Uhere is a big shift towards high-capacity machines and we are gearing up to cater to future demands at Universal, says Rajesh Kawoor, Vice President, (Concrete Business), Universal Construction Machinery. Excerpts from the interview.
What the present scenario as regards the RMC sector?
For quite some time, there have been no new projects and the overall market is quite sluggish; the RMC sector has also witnessed a slump and growth has been flat compared to last year. We don´t expect anything positive at least for the next six months.
Some of the cement majors are trying to invest in more plants, especially in Tier two and Tier three cities. What are your comments?
Yes, they are trying to expand, taking into consideration the expected growth in the future. A lot of projects have already been sanctioned but the market is sluggish because the funds are not coming forth.
Have you come out with any new equipment launches for the RMC sector?
At Excon 2013, we launched bigger capacity batching plants. Earlier, we were doing only 20 and 30 cu m batching plants. So we have widened our product basket, introduced 60 cu m batching plants and will be coming out with 90 and 120 cu m batching plants. We have also launched bigger capacity concrete pumps machine capable of pumping more than 200 m.
From the OEMs` point of view, what are the basic challenges you face in terms of growth of the RMC sector?
The major challenge we face is in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, where the customer has to be educated about the latest machines and technology available. Since we have a pan- India network, we are already in the process of educating them and have also been successfully running a training centre in association with CIDC, where we train operators and technicians and make them skilled operators.
Has the current tax structure adversely impacted the setting up of new RMC plants?
For big projects, I don´t think that is an issue. But yes, there is a negative impact, especially for small projects, as it is getting very difficult to put up their own batching plants. If they are buying from RMC players, then due to taxation, the costs escalate. The government needs to come out with some incentive schemes, especially for small customers.
What is the potential in the hiring segment for RMC equipment?
There is a huge potential especially for concrete pumps and transit mixers in the hiring segment. In matured overseas markets, the major buyers of RMC equipment is from the hiring sector, whereas in India, it´s the other way around.
But now the trend is picking up because in the last couple of years, we have seen a lot of hiring companies showing interest. Even small players are also trying to invest money in the hiring sector.
At Universal, we help develop a lot of hiring companies. If some person is interested in starting a rental or hiring business, we train them, we explain to them how the business runs. We try to bring in more entrepreneurs into the hiring sector and we also tie up with hiring companies.