Q&A with
Vice Chairman & MD

Nikhil Sawhney

Vice Chairman & MD

2020-21 Q & A with the Vice Chairman

Considering the unprecedented challenges triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic onslaught globally, the Company’s performance has been quite satisfactory. FY 21 was, without doubt, an extremely difficult year for businesses across sectors and geographies. Restrictions in domestic and international markets through the year had a significant impact on the Company’s business, with stringent travel restrictions resulting in considerable loss of opportunities for order booking, especially in the international market. Even after the lockdowns were lifted, several customers continued to face difficulty in arranging financing with their banks, forcing them to hold dispatches. This affected our sales, profit and cash flows during the fiscal.

The situation was clearly not conducive to new order booking, which saw a decline of 19% year-on-year. The Company was able to reduce the decline in revenue and profits for FY 21 to 14% and 16% as compared to a 21% and 27% decline for 9M FY 21 respectively, driven by both orders in hand and pipeline. I would also like to highlight here that the Company was able to register these figures while reporting a significant improvement in EBITDA margins from 20.8% in FY 20 to 23.7% in FY 21, as a result of the strong cost focus. Profit margin was also largely maintained vs the previous fiscal - at 14.6% in FY 21. Overall, I am happy to share that the Company continued to maintain its leadership position in both the domestic and international markets during the year.

The Company did well in distillery orders in sugar segment, waste to heat recovery, process co- generation and cement segment. Although the international market slipped due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, enquiry pipeline and new opportunities are gradually improving, showing a sign of recovery.

In the Aftermarket segment, refurbishment has gained traction both in international and domestic markets. Further, this segment has made major inroads in new markets, resulting in healthy order intake and future prospects. Our Refurbishment business expansion was strengthened into adjacencies such as turbo-compressors and Gas Turbines during the year. We also made in-roads into new customer segments, such as Geothermal turbines in Africa and South East Asia. The Company has also successfully executed a Refurbishment job on a large Utility Turbine, paving the way for more such orders in the large turbine space in the future. Overall, the mix of Aftermarket business in the total sales improved by 400 bps at 27% during FY 21.

In the API segment, we managed to finalise four API orders – an endorsement of our strong expertise and capabilities in this arena, which enabled us to secure market space despite the challenging macro environment.

I am happy to share that the Company’s Board of Directors has recommended payment of dividend of 120% (₹ 1.20 per equity share of ₹ 1 each) for the financial year 2020-21.

Overall, the performance was satisfactory, with our concerted strategic interventions helping to partially mitigate the impact of the pandemic. While Net Income from Operations stood at ₹ 7.03 billion, a decline of 14.1% y-o-y, EBITDA at ₹ 1.67 billion was only marginally lower by 2.1%. PAT at ₹ 1.02 billion marked a decline of 15.9% y-o-y.

Total consolidated outstanding order book stood at ₹ 6.39 billion as of March 31, 2021, which is lower by 9% as compared to previous year’s closing order book. While export order booking showed a 37% decline, owing to restrictions resulting from continued impact of Covid-19 across many countries, the domestic order booking fared relatively better, with only a 5% decline as compared to last year. The total domestic outstanding order book, at ₹ 4.49 billion, was actually up 14% as on March 31, 2021. The domestic market, in fact, supported the Company in a big way during these uncertain times, primarily on account of our strong presence and dominant market share in the Indian market.

During FY 21, the Aftermarket registered an order booking of ₹ 2.02 billion, which was lower by 7% when compared with the corresponding period of previous year. The Aftermarket turnover was ₹ 1.92 billion, a growth of 3% over previous year, driven mainly by refurbishment. Aftermarket contributed to 27% of the total turnover in FY 21, up from 23% in the previous year.

On the Product side, the Company registered an order booking of ₹ 4.41 billion, which was lower by 24% over the previous year. The product segment turnover was ₹ 5.11 billion, a decline of 19% over previous year. Despite the slowdown across the globe, the Company was able to secure orders both from India and from major international markets Central America, South America, North America, Turkey, South East Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa, together with the domestic market, during the year.

During FY 21, the enquiry generation in the domestic market grew by 35% as compared to FY 20, which we believe augurs well for order finalisation in the coming quarters. This was driven by process co-generation and waste-to-heat recovery segments that contribute approximately 60% and 25%, respectively, to the overall domestic enquiries. In the international segment, enquiry generation was dominated by thermal renewable based IPP power plant and process co-generation, contributing to 43% and 30% of the total export enquiry respectively, during the year.

We successfully navigated the various challenges through the year with the support of our people, who pushed the bar to deliver to business needs and customer requirements in these extraordinarily difficult times.

The Company’s strong ability to adapt with speed and agility to the new normal was a key driver of its performance. We successfully navigated the various challenges through the year with the support of our people, who pushed the bar to deliver to business needs and customer requirements in these extraordinarily difficult times.

Even though operations at both our factories and service centres functioned normally, occasional supply chain bottlenecks due to localised lockdown and non-availability of manpower at suppliers’ end impacted normal flow of manufacturing activities from time to time. However, we ensured that day-to-day operations were not affected. We were quick to adopt the Work from Home strategy, supported by the necessary IT infrastructure to all employees, with adequate IT security features. The hindrances faced due to travel restriction, especially foreign travel, were to a large extent overcome through digital marketing efforts, including marketing and servicing through video conferencing with customers and utilisation of services from foreign subsidiaries.

Further, there was significant reduction in manufacturing cost on account of cost management and value engineering initiatives undertaken in manufacturing processes. Certain administration expenses, such as travelling etc., also saw a decline, along with decline in employee expenses due to realisation of VRS benefit and reduction of manpower. All these factors, in addition to the increased share of Aftermarket in the revenue mix, helped push the EBIDTA margins for the Company.

We shall continue to evaluate and benchmark our IT landscape with those of our competitors, to leverage opportunities through the use of best-in-class software products. To further strengthen our digitalisation and automation endeavours, we shall explore the path of embracing IOT and Industry 4.0 in a big way, going forward.

While we have continuously invested in more digitally advanced software and automation-led platforms over the past several years, FY 21 saw the Company take digital adoption to a new level. With the pandemic obstructing in-person connect and on-site support for customers, we moved quickly to devise plans of “Virtual Customer Connect” to closely track and engage with customers through webinars and techno-commercial meetings. We also hosted around 80% of our applications on various Cloud platforms during the year.

During the lockdown, we supported customers across the world by leveraging digital platforms and Augmented Reality (AR) tools. The remote monitoring solution, which we had successfully implemented in previous years, was very well complemented by the IoT tools. In the domestic market, the Company’s field service engineers covered each and every customer operating under the essential services guidelines. We ensured strict compliance with Covid-19 safety protocols, as per the guidelines issued by the Government. Breakdown repairs were also carried out during the lockdown, either in person or through AR-enabled remote support.

Our digitalisation focus is aimed at boosting productivity and operational efficiencies, thus enhancing the customer value proposition and opening new streams of revenue generation to increase profitability. We shall continue to evaluate and benchmark our IT landscape with those of our competitors, to leverage opportunities through the use of best-in-class software products. To further strengthen our digitalisation and automation endeavours, we shall explore the path of embracing IOT and Industry 4.0 in a big way, going forward.

Since our operations continued even during the lockdown periods, this was actually a big challenge for us throughout the year. Keeping our people safe in the pandemic times was our top priority. We took all possible measures at workplace and offices, with strict adherence to Government guidelines, to ensure the health and safety of our people and other stakeholders, such as vendors and contractors.

The Company was quick to implement the Covid-19 Workplace Procedures and Guidelines to manage operations efficiently, while protecting employee health and life. All protocols required for safe working place were implemented, enabling the Company to run operations at optimal level and prevent the spread of infection among the employees. With these interventions, early detection of Covid-19 was ensured, thus minimising the number of employees getting infected or hospitalised. Fortunately, there was no loss of life due to the pandemic among the Company’s workforce.

We also actively encouraged employees to work from home and attend office only on need-based work and on rotation basis during the year. This helped ensure minimum attendance in office, thus enabling employee safety. Further, we organised a vaccination camp through reputed hospital for all employees and other stakeholders. Vaccination was also arranged for the family members of the employees – a move which was well appreciated not just by the employees but also our customers.

Through all these measures, we continued to engage closely with our employees, and continued with their training through online and other modes. Employees were encouraged to build their capabilities through e-learning modules, webinars, and relevant training programmes available online.

The surge in Covid cases in the first quarter of FY 22 is a matter of serious concern for business in the domestic market. At the same time, global economies in many parts also continue to be affected by the pandemic, thus impacting the Company’s business. However, we believe that with vaccination drives and decline in cases, the situation should improve. With the expected improvement in the domestic business environment, gradual opening up of trade and commerce, improvements in health infrastructure, and a generally conducive consumer and trade climate, coupled with prompt and decisive corporate action, we believe should help in an improved level of performance in FY 22.

While we expect some costs, such as travel, to increase as global markets open up in the coming quarters, we believe that the advancements made in automation will continue to drive productivity improvement and help the margin profile of the Company.

We believe that our supply chain strategy, formulated to reduce the impact on margins, will help us ease the pressure of increase in commodity prices and transportation cost, resulting from the hike in fuel prices.

Our new and efficient models, our technological expertise, strong customer-centric focus, healthy order book and pipeline, strong balance sheet and liquidity position, trained manpower and aggressive marketing strategy for products and Aftermarket are expected to push significant improvement in business volumes for the Company in FY 22 and beyond.