Targeting a growth of almost 25% in FY 2023-24: Priyamvada Bhumkar, Managing Director, Soujanya Color

  • May 30, 2023

2023 trends in the colour solutions industry?  

Colour continues to be an important aspect for all industries. For the paints and coatings industry - Colour sector is a big trend. Industrial coating manufacturers are seeing value in outsourcing color as a product from specialty color manufacturing companies like Soujanya - as it provides them advantages in terms of offering more color choices to their customers, timely servicing of their order, and cost savings whilst getting precise quality which adheres to demanding standards of industrial coatings. For architectural coatings, the trends are moving towards better color offerings and higher performance colorants  

The home and personal care industry where we provide color solutions are seeing exciting trends where the industry is looking to outsource colorants. Traditionally this industry, especially in the color cosmetic space was used to incorporate pigment powder into products such as lipstick. The companies are now realising the value of incorporating liquid color dispersions from companies like us, which gives them enhanced colors, easy to manufacture, and time & cost savings. In short, as a color solutions provider, we see exciting trends to drive color as a key differentiator for our customers' business in each industry. This provides immense opportunities for innovation in the color space. 

Company's financial performance in FY 2022-23 and forecast for FY 2023-24?  

FY2022-23 saw uncertainty and volatility for most businesses due to the prevailing global social-economic-geopolitical situation. At Soujanya Color, despite these trends, we have managed a modest growth. For FY 2023-24 we are targeting a growth of almost 25% which will be led by a thrust on exports, expansion, and diversification plans into newer markets, newer products, and newer industries. 

Revenue mix within versus outside India for FY 2022-23 and revenue mix in FY 2024-25 with the coming up of the Mexico facility? 

Revenue mix for within versus outside India for FY 2022-23 was 75:25. For FY 2023-24, we have targeted the mix to be 70:30. For FY 2024-25, the ratio should further change to 60:40. There is an increasing thrust on exports due to global opportunities in color for each of the industries we are present in. We have currently deferred our plans for the Mexico plant and will not have the facility functional this year.  

The company has set up Soujanya Lifesciences to focus on key ingredients in the Pharmaceuticals and Agrochemicals market. What's the update on this front? 

While we started Soujanya Lifesciences division two years ago, we had made a beginning with a Research and Development lab in leased premises this year, we will inaugurate our own GMP certified state-of-the-art laboratory at Navi Mumbai where we can accelerate product and process development work. We will also cater to small pilot trials of lots of the ingredients. We are also looking to do a tie up for our own manufacturing facility, and we expect to start marketing our API’s during this year. All our plans for this division are on track and we are hoping to become a preferred chemicals supplier for selected API’s and specialty chemicals at a global level over the next few years.  

The company is planning to expand its markets both within India and outside India. Products/solutions that you are planning to launch in the market? 

For the paints and coatings industry we will be catering to a full range of color solutions for any kind of architectural or industrial paints and from in-plant tinting solutions to point-of-sale within the product categories there would be some high-performance colorants we will be launching for the automotive and wood coatings space. For the HPC (home and personal care) industry we will be launching the full range of water-based color solutions for personal care, high performance transparent color solutions for home care, and an exciting collection of color solutions for cosmetics such as lipsticks, hair color, hair dye, foundations, mascara, and eye shadow. For some of these solutions we would perhaps be the first company globally to offer sustainable bio-based solutions. We also will be making forays into the ingredients space in personal care with our beyond-color strategy. We are also launching some innovative bio-based solutions in the polyurethane space, which will be rolled out at a global level this year. 

Capex investment in FY 2022-23 and projects/facilities where the company invested? Capex plans for the company in FY 2023-24 and how will it help the company in the long term? 

In 2022-23, we made some Capex for the expansion of our existing facilities and for constructing, setting up of the R&D lab for our Life Sciences division. FY 2023-24, we will see a big investment in Capex this year as we have acquired about 10 acres of land at the JNPA Port SEZ. Given our thrust or exports, we propose to set up a 100% EOU for our colorants products here to use part of the land. Further, some new projects are on the anvil for utilisation of the remaining parts of the land over a 3–5 year time frame. The Capex will help Soujanya to double its turnover over the next 3 years. 

The company's portfolio of products is marketed under different brands. Have you made any additions to this portfolio in FY 2022-23 or plan to do so in the near future? 

New brands have been added in our home and personal care decisions with the Auratone series of water-based dispersion for soaps and detergents, the Aurablush series for color cosmetics with colors for lipsticks and nail enamels, and the Auratint series for home care applications. 

What is the total installed capacity across your manufacturing plants and how much additional capacity is added during FY 2022-23? What is your current capacity utilization and strategy to improvise it further?

Our total installed capacity was about seven million litres a year with the facility expansion that we undertook in FY 2022-23, this will get enhanced to nine million litres. The new EOU in JNPA-SEZ will see a capacity addition of a further three million litres over the next 2-3 years. We expect to utilize 70-80% of these capacities in the next two years. 

Key innovations undertaken at the company's R&D centre? How will these innovations help the company in the long run? 

We are an innovation focused company where technology is at the heart of our business and is a key driver. Each new product we launch or each new market or customer we acquire becomes a possibility only because of the innovation capability which we have built into our business. While we focus on product innovation for each new market and customer to customize a perfect solution for them, we have introduced some high-performance color solutions such as super jet black (a high jet-ness black colorant) for automotive applications during the year, which is really unique. Our entire colorant range for home & personal care was launched during the last year which comprises a collection of almost 100 new color products for different applications in this industry.  

All of the innovations launched help secure and build the future plans of the company allowing us to gain market presence and establish the technology competence of Soujanya. 

Level of automation and digitalization Projects carried out in FY 2022-23? How do you plan to move ahead on this front both on brownfield and greenfield projects?  

Our flagship facility is an automated infra facility. As we go forward, we will continue the journey of further automation and digitalization. We are working on becoming more data-driven and having the use of analysis in operations and business decision making. 

CSR projects undertaken in FY 2022-23 and plans for FY 2023-24?  

We are committed to CSR projects in education, skilling, women empowerment, sports promotion, health care, and preservation of arts and culture space. We work with partners and strive to make a real impact in whatever we do. Being a part of the paint industry, we have also done some work with the PCSC (Paint & Coating Skill Council) for the skill of painters in the country.  

How is the company striking a balance between sustainability and business growth? Key sustainability initiatives of the company? 

All growth in future has to be within the sustainability agenda. Use of bio-based raw materials wherever possible, production of water-based products, development of solvent-free products, obtaining green certificates for products, decreasing use of plastics for packaging are some of the agendas which we follow. In terms of the environment, we undertake various initiatives in our operations for saving resources such as water, power, paper, wastage, etc. Our newer facilities will have green energy as a source of power. We are audited and certified for sustainability under various regulations such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45002, URSA, TFS (Together for Sustainability), and Ecovadis. Our life sciences pharma lab will also be GMP certified. Overall, we are committed to the preservation of the environment for the conservation of natural resources for the future generations. 

When is Soujanya Color planning to achieve Net Carbon Zero and milestones set up by the company? 

We will be defining these goals and taking up the agendas over the next two years.