Chennai-based Wheels India Ltd., a well-known maker of steel wheels, is looking to bounce back on the exports front in FY24.
After having crossed the milestone of Rs.1000-crore in exports in FY22, the company had a flat year in FY23 on the back of a customer destocking for about four months and a slowdown in Europe as a result of the Ukraine war.
MD Srivats Ram says, "This year looks promising on the exports front."
Managing Director Srivats Ram said that the global environment was uncertain. Nevertheless, the company is aiming for a double digit growth in exports this year. “We have seen a positive start to the year and expect this trend to continue. We are looking to build on our existing relationships with global customers and get into new platforms. Overall, this year looks promising on the exports front,” he said
He said that there was a perceptible slowdown in Europe with inflation still being high and it felt like hitting a brake. “The good news is that once you hit it full, then it will have to be released slowly. Customers expect things to improve in Europe by Q3 this year,” he said.
While there was a slowdown in the U.S. too, it was, however, not to any dramatic level, he added. “It is a gradual Slow down there,” Mr. Srivats Ram said. The U.S. has triggered IRA (moving towards infra for clean energy) and this would lead to increased investment. Since the U.S. companies were looking at de-risking as a strategy, that would provide opportunities for Indian manufacturing companies, he said.
With orders in cast aluminium wheels segment kicking off this month and a second customer expected in the third quarter of this year as well as machining for wind mills seeing good demand, the company is investing in a CapEx of Rs. 200 crore, up from Rs. 143 crore last year. Nevertheless, he struck a note of caution. He indicated that the company would be prudent in its CapEx investment.
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