We aim to be among top five companies in Benzene Chemistry in India: Ankit Patel, ED, Bodal Chemicals

  • June 08, 2022

Bodal Chemicals is the most integrated dyestuffs company in India having three phase integration starting from basic chemicals, dye intermediates, and dyestuffs. Ankit Patel, Executive Director, Bodal Chemicals talks about the growth plan of his company : 

Bodal Chemicals is the largest dye intermediates player in India with a 20-25 percent market share of India's total capacity. How do you plan to increase your market share?

Our company is a dyestuff integrated manufacturer that produces 25 dye intermediates. More than 40% of the capacities of these intermediates are captively used, resulting in a considerable cost advantage for dyestuff products. Given the positive outlook for dyestuff, we want to strategically improve our captive consumption of dye intermediates. As a result, the overall market share in dye intermediates will decrease in the coming years but we are expanding in basic chemicals i.e. Chlor-Alkali and Sulphuric Acid and specialty chemicals i.e. Benzene Downstream products.

Bodal is looking at both organic and inorganic growth through new products and acquisitions. The company is entering into new products like Chlor Alkali, Benzene, its derivatives, and others.

How do you see these developments transforming Bodal?

We endeavour to move up the value chain and diversify our business from core dyestuff and dye intermediates into other specialty chemical products such as Benzene Derivatives and Chlor-Alkali products. Strong tailwinds and high demand aided the Indian Chlor-Alkali business. We purchased Mawana Sugars' Rajpura Punjab facility in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022. With revenue of Rs. 180 crores in 9M FY'22, the Chlor-Alkali business delivered a strong performance. We will manufacture Benzene Downstream products which are primarily used in pharma, specialty chemicals, and agrochemicals. As a result, our organization will offer a diverse product portfolio on a large scale to multiple end-use markets, resulting in a new version of our company.

How is Bodal Chemicals positioned both in the domestic and international market vis-a-vis its competitors?

Bodal is the most integrated dyestuffs company in India having 3 phase integration starting from basic chemicals, dye intermediates, and dyestuffs. In the domestic market, we have a 13 percent market share for dyestuffs and a 20 -25 percent market share for dye intermediates. Our global market share for dyestuff is near 3% and the market share for dye intermediates would be near 6%. We have significant capacity across a wide range of products to meet the needs of end-user industries. Although basic chemicals and Chlor-Alkali products would serve a regional market. We will be among the top five companies in the domestic market in benzene chemistry after Saykha’s expansion.

The company exports its products to countries like China, Turkey, Europe, Indonesia, etc. Any plans for increasing the company's presence in these countries and strategies for achieving it?

We do business in over 45 countries and have a product portfolio of over 200 products. This diversification requires significant resources for managing the inventory of critical raw materials and finished products, as well as a lengthy transit time. In the event of a supply chain disruption, we prefer to preserve inventories and satisfy our clients' needs in a shorter timeframe. We already have trading and marketing subsidiaries in Turkey, China, Bangladesh, and Indonesia to build a stock point and expand into new geographies and markets. Based on the need to further grow market share, we may consider other countries for the same.

The company has a dedicated R&D lab focused on dyes & intermediates and specialty chemicals. What are the new products that the lab is developing?

We have a modern, well equipped R&D lab and three in-house R&D labs for testing and continuous improvement of existing products, particularly to inspect the quality. Our R&D team has been working on process reengineering and downstream derivative products based on benzene chemistry. As a result, our laboratories are actively evolved in chlorination, nitration, and now benzene chemistry.

In FY 2022-23, the company is planning a Capex of around Rs. 400 crores to finish greenfield projects and capacity expansion? Projects and products where you will be utilizing this Capex?

All planned Capex would be invested in upgrading and expanding the Chlor-Alkali unit at Punjab and in the Saykha greenfield project for Benzene Derivatives and Sulphuric Acid products. The capacity of Sulfuric Acid and derivatives will be 340,000 tons per annum which will include Sulfuric Acid, Oleum 23, Oleum 65, Liquid SO3, ChloroSulfonic Acid, Liquid SO2, etc., We will also manufacture benzene based downstream products such as MCB, PNCB, ONCB MNCB, DNCB and 2, 4 DNCB at same Saykha location.

It has been a good year for Bodal – Dyestuff expansion, 100% stake in Trion Chemicals, Vinyl Sulphone capacity commercialization, greenfield Saykha project, and newly acquired Chlor-Alkali products in Punjab. How will these affect your revenue and profitability in the future?

The primary goal of earlier investment has been to bring a long-term sustainable business model without losing the leadership in the legacy business. FY22 has been good for us, bringing better stability to the overall business. We foresee our business would be less volatile and more diversified in the coming years since we would be catering to a broad end-use application market with a wide product basket.

What is the company's strategy for increasing revenue and profit during FY 2022-23?

In FY23, the dyestuff business will grow marginally. Dye Intermediates business will grow by additional Rs. 100-120 crore as we have commercialized Vinyl Sulphone’s capacity expansion and SPS Processors unit. We anticipate significant growth in the Chlor-Alkali business since the upgrade activity is expected to be finished by the end of this year. We foresee double-digit growth from the current level and improvement in profitability.

How is the company driving sustainability?

We have restructured our safety functions and enlarged their role as Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHSS) function. Reducing our environmental footprint, conserving natural resources and managing waste is the key to our circular economy approach and sustainability practices. Some of our Pollution Control Systems include Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), Brine Treatment Plant (BTP), Multiple Effective Evaporator Plant (MEEP), and Effluent Spray Dryer Plant (ESDP). The company has undertaken various environment friendly measures in its different units for promoting a better environment. The company has in place adequate pollution control equipment and all the equipment is in operation. We believe it is a continuous process and there is always room for improvement.

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.