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We plan to invest Rs 850 crore in India

By Rahul Kamat ,

Added 03 July 2024

In an interview, Deepak Sharma, Zonal President Greater India, and MD and CEO SEIPL reveals how the group is committed to investment in technology and expanding production capabilities.

Deepak, this year we are completing 10 years of the Make in India initiative. So how do you see the entire program culminating and how do you see Schneider as a group fit in this initiative too?

Well, first it's a great day today for us because we announced the naming of our existing business L&T switchgear as Loris Knudsen Electrical and Automation. Now coming back to how the Make in India program has helped us and others: I think if you take the fundamentals of how we serve our customers, it has been an expansion in growth by bringing technologies which were designed in India and made in India. So of course it helps us to serve our customers better because then we can build and sell products which are closer to their habits, to your usage, and the climate.

Of course, manufacturing in India gives us a lot of cost optimization, not only for us but because we create an ecosystem of our partners around us which helps us to have an even faster technology development. Because, when you are dependent on other ecosystems, developments are also dependent. So when you have Make in India, it not only helps you to manufacture but it helps you manufacture by developing an entire ecosystem and that ecosystem helps you to innovate faster.

So it's a full chain and again I think it has helped a lot and I am hoping that it will continue with the same spirit.

Thanks for setting the tone for this interaction Deepak. Now if you could talk about the investment plans of Loris Knudsen. You said around Rs 850 crore the company would be investing…

Yes, that's correct! But we would be investing Rs 850 crore in the next three years. We have already started making our investments. However, there are two strong pillars of our investment plans: one will be investment in technology and the second will be making our manufacturing capabilities stronger.

Our focus remains on how we align our investments with innovations that will lead to manufacturing more technologically advanced products for our customers, which includes being digital too.

Our second strong pillar remains on the manufacturing capabilities because to address the demands in India and for export, you need more production. So these are the two strong pillars where we are going to invest most of our Rs 850 crore.

Since you mentioned expanding manufacturing capabilities, tell us about your current capacity utilization and going forward with the demand coming in, how do we see the expansions happening and what could be the time frame that you are looking for?

At Loris Knudsen, we already have around 2.1 million square feet of production capacity. As we speak, we are already building our next mega manufacturing lines to meet the needs of 2024. However, that's not enough. I think the Rs 850 crore commitment we made looking at 2025 and 2026.

Deepak, when we see the group's progress in India in the last 10 years, historically, it's an amalgamation of organic and inorganic growth. So going forward, do we see any M&A activities to expand in the different horizons?

As a company, we have everything we need to serve the country. I think our portfolio is rich and complete with a strong R&D footprint in the country as a group. So for me, we have enough on the plate. But you know, as with any other business, all new ideas are welcome. We have a team that keeps on evaluating new business avenues for the group. So we will see as things progress. But with what we have, we have already a very strong position in the country.

How do you see the groups growing in the next couple of years in the energy sector?

I think we have a very strong energy market in India. The way the infrastructure is being developed, I only see the positive side. So from bringing energy, which is a crucial part of everybody's life, and this demand will only go up because we will need more comfort, more energy to consume.

So for me, with all the investments at the household level, per capita level, and per capita consumption of energy level, it brings a lot of opportunities for companies like us to grow in this country.

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