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“We have 60-65% share in the organized solar pumps market”

By Rahul Kamat,

Added 09 May 2022

From making energy-efficient pumps and motors to foraying into the electric vehicle segment, Dinesh Patidar’s Shakti Pumps is growing stronger and bolder. In an exclusive interview, Dinesh Patidar, Chairman and Managing Director, shares his vision, investment plans and more with Rahul Kamat

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“Mein ek garib parivar se aata hu and apne babuji ko ghar chalane me madad karne ke liye me sabjiya bechta tha” (I belonged to a low-income household and had to sell vegetables at the tender age of 13 to help my father to run the house), said Dinesh Patidar, Chairman & Managing Director, Shakti Pumps (India) Limited while beginning his hour-long interview with me talking about his company’s 40-year journey passionately. Starting as a mere stainless steel pump manufacturer in India in 1982, Patidar invented the solar pumping solutions, which have changed the course of the company and the agriculture industry.

“My major areas of interest were designing and developing new products, experimenting with new ideas and working on complex engineering challenges,” claimed Patidar. True to his nature, Patidar’s Shakti Pumps recently ventured into manufacturing electronic controllers and motors for electric vehicles — two and three-wheelers. Now, he is preparing to offer similar products for the four-wheeler industry.

THE JOURNEY

The story of Shakti Pumps is nothing less than a rollercoaster ride. In 1982, Patidar, his father and “a partner”, started the company. However, three years later, in 1985, the company suffered its first setback when Sr Patidar and his partner amicably parted away.

“We initially struggled a bit, but when the business grew, we decided to list the company in 1995 publicly,” an excited Patidar said. “We got the required capital, and from there on, our journey moved at a certain pace, expanding the business gradually, and the rest is the history.”

During the 40-year journey, Shakti Pumps achieved various accolades and accreditations. The company manufactures nearly 5 lakh pumps per annum and can manufacture up to 10 lakh. It was the first company in India to be awarded the BEE 5-star rating for its energy-efficient pumps. “Today, we have over 270 pump models with the BEE 5-star ratings, and all our products are UL certified for product safety and reliability, which helps the company enhance market acceptability in the US, Canada and other developed countries,” Patidar exclaimed.

Despite the accolades and accreditation, the company realized it was glaring at a grave problem of brand visibility in the market. “We weren’t much known in the market and somehow had to increase our visibility,” Patidar said. In 2013 when solar pumps were not used in the agriculture sector, the company had to engage actor Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador to help market the products and communicate the USPs.

What was the result? The engagement of the megastar of the century helped the company get much-needed national recognition. “However, we definitely couldn’t afford him and the extravagant expenses on ad shoots, but somehow managed it for the greater good of our company,” Patidar said on a lighter note.

As we speak, the rapid transformation is delivering growth. In 2020-21, the company’s revenue from operations increased 143 per cent year-on-year to Rs 929.66 crore. Net profit rose to Rs 75.59 crore from a net loss of Rs 14.08 crore in the previous fiscal. Of the past year’s revenue, Rs 560 crore came from the solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) business and Rs 180 crore from exports. The company had a market cap of Rs 1,000 crore in the second week of February.

Download the full interview: www.themachinist.in

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