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Cement maker Dalmia Bharat aiming to emerge stronger, despite sluggish industry growth

Expects industry to rebound amid push for infrastructure projects and affordable housing

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Cement maker, Dalmia Bharat, Sluggish market condition, Cost reduction, Premiumisation, COVID-19 pandemic, Government's push towards big infrastructure projects, Affordable housing, Digitalisation, Remote-controlled plants, CRISIL, Displacement of labour, Brownfield capacity expansion, Eastern India, Carbon negative by 2040, Cement Manufacturers Association

Cement maker Dalmia Bharat said it is aiming to emerge stronger despite a sluggish market condition, helped by initiatives such as cost reduction, marketing initiatives and premiumisation. Besides, the company expects the cement industry, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, to rebound amid the government's push towards big infrastructure projects and affordable housing.

"The global economy was weak in FY20, the outlook remains bleak with most of the economists forecasting negative GDP and industry growth in FY21.

"Notwithstanding this, Dalmia Bharat is poised to emerge stronger owing to initiatives related to cost reduction, marketing and premiumisation," the company said in its annual report for 2019-20.

The firm would have a "greater emphasis" on digitalisation and remote-controlled plants.

Citing a report by rating agency Crisil, the company said, "The cement industry demand could contract 10-15 per cent."

"The displacement of the labour could delay demand recovery," it added.

However, the company expects the government's push towards big infrastructure projects and affordable housing to help the industry come back on the growth trajectory.

"Riding the increasing focus of the government on affordable housing and infrastructure creation, the cement industry is expected to record reasonable growth once the impact of the pandemic recedes," it said.

Dalmia Bharat has positioned itself to take advantage of such "tailwinds" and taken several initiatives, it said.

The company is undertaking 7.8 million tonnes of brownfield capacity expansion in eastern India. Besides, it is "strengthening the logistics of the back of superior technology and digitisation." Dalmia Bharat's revenue from operation in FY20 stood at Rs 9,674 crore. The company has committed to be carbon negative by 2040, it added.

According to industry body the Cement Manufacturers Association, India is the second-largest cement producing country after China with an installed capacity of 545 million tonnes per annum.

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