Innovating businesses are organizations that shine and stand the test of time. One such firm is Hyderabad-based Visaka Industries Limited. Founded by G Venkat Swamy and his son G Vivekanand as a cement roof manufacturing company in the early 1980s, it has changed over four decades to manufacture sustainable building materials and textiles and reported an annual turnover of Rs 1,127 crore in 2019-20.
Venkat Swamy decided to set up a company in the early 1980s that could attract individuals from socially backward classes. But it was difficult to get a license to start a company until the 1991 economic liberalization. At the time, the construction business was booming in India and had a lot of potentials to add to the economy.
Swamy was involved in this and he confronted his son, who was seeking an Osmania University MBBS. Vivekanand wanted to help fulfill his dream with his father. From his savings, Swamy spent Rs 5 lakh and got some cash from the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Board to launch Visaka Industries Limited. Today, with a pan-India footprint and major foreign customers, it is an NSE and BSE listed firm. The primary goal of Visaka is to make a difference to the world and humanity. That’s why the company switched from developing traditional goods for export to organic ones.
Visaka: The idea of sustainability drives this 40-year-old company
Visaka began manufacturing cement roofs, purchasing and producing everything locally, but early on, it became vulnerable to environmental issues. The company grew into textiles in 1992, making from recycled PET bottles the groundbreaking natural fibre, Wonder Yarn. The Murata twin air-jet system technology combines the substance used in PET bottles to manufacture a fabric that has since stopped the disposal of 100 million PET bottles into landfills.
Visaka launched a brand that would produce a variety of items for sustainable construction and be a replacement for plywood. Vnext Frame, V next Premium, and Vpremium Plank are the major products under the V next name. So far, the brand has built more than 710 million square feet of goods and rescued five lakh trees from being felled for plywood manufacturing. Deforestation has been decreased with this project and more than 5,00,000 trees have been saved. Visaka stayed swept up in the next emerging industry trend despite the promising introduction of Vnext: clean energy goods. On the roofs of buildings, solar panels have been installed.
ATUM, one of the early integrated solar roofs worldwide, was introduced by Visaka. ATUM generates electricity and is a fully integrated, seamless solar roof made with cement boards and poly or monocrystalline solar cells. Visaka introduced V-Infill the same year, a load-bearing wall solution made of steel designed to increase the speed and usefulness of building.
From India to the globe
Hyderabad-based Visaka Industries has a turnover of Rs 1,127 crore for its product line of solar roofing, plywood replacements, and PET bottle-recycled yarn, starting with savings of Rs 5 lakh. Visaka has 12 production plants, 13 marketing centers, and a sales chain distributed throughout the country with more than 7,000 distributor outlets.
Wonder Yarn’s leading buyers include British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer and brands of Indian clothes such as Raymond and Siyaram. Visaka exports about 30 percent of its textile goods to Europe and South America. Visaka’s Vnext building products are exported to West Asia, the UK, and Australia, and are also supplied to government departments in the navy and MES.
Visaka today is a conglomerate with more than 5,000 people. While it has evolved tremendously over the years and extended its product portfolio, it was not easy to grab the market. In all the categories in which its products are present, Visaka now has a substantial market share. It is a publicly held Indian company and is India’s second-largest producer of cement roofing sheets. Visaka has 8 factories manufacturing over 800,000 tonnes of corrugated sheets each year across the country. They have 12 production plants, 13 marketing offices, and a sales chain of more than 7000 distributor outlets for PAN India.
Visaka has the world’s largest installation of its kind of spinning factory, produces more than 12,000 tonnes of yarns per year, and annually produces over 15 million sq ft of Vnext (cement fibreboard).
The firm holds a 20% stake in the cement roofs industry in India, which has an estimated total capacity of 38-40 lakh metric tonnes (MTS). As 50 percent of tar roofs are projected to be converted into cement roofs, Vamsi says the company expects to further scale up its production in this category. With a cumulative capacity of about four lakh MTS per year, Vnext has a 25 percent stake in India’s fiber cement board market. In India, the plywood industry is worth about Rs 25,000 crore.