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Sumit Bidani

MODERNISATION Developing environment-friendly products

Nov 30, 2018

Sumit Bidani, CEO, USG Boral India, in this interview with Suchi Adhikari, shares his insights on the building products technology and the importance of upskilling workers so as to make a significant impact in the overall value chain. Excerpts…

What are the latest trends and developments in manufacturing within your sector globally? How is USG Boral coping with these developments?

The development of sustainable building and construction materials is on the rise. The construction sector is now open to new and efficient technologies in building materials and construction. At USG Boral, the focus has been on developing innovative and environment-friendly building products and solutions. Our Corporate Innovation Centre (CIC) and Research and Development Centre (RDC) are state-of-the-art workplaces utilised in the research, testing, materials analysis and pilot operations of our high-performance products and systems. We offer a wide range of innovative building products and systems to help simplify the design and specification process.

With the global focus on the Indian market, what is your company’s commitment to the Indian market?

Our company started operations in India in 2014, following the joint venture announced worldwide. In India, we have a 9 million sq m plasterboard and metal plant in Khushkhera, near New Delhi and a joint compound and putty plant in Solavram, Chennai. USG Boral also has an automatic tooling unit to produce metal profiles at Khushkhera Alwar, Rajasthan. Our India business has witnessed significant growth and we have recently launched 30 million sq m of plasterboard facility at Sri City, Andhra Pradesh. This new facility strongly positions the company to continue supplying to our customers in the South, especially as demand for high quality and strength plasterboard products grows in the medium and long term.

With respect to the solutions being offered by your company,
how has the response been from the Indian market compared
to other markets?

The speed with which Gypsum Drywalls and ceilings are getting accepted is encouraging. The adoption is fast and it is starting to move towards reaching a critical mass, especially in the commercial applications in IT/ITES, BPO, BFSI, commercial interiors, organised retail stores, malls, etc. The next step is to take it to smaller towns and get into residential. A key success factor for increasing consumption has an interesting link to the value chain—how to upskill the installers and contractors, besides creating accelerated awareness with influencers and specifiers so that they build confidence with customers to adopt these modern building solutions.

Ease of doing business has been a major component of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Can you give us your opinion on the changes that you have witnessed in this context?

USG Boral is glad to be a part of this initiative by manufacturing products in India through its facilities in Chennai, Khushkhera and our third plant in India at Sri City, Andhra Pradesh. The ‘Make In India’ initiative has introduced multiple new initiatives, promoting foreign direct investment, implementing intellectual property rights and developing the manufacturing sector. These will go a long way in empowering the local manufacturing in India.

What are your company’s short-term and long-term plans for the Indian market?

Our business in India has experienced strong growth. We have recently launched our largest manufacturing plant with 30 million sq m plasterboard capacity at Sri City, Andhra Pradesh that supports our commitment to the region as the company looks for ways to better serve its customers. An investment of US$ 39 million is being made in this new facility. The Sri City facility is in line with our overall strategy to grow our business in India and establish USG Boral as the leading player in the building products technology and solutions space in the country. The focus is to present Indian customers with innovative products and introduce them to green construction and green-rated building solutions.

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