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Interaction | December 2014

Industry suffers from low margins

S Bansal, Director, Paltech Cooling Towers & Equipments Ltd, speaks on the latest developments in the market and his company´s growth plans.

Let us have your views on the opportunities for cooling tower systems in India. How is the demand and supply situation?
In the recent past, coal shortages, scams, hike in prices of imported coal, lack of land availability, policy logjam and shortage of labour together paralyzed the prospects of the power sector and other heavy industries. In fact all the industrial sectors were having virtually no growth. Cooling tower is a utility equipment in most of the MSME industries and a major and critical equipment for power plans, steel, oil & gas, fertiliser and other heavy industries.

Therefore we can say that the opportunity for cooling tower systems in India is huge. However, as on today, the supply situation is better than demand because very few projects are under execution stage.

According to you, which sector brings more opportunities for you?
For Paltech, the power and industrial sectors both bring lot of opportunities. However, the power sector employs large-size and quantity of cooling towers when compared with all other type of industries.

What are the various types of cooling towers that the company manufactures? Can you shed some light on the projects where the company has installed its products?
Paltech is engaged emerged in manufacturing and construction of all types and sizes of cooling towers except Natural Draft Cooling Towers. However, Paltech is involved in renovation of Natural Draft Cooling Towers. Paltech´s clientele includes NTPC, BPCL, DVC, ITC, Tata´s, Aditya Birla, Reliance, Prakash Industries Ltd, SAIL, etc.

In terms of latest technology, what are the latest breakthroughs in cooling tower products?
The latest technology breakthrough in cooling towers is introduction of Pultruded FRP Structure replacing RCC structures. The use of the former has resulted in cost-effectiveness and time-saving in total project schedule.

What are the different issues, especially challenges, faced by the industry?
Among the various issues faced by the industry is low margins due to which they are unable to produce good quality products. They are also unable to do any innovation in any components of the cooling tower.

The shortage of skilled labour, steel and cement occasionally during construction and high interest rates are some of the challenges being faced by the industry. Paltech has planned a few strategies like backward integration of a few components of cooling towers so that better costing, better quality and timely delivery can be assured, keeping us a step ahead of others. A sufficient inventory and quick response time for client´s requirement of spares and services is also our USP. We have many competitors but Paharpur, L&T and Hammon, are the ones which are more relevant.

How do you see the industry growing in the next couple of years?
Depending on how fast the Central govern¡ment introduces reforms, the growth of industry is fully dependent on the same. Paltech is quite optimistic that in the next couple of years, we will be doing very good business as industrial growth should be above 10 per cent.

- Rahul Kamat
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