar to increase the cement and slag girding capacity. The company has upgraded its plant with state-of-the-art technology over the years. As only 10 per cent of the cement consumption in Kerala is tapped by Malabar Cements, the expansion projects will allow the company to harness the markets beyond the northern districts in Kerala which is its core market segment.
Since its inception, the company has striven to align its operations with the global technological developments which have happened in this sector. The company has, therefore, carried out significant modifications in the system for minimizing energy consumption, and has undertaken pollution control measures, process modifications, etc. MCL is the first public sector company in the state to win both ISO certification and awards for energy conservation.
At Malabar Cements, product improvement is not just a strategy for boosting sales, but marks an unrelenting quest for excellence. Through continuous upgradation of methodologies and fine-tuning of processes the company has constantly striven to improve transparency in procurement, product quality and ensure customer satisfaction. Quality consciousness has been ingrained into the system, into the psyche of every individual who works in the organization. Says Padmakumar, ´Right from pre-blending raw materials, through every process of manufacturing to cement packing, we give attention to the smallest detail, to ensure that quality parameters are strictly followed every step of the way.´ Optimization of processes, productivity and quality is achieved through an efficient system of supply chain management established by the company. A wide network of dealers handles distribution of the products to the end users. This will help in import and distribution of construction sand also.
MCL manufactures cement through the dry process method based on world-renowned German technology. The entire manufacturing process is computer-controlled, ensuring quality and standardization of products. The company has X-ray analysers for better quality control. State-of-the-art pollution control measures like bag filters are installed to prevent adverse impact on environment. Today, the company has three brands, Malabar Super, Malabar Aiswarya and Malabar Classic which cater to different applications and segments.
Making the world a better place, corporate social responsibility is not just philanthropy but is viewed in today´s business scenario as a professional management process with a long-term strategy which aims at inclusive growth of the society. MCL constantly strives to make a difference to the material and social environment around it. Padmakumar says, ´The company has always had a CSR outlook. As part of its social welfare programmes, MCL, even before the new Companies Act came into existence, has devoted to the social upliftment of the surrounding population.´ Five per cent of the company´s bottom line revenues have been earmarked for initiatives that iterate the company´s commitment to society.
The project pivots around the concept of early cancer detection among the marginalised and the poor to improve chances of survival. It targets youth in the age group of 18-20 years in the identified districts of Palakkad, Kozhikode and Malappuram.
The implementation involves organizing mobile detection units through Malabar Cancer Society, cancer detection camps and awareness programmes in rural areas, establishment of pain and palliative care units, etc. Those detected with the disease are referred to Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) and other government medical colleges for free treatment under Cancer Suraksha scheme of KSSM.
This is an initiative in the educational sector. The scheme aims at providing educational and lifestyle support to children in the below poverty line (BPL) segment, who are estranged from their parents. In the first phase, it will target 300 children at the secondary and higher secondary levels.
The scheme focuses on creating a benevolent fund to provide financial assistance to those in the economically backward bracket who have no access to funds to meet their emergency medical needs, in critical and life threatening situations. The taluk and district hospitals in Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts and the Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode will be covered under this scheme.
Golden a Crescent project
This programme envisages upgradation of infrastructure and health care and support systems in NGOs in around seven local panchayaths and muncipalities around Malabar Cements. The project also envisages capacity building in geriatric care and also vocational training in organisations registered under the Orphanage Control Board. The outlay in the company budget is Rs 45 lakh. This initiative is based on a research study done in the vicinity of MCL, the findings of which were presented as a paper jointly authored by Padmakumar and Sr. Tessin Munatty, SABS, in the International Conference on Elderly Care held at Thiruvananthapuram in April 2014.
Emergency Care Unit in Walayar
There are no emergency medicine-cum-trauma care centres in the 50 km stretch in NH-47 between Palakkad and Coimbatore. This gap will be addressed by yet another CSR initiative of Malabar Cements under a collaborative scheme. Apart from its social commitments, environment figures high on MCL´s CSR plan. In its efforts towards greening the environment, the company has planned various types of afforestation, horticulture and tree planting programmes.
Periodic modernization programmes of its plants are also conducted to minimize impact on environment during production. All these go a long way in establishing Malabar Cements Ltd not only as one of the most successful enterprises in the state, but also as a professional enterprise that has cemented a union of success and social responsibility in equal measure in its corporate culture.