Abhiraj A Choksey ,MD, Apcotex Industries
Abhiraj A Choksey, MD, Apcotex Industries shares his oerspective his company's growth plan as well as the current status of the industry.
What are the global trends in the synthetic rubber and synthetic latex sector in FY 2022-23 and what will be its likely impact on India?
There are several important trends affecting the emulsion polymer industry (both synthetic rubber and latex). In the medium term, the focus for all companies and countries is on being self-sufficient (aatmanirbhar) with supply chain, given the uncertainties in many parts of the world due to Covid-19, escalating energy prices as well as shipping prices, and availability. In the medium to long term, the focus should be on environment and sustainability which we all now realize are extremely critical. Apcotex has started its ESG journey with an objective to be carbon and water neutral over the next few years.
Apcotex Industries is a leading manufacturer of synthetic rubber, synthetic latex, and emulsion polymers. What's the next set of products you are planning to manufacture?
Apcotex is focused on specialty emulsion polymers for now since that is our core competence and we see enough opportunity in our current range of products and a few adjacencies. We continue to deepen and broaden our customer base in India and abroad. We continue to invest in new applications as well as new products which are within our expertise. Over the last few years we have added NBR, NBR-PVC polyblends, NBR powder, and now recently Nitrile latex for gloves.
Key milestones achieved by Apcotex Industries during FY 2021-22?
FY 2021-22 was our best year in terms of all financial metrics. India remains our strategic market and we have high market share in India across all our products (we believe we are #1 across most of our product categories) but we still see many opportunities for growth in our country. We also export to more than 45 countries and 20-25% of our sales are outside India. Besides completing a slew of debottlenecking projects in FY 2021-22, we embarked on two major brownfield expansion projects in our plants in Gujarat and Maharashtra which will be completed in FY 2022-23.
What are Apcotex plans for FY 2022-23?
The largest Capex spend in the history of our company will happen in FY 2022-23. Besides more than doubling our synthetic latex capacities, we will also debottleneck and increase capacity by 10-15% for our synthetic rubber products. Two other big areas for us this year will be ESG and exploiting new digital technologies to improve both growth and efficiency.
Is Apcotex undertaking any major R&D initiative in India to compete effectively against global players?
Over the last couple of decades, Apcotex has invested in R&D in not only our products but also process technology and application expertise. We have leveraged these strengths well to increase market share in India and increase sales outside India. We continue to invest in R&D and explore new products that fall within our core competence.
How is the company striking a balance between environment-friendly policies and sustainable growth? When are you planning to achieve Net Carbon Zero?
We believe environment-friendly policies and growth are not at odds against each other. On the contrary they are complementary. In the long run climate/environment sustainability is imperative for survival and having the right policies will be essential for growth. Worldwide customers are already asking for environmentally-friendly and sustainable products. The world has learned the hard way and companies have to keep improving and adapt quickly. At Apcotex we have been practicing TPM for 15 years, we are certified for Responsible Care, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. We are also working towards GreenCo certification this year.
Key CSR initiatives being undertaken by the company in FY 2022-23?
As a company we focus on health and education for our CSR initiatives. Our major CSR initiatives in the last few years have been around our Gujarat factory where we are working with NGOs (Edelgive and Uthaan) to improve health and sanitation. We have also contributed significantly towards paediatric cancer patients in Mumbai through an NGO called St. Jude. In the last two years, we have provided funds for COVID relief to several NGOs in both Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Note: This interview has also been published on Chemical Industry Outlook 2022 and here's the link to view full version of the annual compendium.
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