BIPL's New Facility in Gujarat

Alok Kumar
"Modern Waterproofing Company, the leader in the Middle East region in the field of manufacturing bituminous waterproofing membranes is exporting its products to over 40 countries in the world. The company operates three production lines in its Cairo plant besides setting up its fourth line in Qatar and the fifth line in Dahej Special Economic Zone at Bharuch in Gujarat, India to cater to Asia Pacific Region. The company's cumulative production capacity will reach to 30 million sq.mt. once the Indian plant gets into production. Although we see India as a challenging market but the opportunity for growth is huge here. This is the reason, we are setting up a state - of - the - art plant in Gujarat with an annual capacity of 13 million sq.mt and are confident to achieve the leadership position within 3-4 years," says Mr Alok Kumar, Director, Bitumode International Pvt. Ltd. (BIPL) in an interview with Maria R.

Could you please introduce your parent company 'Modern Waterproofing Group' to our readers, its Indian operation, important business areas, and products range particularly serving the needs of construction industry?
An ISO 9001, 14000, 18000 certified, Modern Group of Companies is an industrial group based in Cairo, Egypt. Modern has over 50 years of experience in providing integrated roofing and waterproofing solutions. Currently, Modern is listed in the Cairo stock exchange and it is a part of EGX 70 stock index. It is in partnership with Citadel Capital, one of the Middle East's largest private equity investment firms with assets of over $ 8.3 billion.

Modern Group with its three subsidiaries: Modern Waterproofing Company, Spuntex Company of Engineering Nonwovens, and Modern Plastics Company is vertically integrated and is a leader in waterproofing and insulation materials in Egypt. The group is a "single source" provider for the whole roof section.

Modern Waterproofing Company manufactures APP and SBS modified bituminous membranes (Roflex, Bitumode range of APP membranes and Hyperflex range of SBS membranes) and Primers (Nirol range); Spuntex Company of Engineering Nonwovens makes geotextiles and polyester reinforcement for bituminous membranes (Spuntex) and Modern Plastics Company is into manufacturing of extruded polystyrene insulation (XPS) for thermal insulation (Modern Foam).

Modern Waterproofing Company is a leader in the Middle East region in the field of manufacturing bituminous waterproofing membranes and is the largest in Egypt and one of the largest in the Middle East region with a market share of around 40% in Egypt. It exports its products to over 40 countries in the world. The company operates three production lines in its Cairo plant. The mid-term strategy is to decentralize the production and bring it closer to the market we serve. The fourth line is being set up in Qatar and the fifth line is being set up in Dahej Special Economic Zone at Bharuch in Gujarat, India to cater to Asia Pacific Region. The cumulative production capacity will reach to 30 million sq.mt. Once the Indian plant gets into production. Roflex and Bitumode range of APP membranes are very well-known in India and has been widely used for over 8 years. These products are approved by major consultants and also by military and governmental establishments and has been used in commercial and infrastructure projects either under its own brand or private labels (for leading Indian Waterproofing brands)

With the advent of modern construction techniques and greener construction system in India, more innovative waterproofing products are making their way in the country; would you please highlight some of your advanced products being introduced here?
We have wide range of APP & SBS modified bituminous waterproofing membranes. BITUMODE is a line of polymer-modified bitumen waterproofing membranes of the highest quality. BITUMODE is modified by APP and APAO with sub brands like Roflex, Delta, Gamma, Beta, Alpha (cold flexibility from +5°C to – 20°C & tensile strength up to 1050 N/5 cm MD & 800 N/5 cm XMD. These membranes conform to ASTM D 6222, ASTM D 6164, ASTM D 6223, ASTM D 6162,ASTM D 6163, ASTM D 6298), whereas Hyperflex is a line of polymer modified bituminous waterproofing membranes modified by SBS thus guaranteeing high flexibility at low temperature. Variants available are Hyperflex P 10, P15, P20, G 10, G15 and G 20 respectively.

Also tell us about the USP of your offering (Bitumode) in terms of sustainability, energy-efficiency, environment and user-friendly.
Products range being promoted in India is manufactured to suit the Indian conditions. This needs expertise which has been gained over multiple years viewing the complexity involved in manufacturing APP & SBS membranes. We have streamlined our process and products to suit diverse environmental conditions in the past few decades. There is always a possibility with me - too products that Membranes may melt in the hot Indian sun apart from other product feature inconsistencies.

Bitumode-P1

Key features of our products are:
  • Easy to apply (by torch)
  • High mechanical properties
  • Have an extremely long life span
  • Environment-Friendly
  • The fumes given off during installation are not harmful to human health and there is low noise pollution during application
  • Membranes protect insulation and can reflect harmful sun rays
  • Bitumen is not water soluble and does not release harmful toxins
What is your overview of developments in waterproofing market in India and your company's plans for the country?
The Indian waterproofing industry is in its early growth stage. With the emphasis now on building fast and building to last, there is lot for this industry in the construction sector.

Various factors like industrialization related non-residential and residential construction activities, infrastructure related activities getting into tier 2 and tier 3 cities, strong monsoon, extremely low per capita usage of waterproofing products etc. present a huge latent demand for waterproofing products in India.

In recent years, roofing market gains in India have exceeded regional and global norms, averaging 5.6 percent annually over last 3 years which provide a huge opportunity for waterproofing products.

Due to emergence of innovative and quality products conforming to International standards and the increasing cost of maintenance, waterproofing has attracted the attention of specifiers, contractors and above all the project owners.

Traditional non-membrane waterproofing like brick bat coba method, Traditional membrane waterproofing such as membranes made from coal tar pitch or straight (unmodified) bitumen reinforced with paper, organic felts, jute, plastic sheets, etc. has already given way to modified bituminous waterproofing methods which is the fastest growing category and is rapidly grabbing market share from the other two categories.

Though there are various other systems of waterproofing available like cementitious, polymer based waterproofing, liquid system of waterproofing etc but there are serious limitations which come out post installation due to non-uniform coating thickness. In coming 4-5 years, APP & SBS membranes could constitute approx.70% of the total waterproofing.

BIPL is establishing a manufacturing facility in India; what is the status of this plant and product planned to be rolled out from there?
The state-of-the-art plant is being set up in the Dahej Special Economic Zone in Bharuch district of Gujarat. The annual plant capacity is 13 million sq mt. The construction work is in progress. The production is likely to start by September this year.

What Quality Control Systems are placed in the company to ensure high standard products?
Modern Waterproofing Company has ISO 9001:2008 certification & Egyptian Quality mark according to international standard ASTM 6222:2002.

ROFLEX & BITUMODE range of APP & SBS membranes conform to ASTM D 6222, ASTM D 6164, ASTM D 6223, ASTM D 6162, ASTM D 6163, ASTM D 6298).

What's your company's focus on Research and Development to keep pace with international developments in the field of waterproofing system?
Currently, our R&D team is based in Cairo which is continuously working to improve the product and at the same time to develop new formulations which will not only reduce the cost but also improve the product performance and longevity.

Is the company directly rendering after sales support services to its clients or looking for dealers/distributors arrangement in India?
The company plans to have distributors in each of the metros and direct dealers in all the major A and B class cities. Sales personal of distributors / dealers may also be utilized for operational works. Retailers will be catered to by direct dealers for reach and penetration.

Major builders will be contacted directly by the company to serve the commercial and public spaces segment.

Through its dealers, the company will target the residential segment which will contribute significantly to the growth of this sector.

Sales Manager located in the Metro cities will focus on Infrastructure projects like airports, thermal and nuclear power plants, refineries, railways, defense projects and Industrial projects like fertilizer plants, textiles etc.

A word about the applicators training being imparted by your company?
Any waterproofing product with bad application will always defeat the purpose of getting the waterproofing done. Rather than just product, waterproofing system and method of installation needs to be promoted.

Installers in this field are working under various constraints. Apart from the technique, workmanship and accessories which are mandatory for satisfactory output, the site conditions pose a huge challenge. Awareness is being created among the customers also for the required site conditions so that proper waterproofing solution can be provided.

Bitumode Recognized Waterproofing Installers certification program has been planned which will be implemented in the phased manner across the country so that this Industry has pool of well trained and recognized workforce to carry out membrane application. The work force is still not well-trained and is highly un organized.

Company has already started identifying and appointing authorized applicators having extensive experience in this field in different states across the country. Further onsite training for installers working for these applicators is being organized to ensure the present jobs being undertaken is well dealt with.

How would you sum up the future for your company and its business growth?
The Indian market is challenging but the opportunity for growth is huge. This is the reason, we are setting up a state - of - the - art plant in Gujarat, India with an annual capacity of 13 million sq.mt. We are confident of achieving the leadership position within 3-4 years.
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