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Trailblazers | January 2015

A welspun saga of success

By commissioning a 1.7-lakh spindle automated spinning plant exclusively for fine and super-fine yarn at Anjar in Gujarat, Welspun has spun a new success story in backward integration.

As the bus carrying journalists & photographers wound its one-hour journey through the dusty roads from Bhuj Airport to Welspun City in Anjar in Gujarat, not many were aware that hundreds of who´s who from the textile industry, brought to this village-turned-city by a chartered flight, would grace the occasion: it was the grand launch of Welspun´s biggest spinning plant with a capacity of 1.7 lakh spindles under one roof. This new, world-class facility at Welspun City, a 2,500 acre township set up in the heart of Anjar was inaugurated by Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister of Gujarat and Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State for Textiles (Independent charge), in the presence of Saurabhbhai Patel, Minister of Finance, Planning, E&P, and a host of dignitaries.

´The state-of-the-art facility is expected to not only double the spinning capacity of Welspun to 3 lakh spindles, but also produce exclusively yarns of fine and super-fine counts,´ said Balkrishna Goenka, Chairman, Welspun Group. The new ambitious programme of expansion, which entails a total investment of about Rs 2,500 crore is expected to be completed within a year. ´The additional capacity for spinning fine and super-fine yarns alone has cost the company Rs 800 crore and has been financed by internal accruals,´ he added.

With the installing of the new capacity, Welspun will be able to get 70 per cent of its yarn requirement from the backward integration. ´The new state-of-the-art spinning plant will produce anything from 60s to above 100s counts of yarn -- superior, super-fine yarns. Out of the total expansion worth Rs 2,400 crore, this spinning facility alone has cost Rs 800 crore. The plant is totally automated û right from bale opening up to packaging. In Vapi (Gujarat), there is an expansion costing Rs 600 crore is going on. The expansion includes terry towels and sheeting.´ The capacity for sheeting is about 2 lakh meters per day, which is expected to rise to 3 lakh meters per day after the expansion. By next year, the expansion will be completed. The Vapi plant is being modernised since this plant started in 1997 has old machines, which are being replaced. ´The new spinning plant will be focused on fine counts, and this will help us develop many new products. Welspun is the only company with so many patents even in terry towels. We are a very research-based company, and designs & processes are all in-house. Our Hygro towels are one of its kind and unique and are a fast-selling product in the US,´ Goenka said.

Welspun Group´s turnover amounts to around Rs 20,000 crore, of which textile division´s share is around Rs 6,000 crore. Of this in textiles, 95-97 per cent goes for exports. Though Welspun has been exporting to over 52 countries, the primary markets are the US, European Union, Japan, Australia and the Middle East. In technical textiles, Welspun is more into research -- developing new products and applications. Said Goenka: ´Right now, we are spending around Rs 150 crore on technical textiles. This is a new and upcoming field and needs a lot of research efforts. In fine count, the new spinning mill is the largest in the country. This is the speciality and makes it unique.´

In 2004, Welspun turnover was Rs 2,000 crore, but today, it has scaled a peak at Rs 20,000 crore. Ten years ago, the Anjar venture was started with Rs 1,000 crore investment, and today the investment has touched Rs 10,000 crore. ´This investment provides livelihood to 20,000 people directly and 100,000 people indirectly. Our home textile business is second largest and our pipe division is one<

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