Braithwaite & Co Ltd is betting big on domestic railcar demand after the Russia-Ukraine crisis derailed its export talks to ship more than 5,000 rail freight vehicles worth over 1,000 crore Rs to war-torn Ukraine, an official said on Sunday.
The Ministry of Railways’ PSU was negotiating with Ukraine to secure an order for 5,400 wagons, the largest export offer for the company.
The war derailed export negotiations. The company could be in trouble if it had broken out in the execution phase of the proposed expedition. However, domestic wagon requirements have increased significantly and the delay in securing the export order has forced us to focus on Indian supplies, Braithwaite CMD Yatish Kumar told PTI.
The engineering firm and the Research Designs & Standards Organization (RDSO) have been working on the “Ro-Ro truck-on-train concept,” he said.
“A prototype was made with an RDSO design and the dispute prompted us to focus on ordering additional domestic market,” he said.
Kumar remained bullish on Braithwaite’s revenue quadrupling to Rs 2,500 crore with strong domestic demand and order flow.
The company recorded revenue of Rs 609 crore with net profit of Rs 31 crore in the financial year 2020-21 (FY’21).
It supplied 1,023 wagons to the railways for Rs 322 crore in FY21. This year, the ministry released more wagon orders which will enable the company to maintain “capacity utilization at a very high level,” the official said.
Speaking on Ukraine’s draft export order, he said there was a delay due to COVID-induced disruptions, but negotiations were progressing well and a positive outcome was expected.
“The war has turned out to be a mess. We still have hope for future demand from war-affected Ukraine, as it will need wagons when the country’s reconstruction begins,” the official said.
Braithwaite & Co Ltd had previously fulfilled an export order for 350 bogies to Myanmar.
“But, now, there are no more export orders for the company in the past two years,” he said.
The engineering company has branched out into new areas such as the construction of bridges, factories and office buildings.
Revenue dependence on the company’s core business has fallen from nearly 90% to 55%. However, Ukraine’s export order would have helped us grow faster, Kumar said.
He said the public sector company had also moved into container manufacturing as the country faced a severe shortage of such cargo carriers for exports during the pandemic.
We have created a manufacturing capacity of 200 containers per month and we will increase it to 500, Kumar said.
Braithwaite’s current backlog exceeds Rs 1,700 crore from core and non-core businesses, he added.
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