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Pipes Maker Truflo is Manufacturing Water Tanks Now

‘Truflo by Hindware’ is the brand under which Brilloca Ltd markets its range of polymer pipes and fittings and the recently launched overhead water storage tanks. The brand was earlier owned by Brilloca’s sister company HSIL Ltd. Pipes maker Truflo is manufacturing water tanks since last month, at its plant in Hyderabad which it set up with an investment of ₹10 crore.

According to Rajesh Pajnoo, CEO of Brilloca’s pipes division, the company is witnessing rapid growth in sales and geographical reach, on the back of a growing market as well as its focus on quality and marketing initiatives. Plumbers as an influencer category have been given special importance in Brilloca’s growth plans. Pajnoo shares insights about the pipes and fittings business, and explains why Truflo is manufacturing water tanks now, in this exclusive interaction with Sourcing Hardware.

What are the megatrends likely to impact the pipes and fittings industry in India in the next 5-10 years?

India is expected to witness high growth over the next few years on the back of rapid urbanisation, increasing infrastructure development, and the government’s push for infrastructural growth. In my opinion pipe replacement demand from residential real estate and rising private and public investment in residential construction will also be a key driver for the industry. Over the last few years, we’ve noticed an increased focus by the government on rural water management which is likely to favourably impact the demand for PVC pipes across India.

What is the nature and size of the pipes industry in India?

The Indian PVC pipes and fittings market is expected to register a 12-14% CAGR from FY 2017-18 to FY 2025-26. The domestic plastic pipes industry size is estimated at about ₹315 billion and the organised players account for nearly 60% of the market. We believe bigger organised players are well placed to capture incremental market share from the unorganised players in the near future.

What are the growth trends with respect to various pipe categories?

Pipes have to be concealed during the time of construction and any leakage requires work that damages the paint and tiles. Thus, maintenance cost becomes much higher in case of a pipe burst. With increasing awareness about the durability of plastic pipes and BIS standards, residential consumers (UPVC, CPVC) and farmers (UPVC) are increasingly opting for better-quality pipes to minimise these problems. PVC pipes are expected to outgrow other materials owing to their chemical resistance, durability, low cost, and recyclability. The rising demand for PVC pipes from agriculture, building and construction, and other end-use industries is expected to propel the growth of the PVC pipes market in the short and long term.

Truflo started in 2018 with a production capacity of 30,000 tonnes. How has its infrastructure grown since then, and what are plans for the next 3-5 years? How has the company performed during 2021-22?

In last four years, we have become the fastest growing plastic pipes and fitting brands in the country. We launched the overhead water storage tanks segment for domestic and commercial applications last year in the north, and the category has received a great response from the market.

Recently, we announced the manufacturing of overhead tanks near Isnapur in Telangana to cater to the southern market. The unit has a capacity of 45 lakh litre per month and will address the demand from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Northern Karnataka, parts of Maharashtra and surrounding regions.

With 1,100+ SKUs already being offered and many more being added, Truflo aims to be amongst the top five players over the next five years. We registered a growth of 33% y-o-y and reported sales of ₹155.6 crore in FY22 Q3, while we expect to outperform the market over the coming quarters.

HSIL’s building materials business has been divested to Brilloca very recently. What are the objectives of this change?

Brilloca, a wholly owned subsidiary of Somany Home Innovation Ltd (SHIL), is set to acquire the building products (sanitaryware, faucets, pipes & fittings) business of HSIL Ltd in a slump sale for a cash consideration of ₹630 crore. This transaction will have a transformative impact on the market position and growth prospects of Truflo. The company will emerge stronger in the building products business, with a better ability to implement its strategic goals and unlock value for all its stakeholders.

How is the Truflo brand positioned in the highly competitive market of pipes and water storage solutions? What are your key differentiators for both these categories?

We are committed to provide best-in-class products and are living up to the legacy built by the parent brand Hindware. To provide quality piping solutions to cater to varied market requirements, we have a strategic alliance with Japanese conglomerate Sekisui Chemical Co. Ltd. for the sourcing of NSF-certified CPVC compound Durastream. The CPVC range of products are NSF ANSI 114 certified, which attests to the quality and life of the product. All products are manufactured in line with the Indian Standards Institution and other international standards at our state-of-the-art facility with completely automated manufacturing processes.

The Truflo facility is a Platinum building certified by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), while the manufacturing process is GreenCo Platinum certified by the Confederation of Indian Industries. This is the only PVC pipe manufacturing facility in the country to have both these certifications. The whole production process, right from the intake of raw material to the extrusion or injection moulding, is controlled by SCADA software, which ensures consistency of quality. The complete range of products is lead-free.

Hence, we at Truflo believe in giving back to society at large and ensure all our products are environment friendly and innovative. Our overhead water storage solutions come with a ten-year warranty and are available in 500 to 5,000 litre capacities in multiple colours.

Why is Truflo manufacturing water tanks now? What is the motivation?

In the first phase, we forayed into the northern market in FY2020-21 Q3. Now we’ve launched the tanks in the southern markets, from our Telangana plant.

Currently, the overhead storage tanks market size is around ₹350 crore. It is largely dominated by unorganised players and is expected to grow at a steady rate of 10% over the next few years. Multiple factors including increased focus on construction in recent years, especially in tier-2 and tier-3 towns, along with the growing need to improve existing water infrastructure, encouraged us to enter the market. In view of the optimistic outlook for this category, Truflo is manufacturing water tanks now.

Traditionally, pipes and water storage tanks have been low-involvement categories with respect to end-users. Have you tried to bring about a change in this behaviour? What has been your approach in this regard?

Indeed, the end user’s involvement in the category has been low historically. However, with time the consumers have become more discerning, and they rely strongly on plumbers and plumbing consultants. We work very closely with them throughout the year.

So far, we have engaged with more than 1,00,000 plumbers through an inclusive approach. We regularly conduct physical interaction and training sessions for plumbers through our strategic models. We are also in partnership with Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) to train up to 18,000 plumbers.

How is skill development likely to impact the plumbing industry at large?

We believe that plumbers need to be equipped with knowledge to bridge the gap between conventional plumbing and modern plumbing, if their employability has to be enhanced. Thus, we have partnered with the Indian Plumbing Skills Council (IPSC) to boost skilling in the plumbing sector as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Skill India Mission.

We were partners to IPSC in the just concluded IndiaSkills Competition 2021. The nine plumbing & heating finalists at IndiaSkills Nationals will get multi-level industry training through boot camps and programmes such as project-based training, industry training and corporate training. As a partner, we will be taking them on a visit to our plant in Telangana. We will also impart training on modern plumbing methods and help them learn about new products and optimum installation practices.

There is a strong need for greater participation of private companies in the skilling initiatives, and I believe these will have a long-lasting impact, providing better livelihood opportunities to millions of people.

How is the Truflo distribution channel structured?

We are a brand that operates on a distributor model, where distributors further service the retailers. Right from the day of our launch, we have been a pan-India brand with distributors spread across the nation. Our network today has more than 300 distributors, who in turn are connected to a channel of more than 15,000 retail partners. To attend to the increasing demand, we are coming up with one more production facility in Hyderabad, and a little later another facility in north India.


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