In recent interactions with some leading players in the concrete equipment segment, we have heard that there has been nearly 40 per cent fall in the market. The market has been down for the past two years and the industry doesn't expect a revival for another two quarters. However, looking at the pace of investment, the number of products upgraded and launched, the number of new JVs signed by the concrete equipment players over the last couple of years, one might even tend to think that the segment has not been impacted at all by the slowdown!
Of course, the concrete equipment market structure and dynamics have changed over the last couple of years. The market witnessed major consolidation drive where the top two German players in India over decades were acquired by Chinese companies; companies having specific focus on certain products diversified product portfolio; companies that hitherto focused purely on small and medium segments suddenly started pumping fresh investments for new manufacturing facilities and upgradation and furthering their focus on higher capacity machines to cater to the premium segments. Besides, the market witnessed several JVs with foreign collaborators, with couple of dormant players fighting back with renewed vigour, and not surprisingly some of the known names losing the battle.
That said, huge deficit in the current infrastructure scenario tells no other tale; and the demographics will be one of the key drivers of change with the exponential growth in the middle class segment to help script new tales of growth. And, it is time the script got enacted to its full potential - that the infrastructure sector is a critical enabler for sustaining economic growth; that it could enable a two per cent growth in GDP; that efficient infrastructure underpins India's economic strength; and that infrastructure investments can accelerate economic development in emerging markets such as India. India Inc hopes that the general elections are expected to change the face of governance and policy making is sure to impact many sectors, positively and significantly.
Latest reports suggest that India has managed to regain control of its key macro issues and with a better grip, the country will be better off than other emerging markets in the face of the forthcoming tapering of stimulus programme by US Fed Reserve. According to a recent statement by the Finance Ministry, India has added to her foreign exchange reserves which now stand at $295 billion.
All these underline one thing - the growth is sure to come, it is just a matter of time - so be prepared, lest you lose.