At a time when mineral processing machinery manufacturers are closing/downsizing their operations, the Chennai-based FFE Minerals India Ltd is buoyant. Having bagged a $10 million order from Mexico, the company is now training its focus on other overseas markets.
A wholly owned subsidiary of the US-based FFE Mineral Corporation, the Indian subsidiary is into manufacture of grinding and crushing mills, calciners, lime reburning kilns used in alumina, bauxite, lime, pulp & paper, mining and metallurgical industries.
Speaking about the company's prized order Mr. Rudy M Edge, president and wholetime director says, "The order is from Alsthom Taumin project coming up in Mexico. We
will be supplying the base boiler equipment like seat of coke handling, crushing and delivering of the fuel to the power plant."
Continuing further he adds, "The first shipment of 2,500 tonne of fabricated material will be shipped from Chennai soon. This order has infused enthusiasm in us and made us win another Rs. 6 crore contract in Thailand." According to him, the company is bidding for two more overseas projects of which one for a German buyer.
On the domestic minerals sector he says that the industry is not as upbeat as it used to be four years back. "Growth for companies like us will come from overseas orders," he remarks. The competition is so severe that a leading capital equipment manufacturer reduced his quote by nearly Rs. 15 core when a domestic power project went for retendering of machinery.
Last year the industry faced the worst and it is slightly better now. FFE Minerals India saw a drastic fall in its turnover last year to Rs. 16 crore from Rs. 40 crore clocked during 1999. The company generally averages around Rs. 40 crore turnover.
Accustomed to having big orders, FFE Minerals India is now chasing even small orders to run its operations. "The profile of our order book has changed. Now we have several small orders. Repeat orders from clients like Nirma Ltd and others are keeping us bit busy," Mr. Edge explains. The company's order book position is around Rs. 65 crore. Projecting a turnover of Rs. 50 crore for this year Mr. Edge says that there will
be some spillover of orders to the next fiscal from the current year.
With exports perking up, FFE Minerals India plans to invest around Rs. 3 crore in fabrication works. Currently outsourcing its fabrication needs, the new investment is expected to make the company more cost effective in the international market.
The company also does some engineering drawings for its group companies. "That is a small portion of our operations," Mr. Edge says.