Voltas Ltd, a Tata Group company and leading air-conditioner manufacturer, is considering to set up a new manufacturing plant in South India as part of its expansion plans, said a top company official. The company, which has plants at Waghodia (Gujarat), Pantnagar (Uttarakhand) and Sanand (Gujarat), is now exploring to have a new manufacturing hub in South as the company believes domestic manufacturing will play an important role going ahead.
"The country is becoming self reliant and we are expanding our manufacturing capacity. We are exploring to have a new hub of manufacturing in Southern India as we have factories in North and West India at Pantnagar and Sanand for Voltas Beko," Voltas Managing Director & CEO Pradeep Bakshi told .
He further said the company is looking for a new unit for the air conditioner segment and commercial refrigeration segment in the South.
"We are trying to explore all the possibilities and gearing up, so that we remain meaningful, closer to our consumer and able to provide the best products and service," he added.
Commenting on the air-conditioning industry, Bakshi said he expects it to "de-grow by almost 30 per cent" this year, due to COVID-19 induced lockdown, which disrupted sales during the peak summer season starting from March.
He, however, said the company is still "hopeful" about sales and expects the market to pick up in the remaining four weeks of the summer season largely due to late arrival of summer and projections of a longer and harsher summer by the the India Meteorological Department.
On Voltas' business during the lockdown, Bakshi said, "while the consumer durables business slowed down, the projects division that accounts for nearly 45 per cent of our turnover, was in operation at most of the customer sites that cater to essential services."
Voltas is operating across 260 customer sites in India to support infrastructure like hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.
Moreover, its international projects business across Middle East and Singapore have remained operational throughout this period.
"M&CE (Mining and construction equipment) - has remained operational in some sites in India and fully operational in a larger coal mining project in Mozambique," he said.
Last month, Voltas had reported 12.52 per cent increase in its consolidated net profit at Rs 159.50 crore in the March quarter. Its income was up 1.41 per cent to Rs 2,150.09 crore.
Voltas, which has witnessed gains in the online sales, expects this channel to be more relevant in the post-COVID-19 times.
Besides, the company also expects demand for kitchen and home appliances products which includes dishwashers, dryers, microwave ovens, to go up in the post COVID-19 scenario.
The Tata group firm operates in the segment through Voltas Beko, a 50:50 JV with Turkish firm Arcelik.