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India’s growth story intact: Schneider Electric

To commemorate 50 years of operations in India, Schneider Electric is organising roadshows in 50 cities across the country. On the sidelines of this roadshow – Xperience Efficiency Yatra, 2013 – in Mumbai, S Nagaranjan, Vice President, Power Business, Schneider Electric India speaks to Subhajit Roy. Excerpts:
How did you conceive the concept of ‘Xperience Efficiency Yatra’?The roadshow, Xperience Efficiency Yatra, has been conceived to commemorate 50 years of operations in India by Schneider Electric. Our customers are important to us and we are taking this opportunity to connect with them by inviting them to our roadshows in 50 cities across the country, updating and enlightening them about our solutions and talking about the hot topic of the day in India, which is energy efficiency. Through this opportunity, we have also tried to increase awareness about our 50 for 50 campaign which was launched on the occasion of our 50th year in India. As part of the campaign, we invited ideas (of which the Top 50 would be recognized & awarded) that could be implemented everywhere by everybody to save 50 million kWh of energy. Ideas can come in from within the organization, as well as from the public and consumers in general. From the ideas that we have received till now, many are sustainable and involve a mix of everything – our own products and solutions, existing  energy-saving practices or by bringing new solutions to the marketplace – it is a combination of all those.
As far as the Indian market is concerned, how do see these 50 years?We started our operations in India in 1963, when Merlin Gerin, a subsidiary of Schneider Electric, signed a JV with Tata Sons. The first 40 years were good, and we became more active towards late 90s. We started setting up/ acquiring factories and today we have 32 factories in all. The last 5 – 6 years have been great for us because we have really accelerated our growth and are a major player in India in the energy management solutions space today.  
Which is the most important acquisition you accomplished in India?All our acquisitions are important to us. When we talk of energy efficiency, first we need to have devices to measure it. When we talk about power quality, we need the capacitors. So, I would not say any one is lesser than the other. However, with the latest acquisition of Areva we entered a new vertical which is medium-voltage space.
All put together, the strategy is very clear, from plant to plug. Schneider Electric is the only company in this area which can give solutions across segments and sectors – right from the time when energy is generated, till the time it is consumed, including your homes switches and so on.
But the market conceives that the acquisition of Areva is the most significant one…The acquisition of Areva reinforced considerably our offers in medium voltage and network automation. It has also strengthened Schneider Electric’s presence in new economies and access to utilities and electro-intensive customers, and has enhanced our position at the centre of the Smart Grid technological revolution
How do you compare China with India? Where you see better scope?Schneider Electric has a strong presence in China. The present condition in India is very good and India’s growth story will remain a great story. The FDI inflow has been good for the last three months; it was more than 10 per cent in August. However, inflation is a worry; wholesale price inflation is 6.5 per cent. More importantly the food inflation which is about 18 per cent and this straightway hits the wage inflation.
Toward that, we see that perhaps the interest rates could be high in the short term. We don’t see interest rate going down at least for the next three to six months which would impact growth. Otherwise, India’s growth story is intact and people are excited. Telecom, automotive sectors are doing well. Most importantly, in the power sector the government has been really focused in the last three years. 
According to you India’s growth story is intact, but when it comes to your business are you in line with planned your expansion and investment strategies?We always have a five-year plan. We are marginally impacted by the lesser growth that we would see this year but in long term we find ourselves overcoming the odds. We are confident that we will exceed our long term objectives.
We have a diversified portfolio and diversified segments to cater to. There are some segments which are doing better as compared to others. So we are hoping to make up even if there is lesser growth in one or two of our other business segments.
What about the performance of other segments?We are doing extremely well in Buildings, Industry and IT segments. In the other segments also, we are on the path to achieve our targets.

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