In addition to production, we are also focusing on optimising our process, improve efficiencies in operations and at the same time, stepping up investment in sales and service network for the future, says Ramesh Palagiri, Managing Director and CEO, Wirtgen India. Excerpts from the interview.
Is the political scenario getting more complicated and hostile with regard to doing business?
Yes, in the current scenario even honest people are not willing to take decisions which are in the country's interest and this is going to set the infrastructure and mining sector back by a few years.
How do you sustain growth momentum in these turbulent times?
The Wirtgen group always has had a long-term view of the Indian market and we are currently expanding our Pune facility to facilitate production of more products locally.
In addition to production, we are also focusing on optimising our process, improve efficiencies in operations and at the same time, stepping up investment in sales and service network for the future. The slowdown has definitely made us redraw our growth plans for India but we believe that this is a temporary phase.
At present, which are the verticals that drive the demand for your product line?
Compactors are the one sector which is driving our growth as we are a new player; pavers have seen a dramatic slowdown due to the delay in execution of national highway projects. Cold milling and recycling is seeing good development.
What is the impact of the devaluation of the rupee on Wirtgen's performance?
The devaluation of rupee has made our products more expensive by around 20 per cent in the last few years and this may drive some customers to look at rental or used machine options.
How do you assess the performance so far in 2013?
2013 will be a flat year for us and we will have zero growth; we expect 2014 to be an equally tough year but growth could return in 2015.
What are the major challenges Wirtgen faces?
The major challenge is to keep a control on our costs and to keep the factory busy.
How do you assess Excon 2013 as a platform? Are there any products to be launched?
Excon 2013 will be the platform where we will have some new launches from all our three main product lines: Wirtgen, Vogele and Hamm.
The new generation of DASH-3 pavers from Vogele will be launched at Excon. These pavers are a generation ahead of the competition. The New Hamm tandem compactors HD 99 and HD 109 will also be on display, along with the Wirtgen cold recycler-cum-soil stabiliser WR 240.