Great expectations have been placed on marketing tie-ups, acquisitions and mergers. Both domestic and multinational construction equipment companies are increasingly picking up stakes to augment the availability of product range and cement their foothold in the Indian market, reports Partha Pratim Basistha.
As competition begins to take roots in the Indian construction equipment market, acquisitions and mergers and tie-ups are increasingly becoming the business convention for global equipment manufacturers with bases on Indian soil. Not to be left behind, are the companies at home as they are also going all out to the business practice of "buyouts" to increase their marketing foot print and product portfolio, involving cutting edge global technology, all to the benefits of the users’ requirement both for conventional and newer applications.
However, consolidation of market position is also one of the prime intentions, behind mergers in the fast growing and competitive Indian market, as the size of the equipment market is poised to grow above Rs. 12,000 crore in the near future.
These moves would enable equipment manufacturers increase their top line and bottom line growth. However, importantly, it would act as a point of convergence for customers, they would be benefitted in sourcing the equipment from a single source.
Point of Convergence
The immediate fallout of an acquisition drive is advantageous for an equipment manufacturer to offer multiple product under a single roof, as this would allow the company to create a captive customer base in the long run and cash on the same, when it plans to bring in more products through "buyouts" or through "distribution agreements."
Prominent Indian equipment behemoth looking to reap benefit of the convergence notion is Telcon. It acquired Spanish transit mixer manufacturer, Serviplem recently for the Indian market. The product which is branded as "Telcon Serviplem" post acquisition was launched recently at the Kolkata IMME 2008 show. The product which boasts, as Telcon insiders mention to have been engineered to European precision has a unique drum metallurgy which is designed to last longer, requires less maintenance, economise weight and deliver better operating economics. The factory fitted Telcon Serviplem transit mixer is available on Tata LPK 2518TC.
While Telcon’s collaboration with Comoplesa Lebrero of Spain allows it to make available vibratory soil compactor and tandem asphalt roller for the Indian market. The Tata Lebrero vibratory soil compactor, modeled VM-3, which operates on Sumo technology, as per Telcon, is equipped with the mass factor by feeing the lower frame, which allows movement as compared to a conventional compactor which uses only the drum mass when it vibrates.
The compactor has features comprising hydrostatic drive on wheels with no-drive in drum giving the machine high gradability in its class. The machines have low turning radius and are equipped with water cooled ecological engine and delivers high fuel economy.
While the VTA 90 tandem asphalt roller has features consisting, hydrostatic drive on both drums for compact design, two amplitudes with infinite frequency modes for better road finish performance, independent vibration control for both the drums to meet wide range of operational requirements. The machine is equipped with water cooled fuel efficient engine in compliance with CMVR 1996. However, notably, for road construction Telcon also manufactures its own indegenised Tata TG-14 motor grader.
Acquisition of Serviplem and collaboration with Lebrero and wide distributed product portfolio of cranes involving global brands would necessarily allow Telcon to identify itself as a viable source of amalgamated equipment solution provider in due course. This would be added to the given advantage the company already enjoys as manufacturer of wide range of excavators spanning from 2–20 tonnes capacity and even beyond through import from Hitachi, its principal technical collaborating partner. Being the manufacturer of wide range of excavators allows Telcon to be a market leader in excavators with more than 55 percent market share.
Technical collaboration with Hitachi has allowed Telcon introduce new range of construction equipment in its basket, like heavy duty crawler lattice boom cranes, used for construction of ports, refinery, power stations etc. Telcon is the exclusive Indian distributor of Hitachi-Sumitomo hydraulic crawler lattice boom cranes, from 40 tonnes to 275 tonnes capacity, Tadano all terrain and rough terrain cranes bearing a lifting capacity of 110 tones–360 tonnes and 12 tonnes-70 tonnes respectively, which according to Mr. Jayakara Kalmadi, Product Manager-cranes and Senior Manager Business Development, "Telcon distributed cranes are premium global brands owing to their low operating costs, high safety features among other benefits."
Telcon also indigenously manufactures its well accalimed crawler lattice boom cranes bearing models TFC -75 and TTFC-280-45, which according to Mr. Kalmadi, "is being improved by undertaking improvements in its hydraulic controls and aesthetics."
The advantage of equipment availability at a single point of convergence is also being well emphasized by Swedish construction equipment manufacturing major, Volvo India Private Limited. Volvo acquired the road construction equipment division of Ingersoll Rand in 2007. The acquisition has been beneficial for Volvo as it has allowed the company to expand its product offerings to new customers and provide substantial opportunities for cross selling to contractors, who had been already using Volvo excavators, articulated haulers or wheel loaders and were in the road development business.
On the benefit of the acquisition, Mr. Mrityunjaya Singh
. Managing Director, Volvo India Private Limited mentions, "the merger of Ingersoll Rand has gone to complement Volvo in offering road construction equipment along with wide range of earthmoving equipment, which are an integrated part of any construction project, not to mention road construction projects. According to Mr. Singh, "the acquisition of Ingersoll Rand has enabled Volvo to offer integrated construction solutions to its customers and building substantially on the brand value of the company."
Post acquisition of Ingersoll Rand, Volvo has done necessary reengineering on the products of the erstwhile company to add features to minimize operating costs, high reliability etc. Notable, among Volvo’s global acquisition has been Chinese excavator manufacturer, SDLG. SDLG’s acquisition has enabled Volvo to create its market position in the tonne capacity excavator segment both for the Indian and global markets, where the company as of now has negligible presence in the said category.
The advantage of acquisition has been put to use for completing existing product line, involving backhoe loaders, excavators, skid steer loaders etc for JCB as well, through Vibromax soil compactor VM115. According to Mr. Amit Gossain
General Manager Marketing, JCB India Limited, "Vibromax soil compactors make JCB’s product portfolio complete in terms of its offering to a contractor who may well require a backhoe loader and excavators and a road construction equipment consisting a compactor depending on his project requirement."
JCB which acquired the German company Vibromax, in the recent past to leverage its product portfolio, has carried out necessary engineering modifications in the product as per JCB’s own
"Quality standards" to enhance fuel efficiency, ruggedness and reliability. The JCB Vibromax compactors are fitted with Kirloskar Engines.
Lured by Brand Equity
For good number of equipment manufacturers, acquisition has been led by the perception of acquiring companies to enhance its product range. However, it has been the brand equity of many equipment manufacturers that has made them attractive for a buyout.
Similar is the case of Doosan’s acquisition of "Bobcat" the much acclaimed brand of Ingersoll Rand, manufacturing mini excavators, skid steer loaders, etc. According to Mr. Charles, GM Marketing, Doosan Infracore India Pvt Limited, "since Bobcat enjoys a good brand positioning both globally as well as in India it will enable us to build up our position in a better way through the mini excavators, skid steer loaders etc."
pointed out that the Bobcat products will find greater acceptance in India owing to their advanced technological features, consisting, troubleshooting facilities, stainless steel pipes for long life of the machines, hydraulic brakes etc. He informed, "Doosan is unlikely to make any technical changes in Bobcat products owing to the given advanced technological features of the machines as per the set standards."
Brand obsession has been the reason behind Atlas Copco’s acquisition of Dynapac, not to mention its superior product standards in place.
As per Mr. Abhijit Som
, Business Line Manager, Road Construction Equipment, Atlas Copco India Private Limited, "the global brand value of Dynapac along with its quality products was the reason for acquisition." However, he also informs, "the idea behind the merger exercise was to have a greater synergy in product offerings with Atlas Copco’s own drilling products and Dynapac’s road construction products as road construction requires drilling and demolition equipment in many projects."
Nonetheless, it is Dynapac’s wide range of models across its product line, precisely in rollers, pavers, planners among light and concrete equipment and submersible pumps has made it much lucrative for Atlas Copco to acquire the brand.
Value on Marketing Collaborations
While mergers and acquisitions both for Indian and global construction equipment companies is a strategy to enhance their product portfolio and its consequent offerings, distribution tie ups by equipment manufacturers to make their product offerings assorted is also increasingly becoming the norm of the day. Distribution tie-ups are being increasingly backed up by right product positioning, efficient market knowledge, adequate network access locations across the country complemented with networking capabilities and not to mention requisite service support for the distributed products.
Topping the list could be yard and slew crane and road construction manufacturing and distribution heavy weight is Escorts Construction Equipment Limited (ECEL). According to Mr. Rajesh Sharma
,Vice President Marketing,"ECEL’s well spread distribution channels have allowed it forge further marketing tie-ups with number of prominent, global construction equipment companies for distributing their products in India."
ECEL has distribution collaboration tie-up with cranes manufacturing majors like IHI of Japan, for distributing its high capacity crawler cranes, with Weihai Huata Building Machinery of China for its tower cranes in India. Italy’s Fassi for its articulated boom cranes, US’s Altec for its power networking and line maintenance machines. The collaboration was entered a month ago and with Doosan for distribution of its forklift trucks in the country.
Dividends on Network Access
ECEL’s well laid marketing networks have allowed Alpha Services reap dividends as well. ECEL is the distributor for Alpha’s mobile tower cranes. While Alpha Services, on the other hand, is the distributor for ECEL’s tandem vibratory roller, hydraulic mobile pick-n-carry cranes, slew cranes, tower cranes, 12 tonne soil compactor and fork lift trucks in the National Capital Region of Delhi.
On the tie-ups, Mr. Umesh Punjabi
, Manager Sales, Alpha Services mentioned, "arrangement with ECEL have been a win-win situation for both of us and for ECEL as this has allowed us to sell around 37 units of mobile tower cranes ever since our marketing collaboration agreement from December 2008.While Alplha has been able to promote more than 800 ECEL’s equipment units in the NCR region ever since its tie-up with the equipment major from the year 2000."
Alpha is also the distributor of Chinese equipment manufacturer Sany for its motor grader and concrete pump. It is also the authorized dealer of US based JLG for area work platforms and scissor lifts.
Successful product promotion, based on right market knowledge and well structured back up support can be cited for Mumbai based tower crane distributing company, Spartan Engineering India Private Limited as well.
Spartan is the distributor of Chinese made JWY tower cranes in India. The company entered into a marketing collaboration agreement with the Chinese tower crane manufacturing company, JWY three years ago. Ever since, it has been able to sell at least 50 units of tower cranes in the country. According to Mr. Vikram Mehta
, Spartan Engineering India Private limited, "behind the burgeoning sales have been our market knowledge for the product based on its demand requirement."
Making dividends out of tie-ups, supported by right network access is another Hyderabad based crane distributor, Conmech Auto Consultants India Private Limited, Conmech is the distributor of Chinese tower crane manufacturer, CMAC-CMAX. It is also the distributor of passenger & material hoists and suspended rope platforms.
Mentioning on the success of its tie-up, Mr. Ram Babu Cheruve
, Director Conmench says, "our success has been based on the fact that we sell the products entirely on the requirements of the market. Which is based on the needs of the specific construction project."
Well structured distribution channels supplemented with market knowledge base have been paying dividends to the CDE-Asia Ltd tie-up. CDE-Asia is a joint venture company with a 50 percent equity participation between CDE of Ireland and Kolkata based crusher manufacturer, Torsa Machines. CDE’s product line consists of sand washing plant.
As per Mr. Manish Bhartia
, Managing Director, CDE, "the joint venture tie up has been much beneficial for CDE, with the tie-up taking place CDE has been able to get access of Torsa’s Machine’s customer base." He informed, "CDE has been greatly helped by Torsa’s market knowledge base consisting the mineral belts. This has helped CDE exploit the market potential of it’s plants."
Mr. Bhartia adds, "Torsa’s local technical contacts have proved to be much beneficial for CDE in selling its products, besides contacts with technical consultants also helped in promoting the technology involving the product."
CDE has been able to sell 11 plants as a complete package till May. The company have made a target to sell 15 plants during the 2008-09 fiscal. The company imports 65 percent of the plant and machinery with the rest being locally assembled.
Case of successful marketing alliance is also for World Wide Machinery Solutions exclusive equipment distributors of Vermeer Corp of US. World Wide markets Vermeer’s trench less cable laying machines and surface excavators.
According to Mr. Navneet Mathur
, Partner, World Wide Machinery, "our success with Vermeer has been on World Wide’s well structured marketing and service channels across the country in strategic locations. Besides successful promotion of the trench less machines could be made by us through dissemination of the technology linked to the product, at the grass root level among the project implementing agencies have made our distribution tie-up with Vermeer a success. Not to mention adequate component and service back up."
World Wide’s collaboration with Vermeer has been ten and half years old within which it has sold more than 475 machine units till 2008. Worldwide is planning to introduce Vermeer’s rock excavation and surface mining equipment in India shortly for road construction and reconstruction, soil remediation and track trenching applications. The machines which have multipurpose characteristics cuts down on non blasting of the mining site, requirements of haul trucks and primary crushers.
Company to promote products, based on right network access and networking capabilities is US based mining lubrication equipment manufacturer Graco. As per Mr. Ramesh Magadi
-Country Manager, Graco, "our marketing edge is our prompt back service support within 12 hours of reporting time with our well qualified US trained engineers."
Customized Product Offerings
Appropriate market network and products for customized construction solutions have been good for Hess Ploytech Pvt Ltd. Hess is a fully owned subsidiary of Polytech, concrete batching plant manufacturer. Hess Polytech is the distributor of German made Hess block making machines in the country.
As per Mr. Prashant Kumar
, Marketing, Hess Polytech, "long standing experience in the concrete industry have allowed us to go for a marketing arrangement with Hess."
He says, "our main marketing USP for selling the Hess machines is that, we sell the block making machine as an entire package with Polytech’s concrete batching plant, to customers having large requirements of blocks comprising two million blocks per project or even more." He mentions, "the prime competitive characteristic of the Hess block making machines is it is able to deliver higher output for bigger projects."
Promotion of products on required solutions is also a strategy for Dozco India Private Limited. The company has recently entered into an exclusive distribution tie-up with Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan for marketing its wheel loaders in India comprising an assorted range of 19-46 tonnes. Besides, Dozco has a well established distribution tie up with components manufacturers of international repute comprising, ITM of Italy for ground engaging tools, and wear parts, Ajax of Australia for fasteners among many others. According to Mr. Sandeep Bangur, "the wide distributed product portfolio of Dozco allows the company to offer product and component support as per the contractor’s requirement."
Similar approach to promote products based on required solutions have been for Chowgule & Company Private Limited. Chowgule & Co has a cranes division and is the distributor of Japanese Furukawa’s truck and tractor mounted telescopic cranes in the country.
Mr. Arjun Chowgule
, Senior Manager, Chowgule & Co says, "based on the budget and lifting requirement, we provide the solutions through the wide ranged lifting products comprising the truck and tractor mounted telescopic stiff boom cranes. He mentions, the machines are qualitatively superior owing to their safety and rugged features" The Furukawa telescopic cranes have been in use by most of the construction companies in the country.
Customized lifting solutions based on tie-ups is also offered by Mumbai based, C.S. Koreinfra Engineering Pvt Limited. which has entered into a marketing alliance with Italian crane manufacturer TCM during 2007.
Mentioning on the tie-up and wide range of cranes available with TCM, Mr. Sowmil.C. Shah
, Director, C.S Koreinfra Engineering Pvt Ltd mentions, "TCM manufactures wide range of truck mounted cranes, rough terrain cranes and also a crane, apparently new for the Indian market, crawler telescopic cranes. The wide range of cranes on offer by TCM can be used for various customized lifting applications, ranging from industrial to construction applications."
C.S Diesel, which incidentally is the distributor of L&T Komatsu’s excavators in Mumbai and Goa and also for Cummins, have adequate market network based on the equipment requirement of the construction industry.
Novice & Assorted Product Offerings
Distribution agreements are increasingly being entered to make available new product offerings to suit the niche project requirements of customers. Company to fill this slot is Mumbai based, Allen Buildwell Pvt Ltd, distributors of US made Allen concrete pavers in India.
Allen concrete pavers are used for construction of airport aprons, runways, heavy industrial floorings, city roads, canals, jetties etc. Allen Buildwell is also the marketing agents of US based, Guntert & Zimmerman’s slipform concrete paver. Additionally, it also represents US based, slip form concrete equipment manufacturer, Power Pavers, and also US based, slip form concrete manufacturer Power Curbers.
On marketing of wide range of concrete slip form paving equipment Mr. Raghunath
, Director, Allen Buildwell mentions, "our wide range of product offerings are able to meet value added products depending on the individual niche requirements of the end-users."
Offering innovative products to suit customized construction through offering products for tailor made construction solutions is also for Multiquip Construction Equipment Pvt Limited. Multiquip Construction Equipment is the distributor of US based, Multiquip’s construction equipment in Indian subcontinent, Middle East and at Common Wealth of Independent States of the erstwhile, Soviet Union.
Among the few prominent products, Multiquip sells out of its wide range of construction equipment includes, hydraulic power trowels, super screed fixed form pavers, generators, lighting systems for construction sites etc.
Multiquip Construction Equipment Pvt Ltd, entered into a distribution collaboration with Multiquip during 2004. Ever since the tie-up, it has sold around 1000 various equipment registering a 10 percent increase in turn over in recent years. Apart from distribution, the company has recently started manufacturing light towers for Multiquip USA in India.
Behind the successful distribution tie up, Mr. Narinder Jit Singh
, Director Multiquip Construction says, "our success has been based on our ability to offer wide range of construction equipment, that a contractor may require for his project."
To fill the category to offer range of products could be Delhi based, Bell Stone Hi-Tech International. Bell stone offerings consists of construction machinery, survey equipment, laboratory testing equipment, tools & hardware sourced from number of foreign and domestic equipment manufacturer.
As per Mr. Ashish Sethi
, Managing Director, Bell Stone, "we at Bell Stone have different departments for offering different construction equipment, with stock intact." He adds, "we regularly keep on collecting regular feed- back from the construction market on its requirement of equipment, based on which we maintain our stocks and also introduce new range of equipment."
Value Added Sales
Sales through offering value added products is the marketing strategy adopted by umpteen number of Indian construction equipment manufacturers and distributors, representing the bottom end of the value chain, through their marketing tie ups with foreign manufacturers.
Offering innovative products through distribution agreements is Mumbai based, Ispat Infrastructure India Pvt Ltd.
Ispat has a distribution arrangement with Piat of Italy for marketing its rack and pinion passenger & material hoists and platforms. As per Mr. Kapil Ghai
, Director, Ispat Infrastructure "the platforms have its valued USP as compared to other construction and labour material lifting platforms in terms of its safety offerings."
He says, "the rack and pinion technology used in the platforms makes it lift larger quantity of load and also renders it safer as compared to conventional bamboo platforms."
Offering value added products is also Mumbai based, Mehta Earthmovers under its business domain. The company has a distribution tie-up with Korean rock breaking equipment manufacturers for distribution of their products in the country. It has tie-ups with manufacturers based on the time period ranging from 7-10 years each. Mehta Earthmovers is also into the business of crane rentals.
Behind the gain made from the tie-ups Mr. Mehul Mehta
, Director, Mehta Earthmovers says, "wide range of product placement, aided by sincerity and efficient customer support have enabled us to gain dividends."
Value added products through tie-ups are also offered, Pakona Engineers (India) Limited. Pakona Engineers is a joint venture company with Colombia Machines, Inc USA. It manufactures automatic plant for interlocking pavers, hollow and solid blocks, flyash bricks, kerb stones, retaining wall blocks etc. The company claims the value added features of its products owing to its rugged and high output features.
Competitive product features to marketing is also claimed by Mr. P. S. Gupta
, Managing Director, K.K. Manhole Grating. He says, "Macroza’s wall chasing machine, used for electrical and plumbing applications are much convenient to use than the hand made tools and can work well both on concrete and cement blocks."
K.K Manhole is the distributor of Spanish made, Marcoza’s wall chasing machine in India.
Similar claims are made by Mr. Jitendra Jain
, M.D, Nakoda Machinery. Nakoda has a marketing tie-up with South Korea based MSD Corp for selling its rock breakers in the country. He says, "the rugged features of the MSD rock breakers have provided greater acceptability for the products."
Though marketing tie-ups both with Indian and foreign partners and may have proved to be dividend paying for one and many distributors but the story has been also not too rosy with couple of distributors as they are yet to make sufficient headway with the products owing to reasons as high product costs or lukewarm promotion by dealers.
As the case goes for Right Vision India Pvt Ltd, representative of Germany’s Lasco Brick making machines. As per Mr. B. P. Bharti
, "though our tie up with Lasco has been four years old but we are yet to make head way in sales." He attributes to the negative sales of the machines owing to its high capital investment cost.
High product cost to deter sales has been for Delhi based, IPCC-Interglobal Projects & Construction Company. The company has a distribution tie-up with Korean construction and steel plant production equipment company, Dartiee Machinery Factory Co Ltd since January 2007. According to Mr. Vivek Jain, Managing Director, IPCC, "we have been slow in making headway in selling rolling mill products of the Dartiee to the steel re-rolling mills owing to the large initial cost of the equipment."
Promotion of equipment sales based on tie-ups has also brought its set of challenges for, Kam-Avida, Enviro-Engineers Pvt Ltd. Kam Avida is the Indian distributor of U.K based Johnston made road sweepers and also U.K based Thredfort municipal garbadge compaction equipment.
As per Mr. Manish Chandra
, G.M, sales, Kam-Avida "the products, which are used in municipal applications have been finding slow acceptance due to modest business development initiatives and follow up by the dealers appointed by us with the municipal departments."
Nonetheless, challenges in way for companies having distribution tie-ups looking for sales is a silver lining. This can prove to be good learning exercise for the companies in making their marketing strategies reoriented and distribution channels well organized and be partner of the greater lot of the country’s equipment marketing fraternity, that is enjoying business success.