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Praj Industries: Addressing the Technology Disconnects
Gajanan Nabar, CEO & Managing Director, Praj Industries Limited, talks to CEW about the Praj Industries’ domestic and international presence, its businesses and future plans.

Which will be the major thrust areas for Praj Industries in the near future?
Energy and environment are the prime focus areas for Praj. Our solutions are diversified across the sectors of ethanol, breweries, water and wastewater treatment, critical process equipment and systems, bio nutrients and agribusiness. We will focus on water and waste water treatment and critical process equipment and systems our emerging business portfolios in the year 2013.

Presently, these businesses have been contributing below 10 per cent to our overall business; however in the coming year we intend to increase it to 30 per cent. We see a strong demand from both these segments in the Indian as well as international markets

How is Praj positioned in the market to provide water and wastewater solutions? How do you plan to move ahead?
Regardless of huge competition in water treatment business we have distinctly positioned ourselves in the field of providing complete solutions for water and waste water treatment.

We offer innovative technology driven solutions in this sphere to the industry particularly in the field of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD), reduce recycle and reuse of water. With increasing water stress, these technologies are going to be very crucial for the industrial growth and the manufacturing industries would require real solutions to address the issue of water.

We have recently provided solution to the Thirupur Dyeing industry for treating the effluent. We had commissioned a pilot plant to demonstrate the process. The plant was later endorsed by the regulatory authorities and is fully functional now.

We have leveraged our strength in this business with the recent acquisition of Neela Water Systems, a Mumbai based water solution company to enter the high purity water segment. There is a very high demand for high purity water from the pharma, food and cosmetics industries which are growing strongly irrespective of the overall industrial slowdown. As the consumption grows in these areas, we see immense scope for us in the market. We are very focused on high purity water, process water. We are significantly focused and in this line we do not see much of competition.

What about the critical process equipment business? We offer critical process equipment for range of industries across the major platforms - one which is highly complex, high temperature and high pressure design platform of chemicals and oil and gas industries, and the second is hygienic platform of pharma, food, beverage and cosmetics industries.

Both these platforms are very niche and require very high levels of disciplined and international quality engineering design and process engineering skills and also high level of fabrication capabilities.

How important are the international markets for your emerging businesses?
International market is one of the mainstays of our business and we have built a business of significant size and complexities globally. We are present across five continents in over 50 countries which is a part of our global strategy to mitigate the risks with sizable businesses across the verticals of ethanol, breweries, water and waste water treatment.

The geographical spread and presence across various industrial verticals curbs our risks significantly. We are very selective in choosing the markets and enter the ones where we see technology gaps which can be an opportunity for us.