We are passing through one of the most challenging times in human memory. The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has impacted economies as well as human lives across the globe on an unprecedented scale. The Indian economy and the Auto Industry in particular, was already going through a phase of slowdown and low demand, which has been further compounded, by this outbreak.
Sharp decline in economic growth also resulted in the Indian rupee depreciating steeply by nearly 8% over the preceding year, which is, one of the highest among Asian peers.
I, however, feel that any adversity can be countered with determination and innovation. We at JK Tyre, have taken number of steps to deal with these challenges. The foremost concern was the safety of employees and their families across all locations including international ones. Simultaneously, several new initiatives were taken to conduct the business by following the safety protocols, working from home, leveraging on digitization, virtual interactions with channel partners, to name a few.
I am happy to share that in an unparalleled feat, JK Tyre became the first and only Indian tyre company to have rolled out 20 millionth Truck/Bus Radial tyres. Company’s Subsidiary – Cavendish Industries Ltd. – contributed significantly to the count of 20 millionth Truck Bus Radial tyres. It took JK Tyre, 17 years to reach the first 10 million markin the year 2016 and just four more years to double the numbers in the year 2020.
The Company was able to live up to its reputation of being the ‘pioneer of radials in India’ by introducing a ‘Smart Tyre’ to provide mobility solutions to commercial and passenger vehicle owners. JK Tyre is the first company in India tolaunch this Smart technology in the Indian market. This is in line with the Company ethos of green technology, as it reduces carbon footprints through lower emission, higher fuel efficiencies and superior tyre life. This technology will also go a long way in enhancing road safety, as it monitors - air pressure and temperature in the tyre. The Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)Range, was launched across various cities and the ‘Smart Tyre’ was formally launched at the prestigious Auto Expo 2020.
In our ongoing journey of Sustainability, our efforts in energy conservation are well recognized. More than 50% of our power requirements are met from renewable sources-up from 39% in the previous year. Total energy consumption has further declined in the FY2020. Green House Gas emissions have been reduced by as much as 47% in 2019-20 compared with base year 2013-14. I am happy to share that JK Tyre continues to be a global benchmark for the lowest raw water consumption per kg of finished product.JK Tyre has achieved a total energy consumption level of 9.81 GJ/Ton of production and ranks amongst top three best companies in the sector worldwide.
It is a matter of pride that four of our plants have been awarded the world’s most sought after and coveted safety award – ‘Sword of Honour’ for safety by the British Safety Council, UK.
Your Company is already seeing some green shoots in Q2 of the current fiscal. Given good monsoon, well spread throughout the country, it is believed that rural India will witness higher income and resultant spurt in demand for Farm and 2/3 wheeler tyres. Our current volumes in these products as well as in commercial tyres are encouraging and this augers well for your Company.
On account of pandemic, there is increasing resistance by the consumers for using public transport.This will help in increasing demand of passenger car tyres particularly for smaller cars, apart from 2/3 Wheeler tyres. Your company continues to partner with leading OEMs and many of the new launches in the growing SUV passenger vehicle segment have rolled out on JK Tyre’s high performance car radials.
Putting import of tyres in the restricted list by the Government recently, is a welcome step and will be helpful in increasing our volumes in due course.
I am glad that the long awaited vehicle scrappage policy and review of GST on smaller vehicles is finally seeing light of the day. This will go a long way in improving the demand for vehicles and consequentially tyres.
We have always been governed by the philosophy of ‘ATMA NIRBHAR’- Indian tyres for Indian roads, and, best in class Indian products for the Globe. Our Global R&D facility, the “RaghupatiSinghania Centre of Excellence” RPSCOE, which is manned by highly qualified scientists and engineers and equipped with best in class R&D facilities, is an integral part of this journey. In our relentless quest for excellence as a future ready company we have accelerated our digital journey across all functions, ranging from ‘SMART MANUFACTURING’ to SMART MARKETING.
The Company believes that its employees are its biggest asset and ensures thatthe best industry practices are adoptedfor them. As a result, the Company was recognised as India’s Top 30 Best Workplaces in Manufacturing for 2020. JK Tyre was also selected as a Superbrand for the seventh successive time in 2019.
Your Company’s journey as a socially responsible corporate continued on the path, laid over the years as a credo. During the year, several programs were undertaken in the areas of livelihood enhancement, sanitation & healthcare, education, water conservation, rural development, renewable energy, etc. for welfare of the society and for conservation of environment and natural resources.
Going forward, the world is heading towards a new normal and the onus is on us to adapt to the change. We are looking forward to India continuing in its journey to becoming a USD $ 5 trillion economy. JK Tyre will continue to work towards technology-based mobility solutions. It will continue to be the ‘Wheels of the Nation’ by providing best-in-class products and services.
I take this opportunity of thanking the Government at the Centre and at various States, and other Regulatory Authorities for their relentless efforts to negotiate through the stumbling blocks triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, geo-political conditions and generally prevailing lower economic activity.
I feel humbled to thank each one of you, Customers, Partners, Stakeholders, Suppliers, Banks and Community at large,for your continued support.
I would also want to express my gratitude towards the entireteam JK Tyre for the hard work put in, more so in these difficult lockdown periods, which has enabled the company to break new grounds in digitalisation, as also grow. I once again wish you & your families good health and good times ahead.
Note: These excerpts do not purport to be a report of the proceedings of the 67th Annual General Meeting of the Company held on 22nd September, 2020.