Our Vision Is To Emerge As a Global Leader In The Manufacturing Of Industrial & Military Explosives: Manish Nuwal
Solar Industries is one of the leading global industrial explosives manufacturer with presence across the globe with footprints in more than 51 nations & facilities in five countries. Securing propellant booster for Brahmos Missile & Pinaka Rocket is the testimony of the capabilities of India's emerging defence industry. Marking such foray in defence, Manish Nuwal, MD & CEO, Solar Industries speaks with BW Businessworld's Manish Kumar Jha.
Photo Credit : Solar Industries,
Please tell us about the Solar industries and your foray in Defence?
Solar Industries is one of the leading global industrial explosives manufacturer. We have presence across the globe with footprints in more than 51 nations and manufacturing facilities in five countries. In India, we are present across the country with 25 manufacturing facilities. Our Nagpur facility at Maharashtra is world's largest in terms of packaged explosives manufacturing.
We forayed into defence business in FY10, which includes high energy materials, composite propellants, ammunitions, fuzes ,warheads & rockets and missiles. Our foray into defence segment makes us the country’s leading manufacturer of Ammunition in the private sector. Though this segment is contributing about 7% to the total revenues at present, we believe the segments’ revenue contribution will increase considerably over the coming years.
Could you talk about your core competencies and the range of defence products for the Armed Forces?
We have created the state of art facilities backed by our strong team.
We have secured Transfer of Technology (TOT) agreement from Government of India for manufacturing propellant booster for Brahmos missile and Pinaka Rocket. The defence products for the Armed forces include High Energy Materials (HMX, RDX, TNT & Compounds), Composite Propellants for (Pinaka, Akash, Brahmos etc), Filling of Ammunitions, Fuses, pyros and Ignitiors and Rocket Integration. We are one of the most integrated players in the ammunition space.
What are challenges you face in the defence sector?
Safety and Security remains the biggest challenge for our business operations as the industry is prone to accidents. In terms of regulations in industry, the defence industry is heavily regulated by the government and any adverse change in these regulations could impact the company's operations.
Regarding the raw materials, any prolonged unavailability of these materials and volatility in its prices can impact plants operations. Moreover, any geo-political risk can also hamper operations at overseas facilities. Though, there are all these challenges, we at Solar Industries are well equipped to face these in terms of better backward integration and compliance with strict regulatory & safety norms.
Could you talk about your future propositions that you will be catering to the needs of the Armed Forces?
Our foray into defence segment made us the country’s leading manufacturer of Ammunition in the private sector. During the first quarter of FY20, we received order for Guided Pinaka Rocket from Ministry of Defence. The RFPs (Request for Proposal) for multiple ammunitions have been floated by the ministry for domestic private manufacturers. We have also participated in these multiple RFPs issued by Ministry for Ammunitions and we expect that these will start to materialise soon.
We are very positive about the floating of more RFPs by the government for private players in the coming periods considering the needs of Armed Forces and aim towards Make-in-India mission. Our competencies allow us to participate in these which will eventually help our nation in becoming self-reliant in ammunition.
How much do you invest in developing technology indigenously?
Technology, Research and Development have been the integral part at Solar Industries. Our R&D team has developed new products over the years, adapting to dynamic customer needs and evolving industry standards. The past five years have been a milestone years for R&D at Solar in the field of new products development, products efficiency improvements and up-gradation of products quality and performance. We continue making considerable investments in up-gradation of technology at our capacities which has helped us substantially in our business operations.
We also understand the importance of innovation and we continuously make efforts to deliver differentiated value for our consumers. Through these efforts, we have been able to improve our global presence and productivity at our operations which eventually help us in providing better value to our patrons.
GOI is encouraging the private industry to scale up. How’d you look at this? Could you suggest few policies direction that could further help you grow and scale up?
Government of India is really encouraging the private industry to scale up as India imports around 60% of its defence requirements. We believe that it’s the Govt’s one of the top priority to make the country as one of the major supplier for domestic and international needs.
With the introduction of Defence Procurement Policy(DPP) , the procurement procedures have been laid which have enabled the private players to promote indigenous designs & supply ammunitions to armed forces. We are very hopeful about these policies which is a big positive step in the direction of "Make in India" Program. The defence ministry has already been floated RFP's for domestic private manufacturers for the supply of a range of ammunitions which is really boosting for the private industry. We are participating in RFP's for which technical bids are going on.
The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) is also a big business opportunity for private players for the next few decades. Moreover, the government is framing space policy to create an environment for private industry to serve India's commercial and strategic needs, and also make India a global space technology hub.
Our proposed foray in space sector is to develop and offer products which will cater to the demand of ISRO and other companies in India and across the globe.