PPE maker Karam Safety expects to clock Rs 900 crore this fiscal and Rs 1,500 crore next

 New Delhi: Karam Safety, the country’s leading maker of personal protection equipment (PPEs) for industrial use, is planning to set up manufacturing units in the US, Brazil and South Africa this year as it eyes Rs 1,500-crore turnover by next fiscal year. The Noida-based company closed FY21 with Rs 650 crore revenue, 55 per cent of it from exports, and with around 18 per cent margin. The company expects to clock Rs 900 crore this fiscal and Rs 1,500 crore next, as it expects foreign operations to boost overall income, Karam Safety founder Hemant Sapra told PTI on Tuesday.

“We were planning local manufacturing in the US, Brazil and South Africa last year, but the pandemic upended the plans. Now, we expect to open plants in these markets at the earliest if there is no third wave, “While the US is our largest market for the company, the local manufacturing will boost it further as we can shorten the time to market,” Sapra said.

He said local units in Brazil and South Africa are necessitated by the high (40 per cent) import duty and stiff competition from local players.Sapra added that both Brazil and South Africa have at least USD10 million in each capital expenditure.

Though he expects the share of export earnings to go up from 55 per cent now to over 70 per cent once the three plants are operational, he does not see a considerable increase in margins. Its manufacturing units in Lucknow (22 acres) and Uttarakhand (13 acres) offer the whole range of personal protection equipment for industrial purposes. These include safety harness, body belts & hooks, vertical & horizontal lifelines, tripods, rescue & descent equipment, safety helmets & shoes, and protective eye & ear wear, among others.

In the past two decades, Karam has become not only the largest PPE maker in the country but also among the top-10 fall protection equipment manufacturers globally and its products reach as many as 120 world markets. In the domestic markets, its customers include all leading industrial manufacturers. The company has offices in the US, France, Dubai, South Africa, and Brazil. The fully backward integrated Lucknow unit was set up in 1997 as a 100 per cent export-oriented plant and makes over 2,600 products, while the Sitarganj plant in Uttarakhand was set up in 2007 to serve the domestic market.

The Sitarganj unit of late also started manufacturing a small quantity of PPEs for medical use, including the ones used for the pandemic protection by health-workers. The fully privately held company employs over 3,600 staff and of them 800 are executives, Sapra said. He added that there is also brownfield expansion underway at the Lucknow unit to meet the domestic demand.

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