Sandeep Singh, President, iCEMA & Managing Director, Tata Hitachi
The CE Industry is fighting battles on many fronts, including very low levels of plant capacity utilization and sales, and consequent impact on company finances. So, it is in the best interest of all concerned to defer bauma CONEXPO INDIA from Nov ’20 to Feb ’21.

Now that the lockdown has eased and normalcy is slowly returning, will the CE sector see improved performance in the next quarters?
As you are aware, the scale and spread of the pandemic has played havoc with lives as well as the economy. At this stage, governments across the world and the medical researchers are still grappling with the containment of the virus. Given the situation and the lack of a clear visibility on when exactly the pandemic will be contained, it is a challenge to make a clear and unambiguous projection.

The fact of the matter is that even before the large-scale outbreak of Covid-19, the CE market growth had slowed down considerably. In FY19-20, the drop was to the extent of almost 20% by volume, with a sharp dip in March 2019 (in the early stages of the pandemic). The first quarter of FY20-21 showed a precipitous drop of 50% owing to the lockdown and the resultant shutdown of almost all economic activities.

We expect the second quarter to be only slightly better because of the additional impacts of the monsoon and the financing concerns for construction equipment. We are hopeful that the situation will somewhat stabilize by the last quarter of this fiscal. This, however, depends (as mentioned earlier) on the extent to which the disease can be contained and by when. It will be a while before the situation begins to have a semblance of normalcy.

It is hoped that by Feb 2021 the CE industry will see a surge in economic activities and start of new projects. Hence, the decision to reschedule bauma CONEXPO INDIA to Feb 23-26, 2021. What is your view on this?
Given this current scenario and the fact that the CE Industry is fighting battles on many fronts, including very low levels of plant capacity utilization and sales, and consequent severe impact on company finances, it is in the best interest of all concerned to defer the Expo so that we could look forward to having a successful event in the better days to come. The decision has been reviewed and discussed with the organizers of the event over several months and a consensus was arrived at after taking stock of the situation.
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