Cover Story

The Top 16 Challengers of 2014

July 2014
Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, ´Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.´ His words remain relevant even today; in fact, they are akin to a beacon for those who choose to ride out the storm.

Drawing a parallel to the world of business, the year gone by offered a sea of challenges on one hand; on the other, it showered the brave with significant laurels and learnings. The much-admired CEBR World Economic League Table for 2013 reflects the continuing performance of the US as the West´s strongest economy and the slowing down of the Chinese economy. At the same time, slow growth, weakening currency and, for some countries, adverse demographic dynamics hit the European economies. Meanwhile, KPMG International´s 2013 Global Construction Survey sees the construction sector in a more upbeat mood after several years of falling backlogs and tight margins. Growing urbanisation is driving continued demand for infrastructure in all forms, with economic recovery providing a stimulus to manufacturing.

With regard to India, the past year was one of the toughest in recent memory for the construction sector, with overall sluggish growth and a virtual project paralysis across the country. Inevitably, these snowballed into unprecedented strain on the finance and human capital of almost every organisation. However, in line with the maxim, the tough did get going! In fact, the sector was witness to some stunning accounts of survival with new milestones of success to boot.

There were organisations that grew topline and bottomline (as on March 2014), were profitable, and enjoyed a healthy order-book position despite the challenging environment. We at CW have identified these ´Top Challengers´, which include companies in the universe of contracting, engineering, building materials and equipment, and we honour their resourcefulness, grit and fighting spirit.

Here´s a glance into the process of selecting the Top Challengers from various segments related to the construction value chain such as cement, steel, paints, tiles, construction equipment and contracting.

We have followed a rigorous method by focusing on parameters such as net sales, PBDIT and net profit. While sales figures are important as they reflect how demand for products or services is moving, PBDIT figures guide us on how the company is doing at the operational level and its efficiency. As for net profit, it clearly shows how much is left for shareholders.

We have selected companies that have shown improvement in at least two of the above parameters. However, if the company has managed to show an increase in sales but failed to show improvement in PBDIT and net profit, it has not been considered. For companies with fiscal closing other than March 2014, the trailing eight quarter financial performances were considered. Companies that have not yet announced the March 2014 quarter results have not been considered. A few organisations chose not to participate in this process and hence do not figure in the list.

To rank the companies, we provided a weighted average to three parameters: 40 per cent to sales, being a prime growth driver, and 30 per cent each to PBDIT and net profit. After ranking the companies on growth in percentage terms (FY14 over FY13), the rankings were provided with weightages. This process rationalised the ranking process and all players were rated on similar ground. In some cases, we offered the right to veto (to the selection panel) by adhering to qualitative factors. The final list is an extensive one and the panel has taken into account almost all aspects that needed to be considered.

Befitting their outstanding accomplishment, these Top Challengers will be felicitated at the 12th CONSTRUCTION WORLD GLOBAL AWARDS to be held on October 15, 2014, in Mumbai.

Read on for strategic insights presented by CW´s research team and editorial team into how these bravehearts (listed in alphabetical order) successfully fought against the odds in the last FY. And learn how they are gearing up to surge ahead in 2014-15 with the likely improvement in the macroeconomic outlook, with a focus on the infrastructure value chain in the last two pages of this Cover Story.

Top Challengers 2013-14

  1. Ashoka Buildcon Ltd: Sector: Construction - Medium
  2. BEML Ltd: Sector- Equipment
  3. Berger Paints India Ltd: Sector- Paint
  4. Cera Sanitaryware Ltd: Sector -Tiles
  5. J Kumar Infraprojetcs Ltd: Sector - Construction - Small
  6. JSW Steel: Sector - Steel
  7. Kalyani Steels Ltd: Sector - Steel
  8. Kansai Nerolac Paints Ltd: Sector - Paint
  9. Kirloskar Brothers Ltd: Sector - Equipment
  10. Larsen & Toubro Ltd: Sector - Construction - Large
  11. MBL Infratructures Ltd: Sector - Construction - Medium
  12. National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd: Sector - Construction - Large
  13. Pidilite Industries Ltd: Sector - Paint
  14. Sadbhav Engineering Ltd: Sector - Construction - Medium
  15. Tata Steel Ltd: Sector - Steel
  16. The Indian Hume Pipe Co Ltd: Sector - Construction - Small