We expect more packages from the government
Considering further revenue loss and anticipated reduced demand for the upcoming months, we expect more packages from the government, says VG Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India. He elaborates on the emerging market scenario.

Which segments drive the demand for concrete equipment in India?
Concreting equipment finds application in various infrastructure segments like roads, railways, metro rail, airports, ports, irrigation, bridges, and industrial projects, mega projects like refinery and power, residential and commercial construction.

How do you look at the current scenario in the concrete equipment market?
In the emerging scenario, especially after the outbreak of Covid-19, India-based companies would like to rely more on local vendors to avoid uncertainties. Besides, a large number of global equipment and components buyers are expected to start in Indian market as an alternative to China, for which the Indian Government is already formulating plans and strategies. In this unfolding scenario, the construction equipment (CE) industry must also adopt attractive and innovative strategies to attract global equipment and components buyers to the Indian construction equipment manufacturing market.

How is Covid-19 pandemic affecting the market stability, which was recovering from an ongoing slowdown?
The March turnover was not as per the plan due to the sudden lockdown of factories and construction activities in India. April was completely a standstill and the extended lockdown is likely to hit the May turnover also. The economic hardship has affected right from the daily wage workers to corporate companies, small businesses, MSMEs and practically every commercial establishment. As the CE sector is affected since 2019 due to issues like reduced demand, NBFC problem, automotive slowdown (BS4 to BS6 issues), etc, this sudden lockdown has further added to our woes.

What is your strategy to stay afloat in this turbulent condition?
The immediate concern is to take care of the people in the organisation and the customers. We will be doing everything to reduce the cost and postpone certain capital expenditures. We will be looking for niche markets to improve and compensate the sales drop in domestic and export markets.

Will you be focusing on new product developments and market expansion in the difficult market conditions?
As the Government of India has allowed to restarting construction, our new factory's construction is going on with necessary safety measures. As and when the need arises, we will be launching new products according to the customer and market requirement.

What kind of policy support do you expect from the government to streamline the market conditions?
Considering further revenue loss and anticipated reduced demand for the upcoming months, we expect more packages from the government. While making the announcement of earlier packages, the government was not anticipating the lockdown to be lasting so long. We expect support from the government in the following ways:

Financial package to support workforce salary, payments and for contract workforce.
Extended moratorium for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and rental companies.
Opening up of more infrastructure sites so that more people are employed and money can be made available in their hands.
Interest subsidy for capital expenditure (Capex) projects that are under progress.

What is your outlook on the concrete equipment industry?
Recently, the Union Finance Minister has clarified and identified on infrastructure projects in pipeline. We expect more money will be spent in the initial years to help the recovery to happen faster.