Aluminium is becoming an integral part of infra construction projects like Metros, Smart Cities, etc. purely due to the material’s sustainable nature, avers Pragun Khaitan, MD, Jindal Aluminium Limited, and envisages demand doubling by 2025.
With the current focus of the government on developing sustainable infrastructure (including metros, railways, airports, smart cities, etc), what impact will this have on the business of extrusion in India with aluminium being a sustainable material that can be used in major infra projects?
The building and construction industry is a major customer of aluminium extrusions. As we know, aluminium can be recycled, recovered and reused. This makes it a vital component in the Government-led initiatives towards sustainable infrastructure. With an increasing need for sustainable resources, we see the business of aluminium extrusions growing as they enhance energy efficiency and are therefore finding their way into major infrastructure assignments across the country. Seeing aluminium as an endlessly recyclable metal, we see a majority of customers sticking to aluminium as their preferred choice of material in the building and construction segment, and are positive that demand for aluminium extrusions in India is only going to multiply.
With JAL’s yearly production capacity of over 1,20,000 MT, which sectors are being catered to by your extrusion business?
We are the market leaders in aluminium extrusions, and our extruded products are being supplied to a majority of the industries that include building and construction, architecture, electrical, automotive as well as the solar industry. Our unique proposition stems from the fact that our extrusions are of premium quality that passes through various exacting quality inspection processes. We have a wide range of extruded products that are made on highly advanced extrusion presses. We also take pride in the fact that our products reach customers with the shortest turnaround time, which is a key parameter of excellence in our industry.
What are your plans and strategies to garner a larger share of the market?
Jindal Aluminium Limited is catering to almost 30% of the country’s demand. We attribute our leadership in the market to the exceptional quality of our products. Consumers have become more aware of the diverse uses of aluminium and are willing to pay a premium for quality products. To cater to these discerning consumers, we will expand our capacities through brownfield expansion as and when we see a surge in demand.
How has your experience been working in a commoditized industry like aluminium, which is always subjected to price and demand fluctuation, and is full of unorganized players offering cheaper products and making competition tough?
One of my most interesting learnings in the last 6 years has been to educate consumers on the importance of quality in a commoditized industry. Our premium quality products, our brand name, credibility and legacy have enabled us to stand out among various other players in the market. There are many unorganized players and there is a market for cheaper products, but we, as a company, are confident that the Indian customer is now moving towards quality products, which will lead more of them to buy from us.
Please elaborate on JAL’s diversification into Real Estate and Renewable Energy sectors.
We feel that our diversification into Real Estate and Renewable energy are on the right path. Our diversification efforts are focused on yielding assets that garner an excellent return on investment for us. Our renewable energy capacity expansion to 80MW is now complete and we are very happy with the return of investment. In the Real Estate space, we have launched our joint-development real estate project, in partnership with Prestige, under the name of Prestige Jindal City with a capacity of over 3600 flats.
How is JAL’s export business doing?
Exports are a key area of focus for us. With the ongoing US-China trade war, the global markets have shown a greater interest in buying from India, which is the only country that has the manufacturing capacities to meet any shortfall from China, and, hence, we see exports growing considerably. We export to more than 42 countries across the world. Our key markets include USA, Canada, Australia, Africa and the Middle East. These are very important markets for us as we cater to 30 different segments in these markets. With our presence across 42 different countries, JAL is now the preferred supplier for aluminium extrusions from India.
What is your vision for JAL by 2025?
We are working very hard to give the aluminum downstream sector its due. So far, it has always been subsumed with the primary aluminum sector – and both are treated as one. But the reality couldn’t be more different. Aluminum extrusions, particularly, is where a huge amount of employment creations happens. It is where a tremendous amount of engineering and value addition happens. It is where aluminum is shaped into something useful. At JAL, we have built a culture within our organization to give due respect to this.
I see the aluminum extrusions demand in India doubling by 2025, and at JAL we aim to not only maintain our market share of almost 30% but to grow it further. So, the capacity building will be a focus of ours, as also will industry building. I see a stronger, more integrated aluminum extrusion industry in India by 2025.