Hindalco to Uplift its Downstream Capacity

28 January, 2019 | Metal world

D K Das is the Chief Marketing Officer of Hindalco's Aluminium Business and has been working with the Aluminium Industry for the last one decade. He has an engineering degree from IIT-Kharagpur and a PGDM from IIM - Ahmedabad.

He has about three decades of experience in Sales and Marketing in diverse businesses in leading companies like Godrej Soaps, Hindustan Lever and Ballarpur Industries.

Prior to his current role as the CMO, he has worked as the Head of Sales and Marketing for the DAP Fertiliser, Aluminium Extrusions and Flat Rolled product businesses.

Speaking to the Editorial Team of Metal world, DK Das commented that a large part of the Indian growth in Aluminium is currently being met by imports. This does not help local industry as they cannot compete against imports given the current scenario. Excerpts:

How do you find Indian aluminium industry as compared to the global standard?
India is the 2nd largest producer of Aluminium outside China and the third largest consumer of Aluminium in the world. We are only next to Russia in overall Production and USA and Germany in Consumption of Aluminium. India, given its economic growth has the potential to grow in Aluminium consumption several times its current levels.

India is currently at an economic inflexion point where from, we believe, it would experience a steep jump in overall aluminium consumption. Our per capita consumption is currently at 2.4 kg as compared to countries like China at 24 kg. Even if India grows half of this level, the overall consumption of Aluminium would be about four times the current levels.

“Growth in Aluminium consumption would be driven primarily through increased adoption of Aluminium in diverse applications.”

What are the future prospects of Indian Aluminium industry?
India's domestic consumption, today, is skewed towards power sector which is understandable as our economy is still in its formative stage. As our economy grows, we would witness aluminium consumption growing in other sectors viz. building and construction, transport, packaging and other industrial segments.

Globally, more than 50% of aluminium consumption comes from transport and construction segments whereas in India only 30% of consumption comes from these segments.

Growth in Aluminium consumption would be driven primarily through increased adoption of Aluminium in diverse applications. The government’s focus on growing railways, solar energy, EVs, defence and aerospace segments shall provide a huge potential for adoption of Aluminium in new areas and drive the growth in future.

The government's ‘Make in India’ policy would enable building suitable capacities and capabilities in Aluminium applications in India in future and support the inherent growth in demand.

How is Hindalco catering to Aluminium demand in various forms?
Hindalco is the only fully integrated aluminium company in India. We manufacture products ranging from ingots and billets to flat rolled products, extrusions and foils.

We are the largest downstream player in India with presence across all key consumption sectors - Packaging, Consumer Durables, Printing, Power, Automotive and Construction. We engage with the industry, government and various other agencies to develop new applications in Aluminium.

We are also working on investing in developing our production capacities and capabilities to ensure that we can meet the current and future demand of Aluminium in the country. A large part of Indian aluminium consumption and growth is being met through imports as we have no capability to make such products within the country.

Hindalco is developing capabilities to produce all such products and replace the imports into the country through indigenous production.

Tell us about the future plans of Hindalco
Hindalco has just gone through an aggressive phase of investment in growing its upstream capacity in Aluminium. We have invested close to $5 billion in increasing our capacity from 600 kt to 1.3 million tonne. Going forward, Hindalco would focus on investing in growth of its downstream capacity in the next 2-3 years. This will help us not only to meet the growing demand for aluminium in downstream applications, but also to substitute a significant volume of imports which are currently coming into India.

What support do you need from policy makers?
A large part of the Indian growth in Aluminium is currently being met by imports. This does not help local industry as they cannot compete against imports given the current scenario. The government needs to provide the Indian industry a level playing field if it wants them to grow and take the maximum benefit out of the 'Make in India strategy'.

The largest share of imports of Aluminium into India is from China. The Chinese industry enjoys export incentives for downstream products which enable them to dump into India (and other Asian markets) at prices which local industry cannot compete with. Besides China, there are increasing imports coming in from countries which have Free Trade Agreements with India. There is an urgent need for policy makers to recognise these issues and ensure that there is a level playing field provided to Indian local industry to enable them to invest and grow in a viable manner.

The other area of policy intervention is in increasing adoption and driving demand. For example: there is a policy on FUEL for automobiles. However, the progress on the same is extremely tardy. Compared to the western countries, where there is increasing awareness about pollution norms and strict implementation on policy measures driving FUEL, we have a lot to catch upon, e.g. despite a stated policy on securitisation of vehicle registration plates, the implementation across states has been unsatisfactory.

A large part of the aluminium demand in India is being met through growing imports of scrap. Given the current global dynamics, the Indian market is being dumped with cheap scrap from all across the world, without checks and controls. There is a need to adopt a policy of checks and balances on quality of scrap coming into India based on end use. This will also boost the local aluminium industry.

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