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Talking Point | February 2019

Push(kar)ing ahead in colourants & chemicals

It is no exaggeration if you call it a giant leap! – From a single product in 2001 to over 48 products at present, Shree Pushkar Chemicals & Fertilizers, an integrated speciality chemicals and colourants manufacturing company, has leap-frogged, thanks to its Managing Director, Punit Makharia’s firm conviction that speciality chemicals field hold huge promise for India. Why India? Pat came Makharia’s reply: “When the West has already left speciality chemicals due to environmental issues and China presently leaving the field following its loads of problems, it’s the right time for us (Shree Pushkar) to consolidate our position but keeping in mind the environment.”

Apart from dyes and intermediates, Shree Pushkar manufactures an array of fertilisers and soil conditioners, thus catering to the widest range of customers; from the smallest of “farmers to multinationals”. In an interaction with the Editor of the ITJ, Makharia said, “As far as the dye business is concerned, we are having a plant capacity of 6,000 tonnes a year with a huge range of products for offering. We have more that 48 products in all the various ranges, including dischargeable and non-dischargeable products. Our products are certified by GOTS and we are also a “Bluesign System Partner” which proves our Environment, Health and Safety norms standards. Only a handful of companies in India have Bluesign certification. In fact, we are the fourth company in India receiving this,having a bluesign certification,itself certifies about the quality, precautions and complying of various norms during the production process.” Apart from GOTS and Bluesign, we are also a ZDHC contributor.

Path-breaking DYECOL range

Speaking on the recently-launched DYECOL range, he said, “Recently, we have launched a new dye series - DYECOL, it was launched two months back. Our belief in sustainability led to the launch of DYECOL range of reactive dyes to tackle environmental and sustainability issues of the textile wet processing industry. It uses less water and energy and decreases the processing skills in comparison to conventional dyes industry.”

He added, “We thoughtfully launched this product in September during Interdye Bangladesh 2018. Till now, we have received an overwhelming response from the Bangladesh market. After successfully starting marketing our dyes in the southern part of India, we have now started exploring options in northern part of the country as well. Apart from institutional, we are also aggressively focusing on retail sale for value maximisation” Speaking on the salient features of DYECOL, he said, “The chemistry is the same. I won’t say that we are producing a different kind of compound, rather our approach towards the production has always been different from the common production practices. Looking at the market from 2017 onwards, there is a huge volatility in the price difference as far as intermediates are concerned. Because of this, the entire industry is suffering of price fluctuations. In a year, we see a cycle where almost 30 to 40 per cent of price dip and appreciation. These kind of issues give compete instability to the business. Since we have a five-stage backward integrated model, we have tried to make a business model of our own, this gives us the ability to absorb the greater price volatility and grow at constant sustainable rates. We are in the process of aligning good dealers for our dyestuff business as our future strategy.”

Adopting “zero waste” model

He said, “As far as Shree Pushkar is concerned, we are a part of a chemistry in this industry. We today contribute a sustainable market share as far as this industry is concerned. From the start, our vision is to create a self-sustaining organisation which meant to give equal importance to the waste that is generated and let out in the environment. This led us to incorporated a model of “Zero waste” in our business. In zero waste model, we use each and every waste to make another value-added product out of that. We are a five stage backward and forward integrated company, wherein we produce not only the textile reactive dyes and but also make most of the raw materials used in making textile reactive dyes. More downstream, we have our own acid complex where we produce sulfuric acids and its kinds, which is used in producing dyes intermediates. Then from the waste water, we generate power from that steam system (at zero cost) After extensive treatment of are waste we make other value added products.”

Makharia further added, “Basically, cattle field and fertilizer businesses are the support system to upper verticals like dyes and intermediaries. After extensive research and development we have been able to built a cattle field and fertilizer businesses that takes care of most of the effluents we generate from this industry. Overall, we are a positive contributor to the industry, and with the kind of business we have, we produce dyestuff in a more eco-friendly manner. That is why we call it a zero waste.”

Global trend

He said: “The global colorant industry is diverting from China to India, basically in terms of the environment. All the colorants, which we are producing, the basic problem with these kinds of products is the heavy discharge of the effluent water – organic as well as inorganic waste. To handle these kind of waste is a extremely difficult task. Manufacturing colorant is not very technical, but issue is more about handling the waste during the production. The waste is generated in a very huge quantity.”

“Right now, India and China are the major suppliers; but if you see during 1970 to 1980s, the production was mostly done in countries like Switzerland, Germany, and other European countries. The focus of the industry has shifted from these countries to China as well as India. We can witness that China also is slowly and steadily making an exit mainly on account of unregulated heavy discharge, and other companies in China are facing issues to systematically treat the waste, thereby facing frequent shut-downs.”

“In the past few years China has become strict in their environment laws. In coming times, India would be the major supplier of dyestuff to the globe. We Indians are more compliant as far as environment issues are concerned,” said Makharia.

Major breakthroughs in exports

“If you see our record of the last three to four years, our exports have always been 10 per cent of our total business. Since our launch of our Dyestuff business mainly our new product range - DYECOL, our exports have gone up significantly. If you talk about the financial year 2018-19, in H1 we have crossed around Rs 50 crore, which contributes majority of the dyestuff. Since we are producing extremely high-quality products with top certification, we are getting tremendous response for our products from Bangladesh, Pakistan and other parts of the world. We see that our exports would be touching close to Rs 100 crore, which will be almost 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the total revenue of the company,” said Makharia.

2018 and beyond

Because of the stable business model, for the last five years or so, Shree Pushkar has been growing at a CAGR of 20 per cent to 25 per cent . As far as results of 2017-18 is concerned,a similar trend has been seen.. “This is because, we believe in the concept of growth. The same kind of result will be reflected this year (2018-19) too. If you look at our records of the last five years, you can see a constant growth we are maintaining,” added Makharia.

Speaking on further capital investments, Makharia had this to say: “As far as further expansion is concerned, we have taken up the expansion of Rs 150 crore capex. The company has already acquired its sixth manufacturing site at MIDC, Lote Parshuram, Khed (Maharashtra). There, we will be planning expansion in two different phases. First phase will be of Rs 75 crore, which will be funded through internal accruals. It is a A+ rated company and it will be on a similar zero waste business model with further improvement. In this phase, we will be manufacturing products of sulphur derivatives as well as adding some backward integrated business model to it.”

Going forward

He concludes, “We expect the government to continue their support in the same manner. As far as the industry is concerned, whenever a company will not comply to the environment norms it will face issues, we have been seeing this from 1980s. We should accept one basic issue, which is that we have got certain responsibilities that we discharge towards the society and towards the environment. We should see that all the waste that is generated by our products should be treated in a proper manner. There shouldn’t be any hazard to the environment. I think, the industry should also adopt our kind of business model. This will help in longer run.”

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