The ready-mix concrete (RMC) business in India is catching up with the Indian construction industry because of various factors like the cost of equipment, infrastructure required to run the business, cost of production, unfavourable transportation conditions and raw material prices.
Due to rapid urbanisation, the utilisation of RMC has expanded to commercial, industrial, metro projects and residential purposes as well. There are large number of projects coming into the real estate sector, thus the demand is more especially due to the increase in high-rise buildings.
Currently, the global consumption of cement is in double-digit growth, whereas in India, it is still in single digits, i.e., about 6-7 per cent. But in the next 2-3 years, we expect the consumption to grow at 9-10 per cent. With regards to market size, it is about Rs 2,000 crore, and in the coming years, industry experts expect the market size to increase by around 15-20 per cent year-on-year. The company is a manufacturer, exporter and supplier of concrete batching plants and other construction equipment.
Sadanand Govilkar, GM RMC Projects, RMC India, a manufacturer of RMC, estimated that the industry will take an upward growth soon after the monsoon season. Speaking on the total concrete consumption, he added that the concrete consumption monthly is approximately 25-30 lakh cm3.
Ashok Dikshit, Technical Director, Aquarius Engineers Pvt Ltd, a manufacturer of concrete pumps, batching plants, etc., gave a negative outlook on the RMC industry. He said, ¨The market is very bad for the industry and the finances are very tight due to total policy paralysis. Besides, there is also no export promotion for the industry.¨ Jitendra Sutar, DGM Operations, RDC Concrete, a standalone RMC company in India, echoed the same views as Dikshit. He opined, ¨Currently there is a lull period in terms of demand, along with lack of liquidity in the industry.¨ He added, ¨Despite the presence of organised cement players, there are also many unorganised players in the market. So on one hand, the margin is low, and on the other, the finance is getting affected.¨
Wait and watch
While speaking with most of the stalwarts from the RMC industry, they expected that the new government might bring in some smiles to the otherwise ailing industry. The industry hopes for a better growth with the new dispensation. It is now in a wait-and-watch mode since most of the construction and infrastructure projects are either stalled or not approved.
Sutar of RDC Concrete expects the demand for RMC to go up, since most of the construction projects have now been given approval.
Anand Sundaresan, VC & MD, Schwing Stetter Pvt Ltd, says, ¨Definitely there is a positive outlook in 2014 for the industry, and we all hope that the situation will start improving.¨
Govilkar from RMC India expects a positive outlook from the new government. He states, ¨The new policies will definitely bring a change to the entire cement industry.¨
The growth of RMC equipment in India was predominantly driven by demand from metros and Tier-II cities. But now, since the focus has shifted to Tier-III & Tier-IV cities, the demand for RMC has shown a steady increase.
¨The use of RMC in construction is very important especially for high-rise construction, which is the need of the hour.
Also, the use of site mix concrete is not at all in practice, so the quality of construction has also increased,¨ avers Dinesh Dubey, GM, Operations (SD Corp), Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, a part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group.
As per the views of Kalpesh Soni, Sr Manager Marketing, Conmat Systems, a shock absorber manufacturer, ¨Awareness on the use of RMC and RMC equipment in Tier-II and Tier-III cities is definitely increasing especially in places like Rajasthan.¨
Fahim Parvez, Project Manager Buildings & Factories, L&T Construction, one of the largest construction organisations in India, states, ¨The demand for RMC completely depends on the location of the project, its requirements and demand from the market.¨
Sanjay Chitnis, Sr GM (RMC Projects, and Head Technical services), JK Lakshmi Cement, a cement manufacturer, says, ¨Due to rising urbanisation, we have established our plants even in Tier-II grade and Tier-III cities. So slowly and gradually, RMC business is coming to smaller cities, apart from developed cities.¨
The demand for cement is less in India, because most of the construction is done by utilising local material, which includes stones and bricks. But gradually, the availability of natural ingredients like stones made from clay, and the availability of natural resources is diminishing. So people are also turning from these natural products to man-made products like RMC. Due to increasing awareness of RMC, a spokesperson from Shree Cement, a manufacturer of cement, says, ¨The company is planning to open a new RMC plant in Delhi within a year with a capacity of around 30 m cu / hr.
Chitnis from JK Lakshmi Cement states, ¨RMC is not a new concept and has been utilised in many major projects like construction of dams, airports, bridges, etc. But since 1994, it started being utilised in the commercial sector. So the potential of RMC will increase definitely.¨
Organised v/s unorganised players
The gap between the organised and unorganised sector is quite wide. Out of the total RMC market, around 80 per cent of the market is captured by the local players and the remaining 20 per cent is captured by bigwigs. Reason: the cost factor. With an intention to reduce construction cost, most of the developers prefer utilising RMC from the local players.