Interview with Keshav Bhajanka Executive Director of Century Plyboards

28 Jun, 2023

3 min read


Interview with Keshav Bhajanka Executive Director of Century Plyboards
We have expanded our capacity and we are going into the laminate segment as well where we are expanding our capacity, assures Keshav Bhajanka, Executive Director of Century Plyboards.

In Q4FY23, the company achieved best ever quarterly sales, EBITDA and PAT in absolute terms. What were the contributing factors to the tremendous performance?

After all the initiatives that we have put in place in the cloud division for the last three to four years, you have seen sustained groups. And the reason behind this is manyfold. It could be virokill, it could be attributed to the firewall, could be attributed to the huge ATL campaign we have done. Also, it could be attributed to the change in the go-to market, whereby we are focusing a lot more on reaching out to the end customer. 

Coupled with this, we are now growing in our MDF segment. We have expanded our capacity and we are going into the laminate segment as well where we are expanding our capacity. So I'm very bullish on growth for the company overall going forward. 

Can you shed some light on the company’s capex plans in FY24?

So there is substantial Capex that is taking place. If you look at FY23, FY24 and FY25 in between these three, we will be investing and I'll just give you a detail on it. We have already expanded our Hoshiarpur MDF capacity from 600 cubic meters to 950 cubic meters at the Capex of Rs 250 crore. We are going to be expanding MDF further by another 950 cubic meters through a Greenfield project in Andhra Pradesh at a capital cost of Rs 600 crores plus. We are going to be expanding our laminate capacities with the addition of higher size presses in Andhra Pradesh with a Capex of Rs 200 crores plus, we'll be investing in a new plywood unit in Hoshiarpur to the tune of Rs 100 crore Capex and we'll be investing in a new particle board facility in the state of Tamil Nadu with the Capex of Rs 550 crores. 

What were the factors which led to the strong growth of the plywood division and what is your outlook for the plywood division for the next few quarters?

I think that there are a lot of initiatives that we have done in our plywood division over the course of the last three to four years, which have resulted in robust growth. And if you look at it then over the last few quarters our plywood division has really outperformed the rest of the company and to drain that we have invested in virokill technology in firewall technology considering that we have changed the go-to-market for the product category and best it substantially in ATL, I think that we are seeing the initial signs of success in the plywood division and this is only going to go stronger, going forward. So all of these have enabled substantial growth in the plywood category. 

Could you provide some information about your new brand, Sainik Laminates, and elaborate on the market positioning strategies you are implementing for the brand?

Century laminates is a high-end premium product. We are perhaps the highest-selling price laminate in the country. 

Now there is a huge market that is slightly below in terms of pricing, in terms of positioning, but the size of that market is far larger than the Super premium segment. In order to be able to compete in this segment, we needed a new product category and that is where Sainik laminates come into play in plywood. 

As you can see, we have been highly successful due to Sainik Ply. Sainik Ply was able to address a need in the belly of the market which century ply could not. 

Similarly, Sainik laminates will attack the belly of the laminate market, so to speak, and give us a presence in a category or in a segment of pricing which was never there before. 

Can you provide some insights into the performance and expectations of the MDF and particle board segment for the upcoming quarters?

I think particle board we're limited by capacity, so there isn't any room for growth because we're operating and 100% capacity and the new capacity will not commence before FY25.In MDF we are commissioned to our new unit. The second line in Hoshirapur, which should lead to an increase in overall production and savings. 

We'll be looking at a very bullish growth of 25% to 30% in MDF. In laminates, again for current will be looking at 30% volume growth like wood or attempt has always been double-digit volume mode.

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