Most of the manufacturers are in wait and watch mode
Has the economic slowdown impacted production capacity augmentation or the setting up of new cement plants?
Although some cement majors are planning for the long term and will stay the course , the pace could be slower than anticipated. From our discussions with some manufacturers, it appears that most cement companies are adopting a strategy of wait and watch before moving ahead with their capacity expansion plans. So, to some extent, yes there has been an impact.
Are you optimistic about the growth of the cement sector?
From our discussions on captive power requirements, we understand that the total capacity addition predicted during the 12th Five Year Plan will depend on the infrastructure development facilitated by government policies. If the present economic policy stasis continues, future capacity addition is going to be limited. However, we are optimistic about the potential in this sector from the long- term perspective..
What policy changes will help the cement industry regain momentum from the year 2014 onwards?
On a near term basis, there could be faster decisions related to infrastructure projects like ports, roads, etc; lowering of interest rates to facilitate growth of consumption in housing; making available fuel for captive consumption of the cement industry (cement manufacturing as well as captive power generation); quicker MOEF and other clearances, etc. From a power perspective, the government could think of offering incentives to cement and other industries, to generate power from their large and available quantity of waste heat. This can be done by bringing power produced from waste heat under the ambit of renewable energy.
What new trends are emerging in the design of cement plans, plants and machinery, and other supporting systems ?
Designing cement plants that can harness their waste heat for power generation is being actively considered by the industry. Such a move, if backed by incentives available for renewable energy, can improve the profitability of the plants. Additionally, it will also help in better environment management as the waste heat after use for power generation will be let out at much lower temperatures.
Cement plants can reduce their overall carbon footprint and also help in reducing the national dependence on fossil fuel.
As an EPC service provider and supplier of critical plant and machinery, how has 2013 been for you?
This year has seen limited orders being finalised, and most of the manufacturers are in a wait and watch mode before the 2014 elections.
While we are optimistic on the long-term perspective, we expect industry growth to be subdued in the interim.