Ujjwal Batria, CEO, Nuvoco Vistas Corp Ltd, believes that combating the shortage of coarse and fine aggregates; technology of sintering fly ash has already been developed and is in place.
Kindly introduce Nuvoco Vistas Corp as a producer of cement, concrete and aggregates. Also, please give us the geographical spread of your products.
Nuvoco Vistas Corp Ltd (formerly Lafarge India Limited) is a leading manufacturer and seller of building materials. The company has a vision to build a safer, smarter and more sustainable world. We do so by providing innovative and best-in-class products and services for home building as well as infrastructure projects. We have been a part of the Indian construction landscape since 1999 through our offerings in cement, ready-mix concrete (RMX) and aggregates. We have an installed capacity of 10.92 MTPA with six cement plants in Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and West Bengal; and a pan-India presence in the RMX business; with close to 70 plants across the country.
Our brands enjoy high recall and are a preferred choice for our customers. In eastern, central and North India; Nuvoco is a leading cement player with products like Concreto, Duraguard, Duraguard MF, Infracem, ProWall, PSC and Zero M Water-Proofing Compound. While Artevia, Agilia, Mega Series, and InstaMix, from our RMX portfolio, have carved themselves a niche in the local markets. We partner with local developers to provide innovative solutions and make various stages of construction simpler, faster and more affordable. In addition to supporting individual home building requirements; Nuvoco also provides products and solutions for large undertakings. We are part of some of the most prestigious projects in the country like the Noida, Jaipur and Mumbai Metro projects; to name a few.
How do you view the cement and aggregate industry in the next 10 years?
The building materials segment is expected to grow with the increase in demand for housing as well as the Government’s thrust on infrastructure. The Smart Cities Mission, along with the affordable housing and interest rate subvention schemes, is expected to drive demand for this sector. One of the main reasons for the growth of demand for building materials in India is the sudden expansion of major projects – industrial parks, technological business and residential hubs – which is also attracting international firms to throw their hats into the ring.
How strong is your customer service? What are its USPs?
An important tool that individual home builders (IHBs) lack is easy access to technical expertise. In our bid to ease the process of construction and provide innovative solutions; Nuvoco has set up an in-house technical service team, comprising of trained civil engineers. These engineers visit IHB projects and sites on a regular basis offering customised solutions that include pre- and post-construction tips along with on-site consultation services.
We have introduced mobile vans, which are equipped with testing gear like slump cone and rebound hammer for non-destructive testing of concrete; and manned by members of the technical service team. These mobile vans also offer specialised tests to determine the suitability of products on various applications and can cover two-to-three districts in a day; depending on the requirement.
Service on Wheels (SOW) is another unique complementary facility that we provide, by which the technical service team travels on a two-wheeler retrofitted with a small equipment box. It is a first-of-its-kind service to be offered in this industry that enables us to reach out to IHB customers located in highly congested areas within a city. Furthermore, we have been conducting awareness and training programmes for masons, IHBs and even for our RMX customer sites at regular intervals to better acquaint them with good and safe construction practices, which are sorely lacking in this segment even today.
Brief us on the brand transition from Lafarge to Nuvovo.
The name Lafarge had a brand equity that had been built over a period of time. During our transition that started over a year ago, and which still continues; we were careful to ensure that the values and worth that was associated with our legacy name continued to the new organisation. Commencing with our employees; right up to our channel partners, distributors and customers; everyone was kept apprised of developments as soon as they occurred. All their queries and apprehensions were considered and addressed with respect. The leadership team led from the front, and was visible and accessible at all times. All of us together ensured that a change in the name did not imply a change in the quality of products and services that we offer. Our new promoters lay a lot of emphasis on organisational growth and improvement; and committed to best in class quality of products and continuous innovation.
Our customers and channel partners have seen their faith in us being reprised considering Nuvoco employees a majority of the people who formed Lafarge India. We have launched new products and services during our transition phase, which have been well-accepted; and we continue to maintain open relations with all our stakeholders; both internal and external. Quality, along with Trust, Innovation and Safety, are the pillars of our organisation. Our customers can continue to expect the same level of quality, dedication and innovation from us that they have come to expect over the years. Products like Concreto, PSC, Duraguard, InstaMix, and so on; belong to Nuvoco and will form the cornerstone of our organisation as we move forward in building our
What are your expansion plans?
Nuvoco already offers a wide range of innovative and best-in-class products and services across cement, RMX and aggregates for home building as well as infrastructure projects. Our brands enjoy high recall and are a preferred choice for our customers. In Eastern, Central and North India, Nuvoco is a leading cement player with products like Concreto, a versatile and premium slag cement, and considered a GOLD STANDARD within the industry; PSC, or the Original Jojobera premium slag cement; renowned for its strength, shine and smooth finish; and Duraguard MicroFiber; a new entrant; but which has already started making its mark. Duraguard MicroFiber is a PPC enhanced with a unique microfiber technology that results in structures with high strength, damp resistance and minimal cracks.
In RMX, we have a wide range of offerings that can be customised to most needs. For instance, products like Artevia, our range of decorative concrete that combines freedom of design with low maintenance and durability; and Agilia, whose free-flowing and self-consolidating properties eliminates the need for vibration and allow easy placement; thereby reducing the number of pour points on a worksite. We also have InstaMix; a range of world-class, ready-to-use concrete and mortar that is available in bags and delivered straight to the job site. It is an ideal replacement for site mix in congested localities. We are a leading organised player in the aggregates space, and assure high quality of materials and complete security of supply through our completely automated systems.
In addition to this nearly comprehensive range of products; we also recognise the dynamic nature of the construction industry. Our Construction Development and Innovation Centre, located in Mumbai, is where the innovation takes place. Our team works closely with players like architects, builders, research institutes to understand and address the industry’s evolving needs. InstaMix and our range of cement products are all local innovations, which meet local requirements; and we are continually working to develop and bring more of such innovations to market.
What technological changes you foresee in the near future in the infrastructure sector?
Most of the building materials used are non-renewable, and with the current global pace of construction; we will soon face a serious scarcity of construction materials. At this juncture, technology will play an important role; as with aggregates. Combating the shortage of coarse and fine aggregates; technology of sintering fly ash has already been developed and is in place. The need is to consciously use it for lower grades of concretes; so as to liberate the natural aggregates for higher grades of concrete.
What is your prime focus – retail business or institutional?
We are interested and present in all categories – from home building to infrastructure – and we are happy to work with retail establishments as well as institutional businesses (government related) that contribute to building a smarter, safer and more sustainable nation.
What is the market size of decorative concretes in India? How it is shaping up?
The current decorative concrete industry size in India is about 70-80 lakh sq ft (approximately 80,000 to 90,000 m3) a year. It is a growing industry in India because many customers are now seeking durable solutions with design flexibility for their exterior flooring. By 2020, this industry is expected to double from its current market size. Organised RMX companies have begun focusing on this segment; at the same time many smalltime contractors and applicators are now entering this segment.
Please share some information on energy utilisation/consumption in your cement plants?
At Nuvoco, we are conscious about the environment and the impact that manufacturing processes; like emissions and waste; have on it. All efforts are made to install equipment that control emissions below prescribed limits. We also seek to use alternative fuels and utilise industrial waste to decrease our carbon footprint. Our aim is to continuously monitor our equipment and processes in order to ensure that we are always comfortably above what is mandated by local regulatory authorities.
We strongly believe in giving back to Mother Earth; and our efforts in reforestation (through plantations in our manufacturing units and maintenance of the green belt) are indicative of the same. Our mining activities meet the norms laid down by the Indian Bureau of Mines in our bid to maintain biodiversity through various means; including creation of artificial water bodies and rehabilitation of those mines that have been decommissioned.
Not only that; we also believe sharing our learning and good practices with other stakeholders in the industry. One of the ways in which we have put this belief into practice is by signing an MoU with Jadavpur University to run a 1.5-year diploma course in industrial safety and environmental management. Three of Nuvoco’s Country Executive Committee members will be part of the faculty for the this course.