“The potential from the aftermarket is huge and the competition is intense. We are expanding our distribution network and product portfolio to meet the challenges from the aftermarket,” says Ajith Raj Nair, Joint Managing Director, Mann + Hummel. In an exclusive interview with Equipment India, Ajith Raj talks about the growth prospects of the industrial filter market. Excerpts from the interview.
How is Mann + Hummel placed to meet the surging demands in this evolving scenario? For Mann+Hummel, the year 2010 was challenging and we are proud to inform that we achieved the highest turnover in our filter business for industrial equipment. We are better placed now, eager and ready to face the challenges of 2011 and the years to come.
How does Mann + Hummel look at ending this fiscal? Our fiscal year is from January to December and we have achieved a record turnover in 2010, a growth of over 60 per cent compared to last year.
What sort of topline growth are you looking at in the next five years? We are looking at a CAGR of about 30 per cent for the next five years. We see the growth from garnering more of a market share as the market has appreciated the Mann filter for its quality and consistency.
Taking into account the coming emission norms, how confident are you of meeting such stringent norms? Mann+Hummel has always been in the forefront for introducing innovative and eco-friendly products that help the OEMs to achieve and conform to the stringent emission norms. Such technologies are mature in Europe and Mann + Hummel is already a leading supplier. This helps us to get a jumpstart for such requirements as and when they are introduced in this country. The focus is not only on the emissions but also on ELV directives. A lot of research is underway to look at alternate materials that can be recycled and reused without harming the ecological balance.
What are Mann + Hummel’s core competencies and strengths? Started in Germany, Mann+Hummel is a 70-year old company, having presence in over 41 locations globally. Our vision is leadership in filtration with vast knowledge that we have built over the years. We are a preferred OEM supplier and have been a development partner for various filtration solution for our customers.
How do you look at the potential from the aftermarket? The potential is huge and the competition is intense. We are expanding our distribution network and product portfolio to meet the challenges from the aftermarket. Our own R&D facility in Peenya, Bengaluru, gives us an advantage for high quality product development and product range expansion.
How do you look at competition in this sector? Competition is intense, especially with respect to price. Fortunately, for the industrial customer, the price that he pays for having used a cheap filter is much more than what he can pay for a higher quality filter. This is also well understood in the market and has been the reason for our success. We are competitively priced.
Can you name some of the OEMs Mann + Hummel supply in India? We are OEM to all major construction, engine and compressor manufacturers.
Brief us about your R&D spend, and also the latest technological trends in the market. At the global level, we spend about 4 per cent of our annual turnover on R&D. In India also, we have invested heavily on setting up the state-of-the-art R&D centre in Bengaluru.
How successful has Mann + Hummel been in integrating various functions of filtration into a single module with compact design? What is the response from the user industry? We have had a very good response from OEMs abroad for such modules as it saves lot of space, money, etc.
What was the response to DPF?In Europe, the response has been very encouraging; it will catch on in India as well.
What is the potential for water filtration systems? Is Mann + Hummel geared to meet the requirements? The potential is huge. It is a billion- dollar market and we are gearing up for this challenge. We have recently acquired a membrane manufacturing company, Ultra Flo in Singapore, and this will help us in being competitive and in providing customised solutions. We have also taken up some projects in India and some are in the pipeline.
Tell us about your production facility, capacity, and investment plans.Currently, we have one production facility in Tumkur near Bengaluru. We have already started constructing our second production facility at Bawal in north India for our automotive requirements. This second plant will be ready by early 2012. With this, we will also have the opportunity to serve our industrial customers in the north better, with better logistics and reach.