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bC India 2014 review – fresh hopes after another year of stagnation – Part TWO

DELHI/INDIA, January 26, 2015 - 2014 was a year of debuts: For the first time, the bC India opened its gates in Northern India. Near Delhi, in Greater Noida (UP), 635 exhibitors from 25 countries welcomed 26,000 business visitors. And, for the first time since 1984, the winner of the general elections in the world’s largest democracy captured the absolute majority. Thus, hopes are that the new government under the rule of the Hindu-Nationalist BJP party and prime minister Narendra Modi will be able to pass more laws in less time – without having to coordinate with any Coalition partners. However, in 2014 the new government was only able to change the business sentiments in India: Many exhibitors at the bC India reported they had left crisis mode and were feeling the new, fresh momentum in the country which sparks solid hope for 2015 and 2016.

by Lasse Lommel

Important: This is part two of our bC India 2014 review. To read part one, click here.

Strong presence of German medium-sized enterprises

Hall three of bC India hosted the German pavilion with many specialised medium-sized enterprises and even a few so-called “hidden champions”. Some of them are already successfully operating in the Indian market; others are excited to launch their production while yet some others are on the lookout for new partnerships in order to enter the market.

NUSPL, the German expert for stationary formwork which is part of Vollert Group since 2012, targets to commence production near Delhi by autumn 2015, initially with simple formwork tables. Some parts are going to be sourced locally while the vibration systems will be imported in order to ensure a high product quality, explains Alexander Kaspar, Managing Director. Asked for the effects of the new government, he expresses his hopes in but admits that “it takes time to change things”.

Vollert and NUSPL at bC India 2014

Our bi-ConstructionNews reporter Lasse Lommel meeting Mr. Kasper, Head of NUSPL, and Debashish Roy, Country Head India (left). Both are eager to set up a production facility in India despite the troublesome excise duties which they are willing to put up with. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

Vollert’s competitor SOMMER Anlagentechnik is also present at bC India. Jan Jaap van der Neut, Area Sales Manager, is not as happy with this year’s bC India results as he was with the last bC India in Mumbai 2013. The company’s potential customers from the precast concrete sector are all located in Mumbai and many did not bother to come all the way to Greater Noida. Also due to the general elections, 2014 marked a period of stagnation for Sommer but van der Neut is expectant for the next two years and foresees new drive in the market after Modi’s new budget comes into effect. “The planning is looking good”, adds van der Neut. However, since it takes about a year between first customer contact and the actual construction of a precast element factory, he targets only a handful of sales in 2015.

Sommer Anlagenbau at bC India 2014

Looking forward to 2015 and onwards: Jan Jaap van der Neut (right), Area Sales Manager, and his colleage of Sommer Anlagentechnik at bC India. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

Turning from concrete casting to concrete mixing, BHS-Sonthofen showcased the company’s advanced concrete mixing technology at the bC India. There is stiff competition between manufacturers: “The market is very, very difficult and some companies have already pulled out of the concrete market” says André Däschlein, Director of International Sales. Despite only selling low volumes to end users in 2014, Däschlein points out that the country’s market leader in concrete batching Schwing Stetter India employs BHS technology. In addition, he expects some further demand for BHS mixers as more and more skyscrapers are being erected which require special additives to be mixed into the concrete. To conclude, BHS-Sonthofen India successfully operates in its own niche: It is specialised in providing individual high-tech mixers that cater to the exact, advanced needs of the customer.

BHS Sonthofen at bC India 2014

André Däschlein, Director of International Sales at BHS Sonthofen GmbH, likes coming to India and the company’s Hyderabad office. However, he knows that the current sales volumes are not sufficient to establish a production facility in India. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

The stall of Mesto sprayers was one of the busiest around the block. Perhaps partly due to the large poster which highlighted the product’s distinguishable cost and time saving effects, Export Manager Wolfram Wagner and his team were almost constantly engaged in talks with interested builders and potential partners. Mesto has been selling sprayers in India since 2006 – but mostly for pest control purposes. Now the family enterprise aims to enter the construction market: Their sprayers, which are slightly modified for the Indian market, come in very handy when applying parting fluid onto formwork before the actual casting process. Wagner explains it’s the company’s third time to an exhibition in India and a new experience to directly engage with end users who provide him with a feedback if there is demand for Mesto’s sprayers at Indian construction sites. In order to reach further possible clients, the company visits sites to live demo their sprayers.

MESTO Sprayers at bC India 2014

Happy faces at the Mesto booth: India’s largest engineering and construction company Larsen & Toubro previously ordered Mesto sprayers and is happy with the results. Having L&T as a reference helps to convince other potential customers in India and resulted in many test orders. Wolfram Wagner, export manager, intends to carry the bC India’s momentum into 2015.| photo: bi-ConstructionNews

Apart from concrete and casting technology, the German pavilion featured innovative light equipment. Wimag, a manufacturer of (vacuum) lifting equipment attended bC India in order to find dealership partners. Though initially sceptical after day one’s lack of visitors to the fair, Gerhard Gressbach, Managing Director of Wimag, was able to draw a positive conclusion at the last day: Many interested builders and dealers showed up at the company’s corner stall and Gressbach is optimistic he may have found the right partner.

WiMAG at bC India 2014

From time to time, Gressbach and his wife’s Wimag stall became the motive of many, many cell phone videos while Gressbach demonstrated his vacuum equipment. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

Like Wimag, the Berlin-based company Terratest is looking for a suitable dealership partner in India. Frank Schulz, Managing Director of Terratest, finds it amusing that many visitors inquire about the equipment’s price tag before bothering to ask what it actually does: quick soil compaction tests. And even though Schulz is hoping for some more quality consciousness in India, he was able to establish a number of promising contacts with Indian dealers.

TERRATEST at bC India 2014

Terratest proves that it’s a family business: Father and son run the show at the booth. At times, when Frank Schulz, Managing Director of TERRATEST, is busy, the youngster eagerly demonstrates the company’s deflectometer for quickly measuring the soil compaction quality. The device on display features a wireless Bluetooth connection to a printer that immediately prints out the results of the test. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

Stihl India is a true success story: The Company experienced a 12% growth in 2014 despite the market stagnation. “Quality sells again and again” explains Ajay Kaul, Area Sales Manager Jammu & Kashmir, adding that Stihl does not target “those customers who go for economy”. Stihl sells the same high quality as in Europe and has now about 300 dealers operational in India. Only in Northern India, business is difficult as Kashmir was hit by record-breaking floods in the summer.

Stihl India at bC India 2014

Ajay Kaul and his colleague proudly present Stihl’s new electric cutter. Besides the cutter, Stihl also released new car cleaning equipment. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

GEDA Dechentreiter at bC India 2014

Markus Dommer, Area Sales Manager at GEDA-Dechentreiter smiles with confidence at the end of bC India’s last day but stresses the high price-sensitivity of the Indian market. Therefore, GEDA has decided to develop an entirely new low-cost product for non-EU countries. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

Debating at the doka stall at bC India 2014

Doka Product manager Ankit Khandelwa relies on a better future for formwork in India. In the first half of 2014, the comapny experienced stagnation as projects stalled due to the common and frequent problems cited in part one of our review. If going to North india gain, he'd prefer Pragati Maidan in Delhi as a location over India Expo Mart in Greater Noida. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

The Peri stall at bC India 2014

Peri is part of many prestige projects in India like World One in Mumbai – yet while they serve as a reference, these projects don’t generate much profit. Shrenik Sutariya, Regional Engineer West at Peri India, explains he anticipates further construction of skyscrapers in Mumbai. Similar to so many other exhibitors, he expects strong growth under the new government. Like underground specialist Herrenknecht, Sutariya feels decision makers need a top-up on their technical understanding – pure business skills are not sufficient to make qualified decisions. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

Goldhofer at bC India 2014

Happy faces despite difficult market at Goldhofer, market leader for imported trailers in India. The German family business is proud to announce its new innovations like SPMT 2.0 with an adjustable track width. It allows heavy duty modules to be carried on standard flat racks while still being capable of carrying heavy duty loads of up to 400t. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

Heavy duty transport specialist Goldhofer would have liked to introduce some new innovations to his customers but unfortunately most transport businesses are based in Mumbai. Therefore, Jean-Phillipe Martin, Area Sales Manager, opted for an indoor stall instead of demonstrating equipment outside. With regards to bC India’s location and timing, Martin expressed his disappointment and added “We hope they [Messe München, editor’s note] will return to rationality”. However, Goldhofer is optimistic for the future and expects a rise in sales in late 2015 and 2016. Ajanthas Kumarathas, Area Manager Sales of Tii Group, agrees with his competitor and reports far less visitors from the transportation sector at bC India than expected. He expects rising sales by the end of 2015 and adds: “India is a promising and steadily growing market for us.”

Tii Sales Team at bC India 2014

Ajanthas Kumarathas und Mr. Matthieu at the bC India 2014. | photo: Tii Sales

This was part Two of our bC India review. We hope you liked it. Part Three covers the Chinese equipment manufacturers who are challenging common stereotypes.

Click here for Part THREE

Click here for Part ONE