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GOCL Corporation plans direct foray into defence sector

The Hinduja-owned firm says one area could be electronic detonators. The company also plans to monetise assets to take on competition from smaller regional players.

October 11, 2021 / 12:56 PM IST
CEO Pankaj Kumar told Moneycontrol GOCL Corporation is exploring niche segments in the commercial explosive space and plans to make a direct foray into the defence sector and one area could be electronic detonators. (Representative Image: Shutterstock)

CEO Pankaj Kumar told Moneycontrol GOCL Corporation is exploring niche segments in the commercial explosive space and plans to make a direct foray into the defence sector and one area could be electronic detonators. (Representative Image: Shutterstock)

Hinduja-owned Gulf Oil Corporation (GOCL Corporation) is exploring niche segments in the commercial explosive space and plans to make a direct foray into the defence sector. One area could be electronic detonators.

Newly-appointed CEO Pankaj Kumar told Moneycontrol that the company would also consider monetising its land assets.

The company, which serves the mining and infrastructure sectors, already has Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as its clients.

Kumar said all these form part of GOCL’s plan to focus on cutting costs and making the organisation competitive in the emerging environment.

A combination of factors, such as competition from smaller regional players, upfront heavy investment in research and development (R&D) and low margin from institutional businesses, have forced the company to look at costs afresh, he said.

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GOCL, Kumar said, would also reduce outsourcing work and rely more on in-house talent. Simultaneously, it was also considering reconfiguring its vendor base.

Already, GOCL has a Special Products Group (SPG) to cater to the use of pyrotechnics in non-mining applications. The SPG designs and manufactures special precision products for critical applications in defence, space and other agencies.

Asset monetisation

GOCL has “a large amount” of land banks across Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Rourkela. It has 700 acres of land in Hyderabad and 1,100 acres in Rourkela. It is developing a 40-acre commercial property in Bengaluru.

According to him, these land assets were acquired many years ago to serve as safety areas around its plants. With these regions undergoing a metamorphosis with the development of residential townships, he said GOCL was looking at ways and means of monetising its vast tract of land banks around these cities.

The company reported an income of nearly Rs 600 crore in FY21, with a profit of around Rs 150 crore. He said that coronavirus pandemic had impacted business, with most mining-related work coming to a virtual standstill during the past one-and-a-half year.

Kumar, who last served the trouble-hit Sterlite Copper at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu, has also been inducted into the board of the company as whole-time director. His appointment was recently approved by the shareholders.

Kumar replaced S Pramanik, who retired after serving and leading the company for the last 22 years. Kumar started his career in Tata Steel as a Graduate Trainee in 1990 and has since worked in senior roles at Mittal Steel, Guardian Industries, United Breweries, Adani Ports, Hindustan Zinc, Sterlite Copper, and Vedanta.
KT Jagannathan is a senior journalist based in Chennai
first published: Oct 11, 2021 12:48 pm

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