Rakesh Verma Simon India
Rakesh Verma, CEO, Simon India Ltd, discloses why he is so upbeat about the company’s sustained progress from a ₹100 crore entity in 2016-17 to a targeted ₹600 crore in the next few years, and how their engineering expertise in diverse heavy industries is propelling the EPC business growth. Excerpts from an interview with Maria R & Seema Gupta. Please tell us about the Adventz Group and its various business verticals.
Adventz Group has a significant presence in agriculture, engineering & infrastructure, real estate, consumer durables and services, all of which are the key drivers of Indian Economy. It is a major producer of a wide range of high-quality complex fertilizers and other agricultural inputs such as seeds, pesticides, micronutrients and specialty fertilizers. It is also one of the largest manufacturers (in the private sector) of new gen freight wagons and hydromechanical equipment.
The Group has engineering expertise and offers technical consultancy, project management and contracting services to chemical, fertilizer, oil & gas, petrochemical, power, and other infrastructure projects. It ventured into real estate with the aim of creating world-class yet affordable homes and office spaces. In the consumer durables segment, the Group manufactures state-ofthe-art, RTA furniture, a complete range of fittings and hardware to cater to all the three segments of furniture manufacturing (office, residential and kitchen & bath). Adventz Group represents many well-known brands and has a fantastic synergy of human talent, technological expertise and financial prowess across diverse sectors.
What is the business profile of the Adventz Group’s EPC arm- Simon India Ltd?
Adventz, which originated from the Zuari Group, currently has 26 companies under its banner with various verticals such as agro, lifestyle, engineering and infrastructure. Texmaco, for instance, provides complete rail solutions from coaches to tracks, metros, dedicated corridors etc. Simon India is the EPC, which was set up in 1995 following a 50:50 JV between the Zuari Group and UK company Simon Carves chemical division, which was pioneering niche chemicals’ technologies. The JV was formed to cater to fertilizers that need very niche chemicals like sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid etc. Slowly they started some EPC work also and established offices in Saudi Arabia, where they took on some very good projects in chemicals and petrochemicals, including EPC of our inhouse acid plant.
In 2005, the Zuari Group took over the 50% of the JV and set up Simon India as its wholly owned subsidiary. The business entered petrochemicals and waste heat recovery in cement plants. The heat that comes out of cement plants is utilized to make steam and the steam drives the turbine and generates power, which is utilized for internal usages. This project was acquired two years back and is now commissioned and is producing more than the rated/promised capacity. Today, Simon India offers technical consultancy, project management and EPC Contracting services to Chemical, Fertiliser, Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, Cement & Power and other Infrastructure projects.
What are Simon India’s strengths and how has it grown over the years?
There was a time of industrial slowdown and businesses like ours were simply surviving. This was during 2014 to 2016. I joined this company in 2017 from L&T, prior to which I was with Samsung, and for a very long time with Engineers India Limited (EIL). So, I carried reasonably a rich experience in heavy industries.
At Simon India, my initial efforts were on reviving the business, whose size at the time was not right for any company. Simon had an employee strength of 200 people and you need a minimum of ₹200 -300 crore of business. My target was to reach to ₹500 crores in 4-5 years.