Feature

Polished performance

Kajaria Ceramics has managed to counter competition from the unorganised sector by moving up the value chain

Vishal Koul

Robotic machines zip up and down an uncomfortably hot and deserted factory floor, transporting finished tiles from one end to the other. The machines flip out 70,000 sq m of tiles every day and stack them with a precision no human can match. The location: Kajaria Ceramics’ tile manufacturing unit at Gailpur near Bhiwadi, Rajasthan. Around 900 of Kajaria’s 1,500-odd employees work full time in three shifts, operating machines and in maintenance, administration and accounts. Another 600 are contracted for work such as loading of finished goods, unloading of raw materials and other allied jobs.

Set up in 1998 with an investment of ₹442 crore, the Bhiwadi plant is Kajaria’s only facility that is fully automated. Kajaria Ceramics began operations in 1988 with a technical collaboration with Spain’s Todagres, the world’s second-largest tile maker. Those days, the first unit in Sikandrabad, Uttar Pradesh, could produce about 1 million sq m of floor tiles in a year. Today, the ₹1,300-crore company is India’s largest producer of ceramic and vitrified tiles with an annual installed capacity of 41 million sq m across five facilities — Sikandrabad (Uttar Pradesh); Gailpur (Rajasthan); Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh); and two in Morbi (Gujarat). 

At the top of the heap

National brands control around
50% of the ceramics industry

In a largely unorganised industry estimated at ₹17,000 crore and growing at a CAGR of 15%, Kajaria has managed to emerge as the second-largest player in the ₹8,500-crore organised tiles segment with a 16% share, after H&R Johnson (part of the Rajan Raheja Group, which owns Outlook Business). High demand for vitrified tiles over the past five years from major cities has helped Kajaria clock sales CAGR of 25%. Much of this has to do with the publicly-listed company’s calibrated approach to building its business.

Building blocks

Meet chief operating officer Rajveer Chaudhary, who has been with the co

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