The Italian retreading equipment manufacturer Marangoni S.p.A continues to expand its footprint in the Indian market through its Indo-Italian joint venture Marangoni GRP Private Limited (MGPL), which opened its first franchise in the Western part of the country in early August.
New Franchisee in Jamnagar
“We already operate two franchisees in Chennai and Cochin with the third being inaugurated at Jamnagar in order to introduce the Marangoni Ring Tread system in the Western part of the country,” stated Harsh Gandhi, CEO, MGPL. Jamnagar is located around 100 km from Rajkot in Gujarat.
On plans for expanding the franchisee network further within the Indian market, Gandhi commented; “There are two more plants in the pipeline including Hyderabad (Telangana), which will be opened soon, followed by Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu). Both are likely to be operational within the next couple of months.”
According to Gandhi, the plan to is to have six franchisees in operation by the end of 2019. The JV also operates two dedicated flat tread franchisees in Hissar (Haryana) and Bijapur (Karnataka).
Overall, the Indian market is shaping-up on expected lines for the Indo-Italian retread venture. “We have been expecting the volumes to come more from flat treads than the Ring Tread system, but the response from fleets has been so positive that volumes from both systems have been evenly distributed,” stated Gandhi.
So far, with the exception of the new Gujarat facility, Marangoni-GRP has expanded mostly in the Southern part of the country. “However, this should not be construed as a deliberate attempt to focus on the South,” clarified Gandhi, However, in terms of retreading quality, the Southern part of India is a more developed market, whereas, the North is still evolving.”
The company, however, continues to scout for suitable partners in all parts of the country with no particular timeline fixed. Currently, the functional sites have a cumulative production of 5,000 tyres per month.
The Jamnagar franchisee Pushpak Logistics Solutions LLP operates a site under name Pushtik Ringtread. Originally specialised in coastal transportation, the company operates about 105 fleet/multi-axle trailers spread over Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Its fleets operational in Kerala are serviced at the Marangoni-GRP franchisee at Cochin, which has inspired the owners to open the new retread site at Jamnagar.
All MGPL current franchisees bear a striking resemblance to each other, as all are directly connected with the transport sector and operate big fleets of their own. “They are all very well aware of the increasing radialisation in the Indian market and its impact on retreading. The Ringtread system offers low CPK (cost per km), and therefore fits well in their business platform,” stressed Gandhi.
Changing Dynamics in Indian Market
Commenting on the changing dynamics of the Indian retreading scenario, Vittorio Marangoni, President, Marangoni stated, “Retreading has a promising future in India, and it’s certainly an advantage to be able to start at a point in time, when retreading dynamics are transforming in India to a scenario where retreading is now more offered as a fleet servicing and CPK concept.”
Marangoni anticipates good opportunities in such a big market, which is increasingly turning towards radialisation. The JV believes it is always good to start from scratch. “India is a huge market full of possibilities, and the advantage lies in starting here from zero, whereas, in other markets of the same stature, a change of mindset is required,” he emphasised.
The Jamnagar unit is projected as a ‘model site’ as it is installed with a Ring Tread Builder shipped from Marangoni’s Italian site rather than the domestically built machinery that is installed in other India based plants. “Every market needs customisation of equipment and we have customised the plant machinery according to Indian requirements, he added.”
The Ring Tread builder installed at Jamnagar site incorporates more electronic features, besides being connected to service online from Italy.
Meanwhile, the JV has plans to start manufacturing Ring Tread Builders in India depending on market requirements.
Gujarat is now being promoted as one of the most promising states in terms of investment. It has a new tyre market of around 90,000 tyres per month with a level of radialisation similar to the national average of 57-58%.
The Western Indian state is not a typical overloading market and could be evolved as a promising retread market, according to Marangoni. “The overloaded markets offer less potential for retreading, whereas underload markets are characterised as high-volume retread markets,” said Hemant Kaul, CEO, MGPL.
The new site is based at Jamnagar’s Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) complex locates on Mumbai highway. Jamnagar is regarded as a trucking market, and the site plans to offer retreading solutions for mining, long haul and short haul fleets.
Pushtik to further strengthen relationship with MGPL
The owner of the Jamnagar franchise, who had been servicing his fleets at the Cochin (Kerala) based franchisee Autobahn, has professed himself to be impressed with the performance on the RingTread retreads, and this has driven the company to introduce the Ring Tread system in the Gujarat market also. The new franchisee has plans to further expand in the Gujarat market with MGPL with a further site over the course of the coming year.
“We are keen on further strengthening our relationship by setting up a second site in the Kutch region, which is one of the biggest trucking hubs in Gujarat, but right now, our focus is on operating the Jamnagar site successfully,” informed Rahul B Modi, Managing Director, Pushtik Ring Tread.
Pushtik is a part of the diversified Modi Mineral Group engaged in the business of minerals, pharma, real estate and logistics. The group subsidiary Pushpak Logistics Solutions LLP owns more than 100 multi-axle trailers and controls 30-35% of the coastal container business.
On asking if the plant would handle the group-owned fleets or the outside business also, Modi adds, “the site caters to both the company owned fleets as well as to the open market of the region.
“Jamnagar alone has more than 15 retreading plants but in the unorganised market most of the sites operate on basic equipment, whereas this site is installed with the best retreading machinery, offering a good product which needs to be price higher,” he emphasised.
The plant is initially targeting 600 retreads each month and will start retreading 1,000 tyres per month in the next quarter. It plans to service tankers, buses and tippers, as the region has several bauxite mines with a couple of them owned by the owners themselves.