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Vatsal Agarwaal: Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’s Young Entrepreneur

On May 12th, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his grand vision of ‘Local is Vocal’ putting emphasis on infrastructure and indigenous manufacturing which is in line with his previous campaign ‘Make in India’.

Simplex Coke & Refractory under the leadership of Vatsal Agarwaal, saw the opportunity of coke manufacturing which is a commodity facing global shortage.

India currently has low met coke capacities so it is highly dependent on imports from China, which is the largest producer and consumer of coke in the world, by which China dictate its own terms to India by either increasing the coke price or dumping the coke price to such a level that the Indian government had to intervene and impose the anti-dumping duty of USD 25 per ton on imports from China which increases profit margin of domestic producer.

As per Mr. Agarwaal, “Met Coke has the potential to become one of the most critical pillars of the Aatma Nirbhar (Self-Reliant India) movement, as it is an essential import substitution product.”

Simplex Coke which is the 4th largest merchant manufacturer and trader of met coke in India and currently has a market share of approximately 5% in west and north India. It has installed stamp charging technology in its plants located in Kutch & Porbander, Gujarat. They have tied up with 7 coke manufacturers to build pan India presence. Vatsal has already managed to scale his company from a modest turnover of Rs.4 crores to Rs.100 crores in a span of merely 4 years with key customers like Tata Chemical, Nirma, Hindusthan Zinc, Hindalco, Jindal Saw, Essar, Kirloskar, JSPL, etc.

The coke market, even before the coronavirus, had a huge demand supply gap forcing RINL, Visakhapatnam Steel Plant & IIM, Vizag Chapter to organise ‘Global Trends in NR-HR Coke Making Technologies’ conference on 8 & 9 February, 2020. “As per Steel Policy 2017 India has a target to produce 300 MT of steel by 2030. To achieve this target 30 MT of coke making facilities are required in addition to the existing, envisaged facilities and coke import. Presently India is importing approximately 3 to 4 MT of Coke per year.”

As per the KPMG report of April 2020, the ‘Potential Impact of Covid-19 on Indian Economy’ there is an impact on the supply chain of coke, as it is mainly imported and imported goods via ocean are in major danger of supply chain disruption.

Simplex Coke is also into rental of piling rigs, having realised that the high margins in the equipment rental business were relatively untapped. It has grown to become the largest piling rig rental company of India executing several metro and infrastructure projects as India has a huge infrastructure budget of Rs.111 Lakh crores.

In this time of crisis India must maximise its manufacturing capabilities, and reduce its dependence on China. Vatsal is a young leader in a key market, who has recently signed an MOU with the Gujarat government, under ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ to set up new capacities of coke making.