Automotive component manufacturing company Steelbird International is setting up a greenfield facility in Neemrana, Rajasthan for manufacturing of automotive filters.
“We have been allotted a 5-acre land in Neemrana, Rajasthan, with an investment of about INR 40 crore. We will get possession of the land in the next 1-2 months and plan to start production by April 2023,” Manav Kapur, Executive Director, Steelbird International. The market leader in air filters, oil filters, fuel filters and cabin filters, established its first plant in North India in 1964.
With the latest allotment, the company whose 65% of business comes from manufacturing rubber for aftermarket and OEMs and, 35% from filters, will now have six manufacturing units with a cumulative land area of 13 acres. This includes the recent manufacturing space in Neemrana, Rajasthan (5 acres), three facilities of 5 acres, 1 acre and 1 acre respectively in Pantnagar, Uttarakhand and two plants in Greater Noida with land area of half acre each.
Last year, the company had also applied for a 10-acre land in Jammu, to cater to manufacturing of rubber and tyres. The proposed investment for this is INR 25 crore. However, the land allotment is awaited. “There is a huge waiting list and we are waiting to hear from the authorities about the land allotment in Jammu. We will wait for another 3-6 months, else we will look for some other land. Can’t wait for this forever,” Kapur said.
Steelbird International gets 90% of its business from the domestic market and has now been focusing on increasing capacity to cater to expanding its footprints in the global market. Currently it exports to countries in Europe like Germany, Italy, along with Latin America, and neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal. It is now targeting the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and the US, primarily for export of rubber and filters.
For FY23, the company said it is looking at a year-on-year growth of 30%.
In March, the maker of filter and rubber announced a joint venture with TVS Auto to set up a plant in Bangladesh. “Currently, we are in the initial stage of setting up the Bangladesh plant. It should be ready by November this year,” Kapur informed.
Going forward, while the auto industry is seeing a disruption with changing dynamics in the favour of electric vehicles (EVs), Steelbird said it remains safe. “For the next 10 years we do not see a disruption in our business from new technologies like EVs since our business is largely into the aftermarket space. As of now, we are not in the process of bringing any products for EVs but we are working on trying to identify parts where we can work.”
With over 5000 touch points in India, about 60% of Steelbird Interntional’s demand comes from the North. It is now looking at network expansion to the South. The auto component maker also offers a range of tyres for two wheelers, however with limited demand, it occupies only a marginal portion of its business.
In March this year, the company announced its foray into the software domain and said it has partnered with Israel-based cybersecurity company Cybellum Technologies to introduce advanced product security platforms (vulnerability management, compliance validation) to Indian OEMs and component manufacturers.
Steelbird International is part of the Steelbird Group, a family-owned company currently run by the third generation of the family. Other than automotive filters and rubber, the Group Company also manufactures helmets and plastic components.