The Company delivered a robust performance,driven by an extremely proactive approach to crisis management.
FY 21 presented enormous and precedented challenges with the continued onslaught of COVID pandemic. In spite of the various impediments, your Company delivered a robust performance, driven by an extremely proactive approach to crisis management. Responding dynamically to the transforming external environment, we moved with exceptional agility in our continued pursuit of excellence across all our businesses. While our Sugar and Alcohol businesses crossed new operational milestones, we leveraged our digital prowess in the Power Transmission business to stay connected seamlessly with our customers amid a highly challenging environment. We worked closely with the Central and State Governments to enable a safe operating environment on resumption of business after COVID-led lockdown in the first quarter and during restrictions in subsequent quarters.
As we stayed on course to ensure business continuity, we did not lose sight of our responsibility towards our employees, our farmer associates and our supply chain partners. Ensuring their safety and security became a key priority for the Company and we moved swiftly to put in place stringent safety protocols and policies, which all stakeholders were required to strictly adhere to, both at plants and offices. We also strengthened our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) framework to equip the communities around our manufacturing facilities with the necessary tools to effectively combat the pandemic threat.
I strongly believe that our well-structured response to the unprecedented crisis helped us drive a positive performance during the year. Coupled with our operational efficiencies, the drive and focus of the organisation enabled us to bounce back with speed and efficiency. This responsiveness was evident in the extraordinary pace with which we moved into the production of hand sanitizers after deciding to make this strategic foray to support the Government of India’s efforts to tackle COVID.
The Alcohol business remained a key driver of our growth and a major contributor to our Sugar business performance during the year. Our entry into the manufacturing of Indian Made Indian Liquor (IMIL) also reflected our commitment to sustained and continued growth and expansion, notwithstanding the calamitous effect of COVID on industries and businesses worldwide.
The Company has ranked second in the country in terms of sugar production in SS 2020-21. We also reported strong distillery performance in terms of both production and sales.
After witnessing severe hardship over the years which led to erratic production, high cane arrears and pricing instabilities, the Sugar industry is now moving towards consistent performance with more transparency and clearer policy directions, which will augur well for the business going forward. The Government policies are also dynamically fuelling growth and expansion in distillery operations, with the Government of India’s announcement of acceleration of the 20% blending of fuel ethanol with petrol, target to 2025 promising increased buoyancy in the business. This move aims to address the twin problems of evacuation of excess sugar stock and dependence on crude oil imports, as the country prepares for a holistic energy transition by focusing on renewables.
With our strong expertise and extensive experience, we are fully geared to harness this growth opportunity. The Board has approved expansion of distillation capacity of the existing and upcoming distilleries located at Muzaffarnagar (UP), Milak Narayanpur sugar unit at Distt Rampur UP and Sabitgarh Distt Bulandshahar (UP), subject to receipt of necessary statutory clearances, raising total distillation capacity from 520 to 660 KLPD at an aggregate cost of ₹ 100 crore (approx.) through low capital cost incidental expansion / debottlenecking through internal accruals. Such expansion will be completed before the commencement of the SS 2022-23. We are also looking at our Alcohol business, through which we entered IMIL production during the year under review, to steer our plans to expand into new areas of potential growth.
On the Power Transmission front, there was a decline in the turnover due to the impact of the COVID restrictions but the order booking was largely maintained. Stabilisation of business conditions in the last quarter of the year, and improved profitability of the Water business due to efficient project execution and project cost savings, mitigated the losses in this segment to some extent. This was the outcome of the digital initiatives launched by the Company to sustain business operations and ensure customer engagement. The total outstanding order booking for the Engineering businesses is robust, at ₹ 1,078.25 crore and we are positive about their long-term prospects.
Apart from the traditional OEM and Aftermarket segments, the Power Transmission business is also focussing on Defence under the “Make in India” initiative. During the year, we secured approvals for new projects and for refurbishing requirements in the Naval Defence space, which is expected to translate into orders for the Company in the coming quarters. Additionally, the Company has partnered with global OEMs for precision manufacturing of components for wind gearboxes as well as industrial high-speed compressor gears. These initiatives are likely to throw open several opportunities for growth in the medium term.
In the Water business, severe water shortages across the globe have led to major concerns and accelerated projects towards conservation and overall management. The World Economic Forum continued to rank water crisis (natural resource crisis) amongst the top-5 risks in terms of impact in its Global Risk Report 2021. This issue is further exacerbated in a country like India where a significant percentage of population does not have access to clean water. The Government of India’s impetus with programmes such as Jal Jeevan Mission, Namami Gange, etc. have been providing and continue to provide more opportunities in water/wastewater treatment segments. While there were setbacks in the last year due to COVID, we believe with the large number of tenders that the Company has participated in the Water segment during the year will also yield positive results during the course of year and beyond. Overall new projects and tendering activity is also expected to improve as things stabilise in the country. At the same time, we are exploring new products and geographies for expansion, in order to further improve our turnover and profitability. I am happy to report that, this year, we managed to secure the first international order for providing water treatment to around 10,000 people in the six islands of Maldives.
Amid this positivity, one thing that really stands out is the resilience of our people, who were the pivot of our efforts to keep our business plans and performance on track in an extremely tough environment. Once business operations started normalising, they responded with extraordinary nimbleness to support the Company in the realisation of its goals and targets, and continue to inspire us to scale new horizons of progress in our onward journey. On behalf of the Board and the Management, I would like to express my gratitude to our people and assure them that the Company will continue to stand with you and your families in these difficult times. We also remain committed to further augmenting our CSR efforts to reach out impactfully and meaningfully to the most vulnerable sections of the community, who have been the worst affected by the pandemic.
In conclusion, I would like to mention a special word of thanks for all our customers, partners, vendors, investors, shareholders and other stakeholders, whose sustained support continues to be a vital engine of our future growth. I am confident that, having emerged stronger through the COVID experience in many ways, we shall successfully employ our learnings of the fiscal under review to propel greater growth and accretive value for our stakeholders, as we move forward.
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