Published by : Business India
From setting up the country’s first downstream aluminium extrusion facility in 1968, Jindal Aluminium Ltd (JAL) has come a long way. Today, the Bengaluru headquartered company is the largest manufacturer of aluminium extruded products in the country. The R2,900 crore privately held entity boasts of an installed capacity of 1,25,000 mtpa of extrusions, commanding a 30 percent share in the domestic market. besides, it is also a leading player in flat rolled products with 50,000 mtpa of installed capacity which meets over 10 percent of market requirements. The company is the second largest manufacturer in the country of aluminium flat rolled products after the Aditya Birla group-owned Hindalco.
Besides meeting the domestic requirement of aluminium extruded products as also aluminium flat rolled products like sheets and foils, the company is one of the largest exporters of aluminium extruded products. It currently exports 20 per cent (up from 10 percent one year ago) of its production to countries like the US, UK, Australia, South Africa, Middle East, Sri Lanka and South East Asian countries. In all, the company offers more than 8,000 different shapes and sizes of aluminium extruded sections and profiles, meeting the requirements of a variety of segments, and also customised items.
In fact, JAL pioneered the country’s aluminium extrusion industry where aluminium goes through critical value addition as the metal is engineered to create downstream products that have a wide range of applications in areas like building and construction, transportation, automobiles, transmission and distribution, automation, solar, electrical and electronic, medical, air-conditioning and textiles.
Its marketing policy and strategy are now being followed by over 100 extruder makers, including other leading players such as Hindalco, Indo Alloys, Sudal Industries, Century Aluminium, etc. the company also has a large clientele, which includes public and private sector players such as HAL, BHEL, BARC, VSSC, Dynamatic Technologies, LMW, ABB, L&T, Kirloskar, Godrej, Siemens, Tat-BP, Cummins, GE and Mico-Bosch, as also ordnance factories. Aluminium is the second most used metal in the world after steel, with an annual consumption of 88 million tonnes (including scrap). It is also the fastest growing metal and has grown by nearly 20 times in the last 60 years (compared to six to seven times for other metals). some of its unique properties like being lightweight, recyclability, conductivity, non-corrosiveness and durability have helped establish it as a metal of choice for various applications across various segments of the manufacturing sector. Due to the above properties, aluminium is also called ‘the metal of the future’.
“Being lighter (three times lighter than steel), it aids in fuel efficiency making it an efficient choice for automotive, defence and aviation. the construction industry relies on a variety of aluminium alloys in the manufacture of products ranging from exterior siding to structural components due to its durability and non-corrosive properties. Its ability to conduct heat and electricity also makes aluminium a popular choice in the electrical and electronics industries. Coupled with infinitely recyclable properties, aluminium is a convenient option for the packaging industry, which uses it for beverage cans and foils,” says VK Saraswat, member, NITL Aayog, who formerly served as the director general of the Defence Research and Development Organisation and was the Chief scientific Advisor to the defence minister.
Equipped with 11 aluminium extrusion presses, the company, backed by over 2,500 employees, has a modern tool shop capable of producing high quality and intricate dies, backed up by an international quality billet casting facility. JAL, with extrusion facilities across two locations: Bengaluru and Dabaspet near Bengaluru, has led the industry in installing technological and modern equipment in order to obtain high quality aluminium profiles. the company boasts of presses ranging from 750 Ust to 4,000 Ust capacity, even as it has put up a billet casting facility (hot top casting) imported from the Us and a modern tool shop equipped with the latest CNC, EDM wire cut and other ancillary equipment.
JAL’s aluminium flat rolled products plant at Dabaspet is equipped with the latest equipment for producing aluminium sheets, coils, foils, circles and other flat products in various alloys and thicknesses. the facility has a captive foundry, holding furnaces and casters for making quality products ranging from 0.009 mm to 5 mm in thickness.
“We have set up world class manufacturing facilities for manufacturing a wide range of extrusions and flat-rolled products. Committed towards quality, we continuously strive for customer satisfaction. In our five-decade-old journey, we have been associated with some of the world’s finest companies in their growth and success. In fact, our company has elevated the status of aluminium. We have done so by designing and manufacturing innovative value added aluminium products and solutions for a broad range of applications,” says Pragun Jindal Khaitan, 29, vice chairman and managing director, JAL. “We have invested in technology and quality to set the industry benchmark. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, I am pleased to see success in the form of being India’s largest extruder,” says Sitaram Jindal, 88, founder and chairman, JAL.
Coming from a family which decided to get into business (from being in farming in Hisar, Haryana) in the 1950s by setting up a manufacturing factory for steel pipes, bends and sockets at Liluah near Kolkata (and thereafter a large steel pipe factory, Jindal India Ltd, in Hisar), Jindal envisioned a future beyond steel and wanted to do something that could lay the foundation for another vital industry (aluminium was a relatively new metal at that time but held a lot of promise due to its inherent characteristics). since the Karnataka government was offering incentives for industries, he decided to move out of Kolkata and laid the foundation of the present Jindal Aluminium Ltd, by setting up an aluminium extrusion facility in Bengaluru. Apart from supportive state government policies, the then madras-based public sector Malco (now part of Vedanta resources) readily provided a free flow of the raw material, procured from Orissa, which had an abundant supply of aluminium. Also, in Bengaluru, the land was cheaper and aplenty, and there was an ample supply of electricity as well.
Born to Netram Jindal and Chandravali Devi on 12 September 1932 in the remote village of Nalwa in Hisar, Haryana, Jindal was the fourth of five brothers (Devisahay, Bhavichand, Om Prakash, Sitaram and Madanlal) all of whom later became well known and carved niches for themselves in different businesses. Om Prakash Jindal, who passed away on 31 March, 2005, established a successful business enterprise – Jindal steel and power under the flagship of the Jindal group, of which he was the chairman. Om Prakash’s four sons, Prithviraj (Jindal saw Ltd), Sajjan (JSW steel), rattan (Jindal stainless) and Naveen Jindal (Jindal steel and power) are well known names in the industry.
With grit and determination, Jindal, the younger brother of Om Prakash, put up the country’s largest aluminium extruder which has continued to maintain its leadership in the downstream aluminium sector. For the last decade or so, he has found able leadership in his grandson, Pragun. Having joined the business as a whole time director, Pragun was elevated as managing director of the company in 2017, even as Jindal took a backseat, overseeing the business. In 2020, Pragun was given the additional responsibility of vice-chairman of the company.
Jindal spends quality time in various social and charitable activities. He was instrumental in establishing and running several charitable institutions in the field of education, health and social welfare. Sitaram Jindal Foundation, the erstwhile SJ Jindal trust established in 1969 by Jindal, is one of the leading NGOs in the country. besides, his real passion also lies in the great elemental forces of nature and their curative and sustaining powers. the blossoming of this interest led him to create Jindal Naturecure Institute, a world-renowned Naturopathy and Yoga hospital set up on 115 acres on the outskirts of Bengaluru in 1978. “my grandfather is a true visionary.
He could foresee the potential of aluminium which was still a new metal. Getting into a completely new business and, that too in a new location, was definitely a challenge. but he did it and made a distinct mark for his business. He always believed in adopt- ing newer technologies and manufacturing quality products that live up to customer expectations. At JAL, we are all constantly working towards pursuing this vision,” says Pragun who has put up a roadmap where the company aims to grow at a CAGr of 15 percent in the next 10 years, even as it has grown at a CAGr of around 10 percent in the last five years.
In the last fiscal year, the company, owing to Covid related challenges, saw its revenue marginally down to R2,887 crore from R2,965 crore in the previous year. While the domestic market was sluggish, the company managed to make up some of this in the exports market where its sales doubled to 20 percent as compared to that in FY20. Last year, the company produced 80,409 mt of extrusion products, 34,609 mt of rolled products and 927 mt of powder coating.