I had attended the AGM of Swiss Glascoat. Some of the points I noted during the AGM are given below:
• NCLT approval for the merger is expected to be received by October, 2019. Board will take a call on dividend post the merger.
• We are working to reduce inventory days in Swiss Glascoat.
• Order book – Both HLE and Swiss Glascoat have inventory of more than 6 – 7 months.
• Post-acquisition of Swiss Glascoat by HLE Engineers, we have added quite a few new customers.
• HLE is a market leader in Agitated Nutsche Filter Dryer (ANFD) with 50% plus market share. Like Glass Line Equipment (GLE), ANFD also have oligopoly market structure with top 3 players controlling 80% of the market. Our largest competitor in ANFD is GMM. We have been in these segment for decades and have built expertise in it over the years.
• HLE started as a chemical company and later forayed into ANFD. Post restructuring in the group, a portion of chemical business remained in HLE as the ANFD division shared the same premise as that portion of chemical division. We might plan to shut these chemical division going forward. Chemical division contributes Rs.40 – 50 crore to sales of HLE.
• HLE uses stainless steel while Swiss Glascoat used Carbon Steel. Post-merger, there will be synergies in procurement and increased bargaining power with steel manufacturers.
• We completed expansion in Swiss Glascoat by almost 40% in February, 2019. The benefit of that will accrue in the current year. Furthermore, we might look for further expansion by year end. Total cost of capex was Rs.15 crore funded through debt and internal accruals.
• HLE had low margins in FY17 as it was one off year where we had to shut down capacities for undergoing modernization and capacity expansion.
• Market size for GLE business is Rs.500 crore while for ANFD business is Rs.500 crore. Both the segments are seeing increase in demand due to large capex being undertaken by chemical and pharmaceutical industry (largely API).
• GMM’s EBITDA margins are higher than Swiss Glascoat on account of some pricing advantage which they have due to their MNC parentage, conversion to gas based furnace and export sales which have much higher margins than domestic markets. There are lot of low hanging fruits in Swiss Glascoat to improve margins. For the expansion, we have used gas based furnace instead of electric furnace installed in existing plant. Furthermore, Swiss Glascoat currently derives negligible revenue from exports. We have started focussing on exports by participating in chemical fairs. We want to focus on export markets as well now. HLE already derives 5 – 10% of revenue from overseas markets.
• Post takeover by new management, in Swiss Glascoat we have done three major changes:
o Capex for expansion in capacities which got completed in February, 2019
o Substantial debottlenecking done in the plant
o Changed lay out of the plant for better operations
• Lot of synergies in marketing in HLE and Swiss Glascoat. There are hardly any orders where we are not discussing ANFD and GLE products in the same breadth. HLE does its marketing through its own offices while Swiss Glascoat works through its own channel partners.
• HLE is also seeing major shift happening from centrifugal filter and dryer market as ANFD is the latest and advanced technology. However, ANFD prices are more than centrifugal ones. Large chemical players already use ANFD while smaller companies in the sector use centrifugal filters and dryers.
• Replacement cycle for HLE is 10 years plus while for GLE it varies from 3 to 10 years depending on usage. On an average the lifecycle of GLE is 8 – 9 years. However, in more corrosive environment the lifecycle of GLE is less.
• Growth in Swiss Glascoat will be more than HLE as there is lot of room for improvement in market share in it.
• Exports are a thrust area for us in Swiss Glascoat. We have participated in trade shows in Germany and received some export orders as well. Export sales will grow sharply as we currently hardly have any sales from it. Europe, South East Asia and US will be our major markets for exports.
• In terms of quality in GLE, we are at par with our competitors. If companies like Divis, Bayer and other large chemical/pharmaceutical API companies are our customers speaks a lot about our quality. Name any large player in the segment and we would have supplied products to them.
• Advances from customers range from 10 – 30% depending on client and quantum of order to be supplied – for both HLE and Swiss Glascoat.
• With current capacity, Swiss Glascoat can do turnover of Rs.180 – 200 crore while HLE’s equipment division can do revenue of Rs.250 – 300 crore.
• HLE holds 80% stake in HL Equipment which has a plant in Silvassa. It also manufactures ANFD.
• ANFDs are highly customized and complex products. Requirement of each and every customer is different. We have also launched off the shelf model in FY19 targeting smaller chemical companies where there is no customization and price is lower. The machine received good success.
• Operating leverage can come in both the companies – HLE and Swiss Glasscoat with increase in revenue.
• Inventory is on higher side in Swiss Glascoat compared to GMM? Taking measures to improve inventory days. Increased vendor base to two from earlier one. We require specialized carbon steel. Inventory day rationalisation will take time but will eventually happen.
• We supply reactors as well as tanks. We are also present in high KL reactors and provide the entire range to customers.
• Target growth of 15 – 20% in revenue over the next 2 – 3 years in both the companies combined.