We operate in a diverse and continually changing market environment with several opportunities and challenges. Our strategy is to keep evolving and responding with agility and speed to meet the changing needs of our customers, farmers and other stakeholders, while ensuring financial stability. Our ability to rapidly align to key policy interventions in the industry, while ensuring that we use resources responsibly, enables us to keep strengthening our businesses.
The bedrock of our strategy is founded on three principles - ethics, sustainability and efficiency. We are focussed on delivering exceptional product quality and customer service. With decades of experience as a sugar producer, we continue to embrace innovation, extensively use technology, and strive to create value by working collaboratively across our group and with all our stakeholders.
Our success has been built on our relentless efforts to continually improve our operating efficiencies, working with all our supply chain partners while focussing on continuous development and innovation to meet the changing priorities of the market and our customers.
In the Sugar and Co-product businesses, we have a comprehensive business strategy that leverages external opportunities while employing our internal strengths. It is a strategy woven into three key components:
For most part of FY 20, the Sugar industry in India was nurtured in a largely controlled and protected market environment, pillared on:
Further strengthening the Sugar business proposition was our SHARING PHILOSOPHY:
The long-standing relations we have with the sugarcane growers remain a powerful engine of growth for our Sugar business. Our ability to partner successfully with sugarcane farmers and our extensive sugarcane development programme has resulted in mutual benefit – higher crush and recovery for us, with maximisation of yield leading to accrual of higher disposable income for the farmers, thus enabling the creation of a better tomorrow.
Collaborating with partners and investments in technology in Co-products to improve efficiencies, coupled with vertical integration in areas like capturing of CO2 and potash rich granulated ash in the distilleries, would further help the Company to improve profitability.
On the Alcohol front, the industry witnessed several promising positive policy interventions by the Government of India, including:
We responded to these developments effectively and expeditiously, with doubling of our manufacturing capacity. As a key component of the agri-business value chain, we continue to augment our presence across the Sugar and Co-product business to contribute significantly to the rural economy across our locations.
Within 72 hours of the lockdown across the country, with our operations designated as essential commodity manufacturing, we were able to go contactless with over 3,00,000 farmers that we interact with, and thousands of other people who form a part of our supply chain. This, coupled with detailed processes for social distancing and safety in place, allowed us to operate our units in an environment of great safety and security for all individuals concerned.
The need for a responsive strategy was required during the COVID-19 outbreak that impacted industries and businesses across the country in the last quarter of the fiscal year. The Sugar industry, given its classification as an essential commodity, continued to get Government support during the lockdown period and, therefore, continued its operations unabated. However, the impact on demand was palpable as the demand from the institutional buyers declined severely. A total impact of ~0.5 million tonnes is estimated on all India sugar consumption for the current sugar year.
Distilleries continued to operate at full capacity during the challenging lockdown period due to support from Oil Marketing Companies despite pruned fuel consumption.
In view of the grave situation prevailing due to COVID-19, the Government of India permitted sugar industry to manufacture hand sanitisers to meet the unprecedented demand in the country to combat the spread of Coronavirus. We started manufacturing hand sanitisers based on WHO recommended formulation at our state-of-the-art distillery at Muzaffarnagar within a short span after the Government’s announcement. We supplied our hand sanitisers, “GermCare”, free of cost to the District Administrations and various bodies in the regional ecosystem.
We accord the highest priority to the safety and health of our employees, customers and partners. We follow very strict and advanced protocols at all our offices and manufacturing facilities, and have implemented stringent processes for ensuring preventive measures for COVID-19 at all levels to keep the risk under control. By leveraging digital technology, we successfully shifted our work online, while ensuring our availability to all our stakeholders at all times.
In the Engineering businesses, our clear and comprehensive strategy remains focussed on enhancement of our product range as well as expansion into new markets and segments of growth, in India and internationally. Our strategic thrust in this business is on recognising the opportunities with growth potential and seizing the relevant ones. Our continuous thrust on technology leads to developing improved and more cost-effective products, solutions and services for our customers.
In our Gears business, we are focussed on identifying and leveraging growth avenues in terms of product offerings as well as new markets. In the aftermarket business, we are providing expert service solutions for our own brand as well as for other makes of gearboxes. We are expanding our reach globally, targeting new geographies and markets.
We have entered into the Defence and Built to Print business segments in recent years and have been working relentlessly to establish our brand to capture more business opportunities in these two segments.
In the Water business, amid the ever increasing scarcity and pollution of water resources globally, we have been working with industrial companies as well as municipal authorities to provide effective solutions for efficient water management. Our strategy is not only to provide treatment of water but also to monitor its quality at each stage in the cycle - from extraction to discharge and back into the natural environment. Our water technology protects resources and encourages recycling and reuse of water by large cities and industries.
Water market is moving towards recycling and reuse of wastewater, which requires tertiary treatment technologies. Water business is well poised to target recycling, reuse and zero liquid discharge opportunities because of its experience in several projects.
Our engineering facilities were also under lockdown as part of a nationwide plan since March 25, 2020. The Gears facility partially reopened after about 3 weeks and ramped up to normal strength by the 2nd week of May 2020. Likewise, the project sites of our Water Business were also operational by the middle of May 2020. We are strictly following the guidelines issued by the Ministry at all of our facilities to avoid spread of COVID-19 and to keep our employees safe. Usage of digital and other technology tools enabled the Company to continue its business even during the lockdown period, including with our potential customers. The impact on the order booking and cancellation/deferment of orders by our customers would depend on how the disease is kept under check in various geographies and the challenges which our customers may face with respect to return of normalcy, liquidity, pricing pressure, supply chain and logistics etc.
A strong driver of our growth in Water business is our strategic tie-ups with the world’s leading technology providers for various products, processes and solutions, such as Ultra Filtration (UF), Reverse Osmosis (RO), Moving Bed Bio Reactor (MBBR) etc.
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