Kapil Malhotra, Global Business Unit Head - Fluoropolymers, Gujarat Fluorochemicals
Gujarat Fluorochemicals Limited financial performance in FY 2022-23 and plans for FY 2023-24? Key achievements in FY 2022-23?
In the 9 months ended Dec 2022, we have reported a revenue of Rs. 4,213 crore as against Rs. 3,954 crore for the full year FY 2022, while our EBITDA and PAT for the 9 months ended Dec 2022 stood at Rs. 1,518 crore and Rs. 991 crore respectively as against Rs. 1,198 crore and Rs. 775 crore for the full year FY 2022. We are incurring a Capex of Rs. 1,250 crore for FY23 and FY24 each. Most of the Capex this year is towards expanding our new fluoropolymers portfolio and for the next year it will be more towards the EV segment, both battery chemicals, and fluoropolymers used in the EV space.
GFL is the only manufacturer of PTFE/Flouropolymer in India. Are you planning to set up more such exclusive manufacturing facilities in India for other products?
Yes, we have plans of rapid expansion in terms of adding capacities to our existing Fluoropolymer portfolio for applications in electric vehicle batteries, solar films, and hydrogen fuel cells. Our vertically integrated operations help us to maximize value addition.
GFL's Jolva facility is focusing on Fluoropolymers, Specialty, and New Age Chemicals and presently is under phased commissioning. Please elaborate?
Our Jolva facility is a part of continuous expansion of the existing products and new age chemicals. Customers understand and appreciate our customized products, local presence, just-in-time deliveries, and continuous engagement with customers, which is reflected in the increase in demand for our products. We plan to start commercial operations of our New Age Chemicals by the end of 2023.
GFL is in the process of setting up an integrated battery chemicals complex. What's the update in terms of Capex, timeline, and battery chemicals products to be manufactured in the complex?
At GFL, we give utmost importance to sustainability and the environment. In an effort to contribute to global carbon neutrality goals, we have invested in the integrated battery chemicals complex. With our own fluorspar mines and electronic grade AHF manufacturing facility, we plan to manufacture electrolyte salts such as LiPF6 and other value-added products.
The company is setting up India’s first PVDF solar film project which will be commissioned in the next financial year. What's the update in terms of Capex and timeline?
We leveraged our vertically integrated facility to enter the segment of PVDF films. At a time when India and the world have set aggressive solar energy targets, it is highly important to scale local production of relevant raw materials such as PVDF films. This plant is planned to be commissioned by the second quarter of the current financial year.
On the export front, the company is a major supplier of Fluoropolymers to Europe and USA. How are you planning to increase your export market share?
We will continue to work closely with our customers on upcoming projects and develop greener products to provide value addition. We will play our role as a preferred supplier of fluoropolymers that are of utmost importance for major applications in Europe and USA. We will also continue to take all necessary steps to make sure products are consistently supplied to customers at the right time.
Global trends in Bulk Chemicals and Fluorochemicals in 2023?
Due to Montreal protocol regulations the uses of HCFC have been restricted and are being phased out gradually. The demand for HCFC thus is shrinking globally. HCFCs are being replaced by HFCs. The markets for HFCs are growing globally at about 7-8%. However, GFL is targeting 20% annual growth for HFC.
Key sustainability and CSR initiatives planned for FY 2023-24?
As far as sustainability is concerned, the biggest challenge today in our industry to build a strong product life cycle is to balance economic and environmental sustainability.
This includes adherence to strict global regulatory compliance and meeting the challenging demands of customers for environment-friendly products. In addition, we also seek efficient and cost-effective methods of producing our products, reducing waste and emissions and ensuring safe handling/disposal of chemicals throughout the product life cycle.
We consistently monitor dynamic regulatory changes and have consequently moved away from chemicals of concern in our fluoropolymer product line.
At GFL, giving back to the community is part of our corporate philosophy. As corporate citizens, we are committed to acting in an economically, socially and ecologically responsible manner and coordinating the interests of various stakeholder groups. We strive to create a more sustainable company and have a positive impact on our communities, society and the planet.
Are you planning to completely switch to green/renewable power? If yes, by what time frame?
We at GFL have already invested a substantial part in renewable power. For full switchover we shall abide by India’s time frame.
The company has invested a Capex of Rs. 1,250 crores in FY 2022-23 and facilities where it has invested? Facilities where it is planning to invest Rs. 1,250 crores in FY 2023-24?
At this moment, we will mainly be investing in fluoropolymers, battery chemicals and intermediates. Going forward we shall be looking towards newer segments as and when we see a demand and opportunity arising at a domestic and international level.
DST approved Research and Application development centers are focusing both on new businesses as well as existing businesses. How are you planning to leverage your innovation centers?
If you look at the current investments that we are doing, it is basically by developing new grades of our products for new age sectors such as uses and applications in 5G, EVs, semiconductor, Green hydrogen, etc.
GFL has also taken up projects to indigenously develop and produce PEM membranes. Any update on this front?
Yes, as already discussed previously, lab products have been developed, a prototype plant is under construction. We shall soon be ready for commercially viable grades.
GFL is well equipped to cater to the fluoropolymers required for the hydrogen electrolysers, fuel cells, and charging stations. What kind of fluoropolymers are you planning to manufacture to cater to these segments and by when?
A variety of Fluoropolymers, like PFA, PVDF, and PTFE are already being used in such areas for the hydrogen electrolysers, fuel cells, and EV charging stations. We have several products for these segments and shall complete the remaining ones also in the next couple of years.
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