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Vatsal Agarwal: recipient of the Young Achievers Award 2020

Vatsal is one of the most intellectual and young entrepreneurs of India and his success is unbeatable. He is one of the top entrepreneurs to receive this award.

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Vatsal Agarwal, the young and dynamic promoter of Simplex coke, Stratmont Industries and several start-ups, is regarded as one of the enthusiastic young entrepreneurs of India. He has launched multiple successful concepts that are going to change the working pattern of the manufacturing industry. The emergence of ‘Young Achievers Award 2020’ is put in place to support, inspire, reward such leaders and innovators who are the future face of sustainability.

Vatsal usually keeps himself abreast with everything from design, innovation, lifestyle to various other trends in the market. Viewing the organization with critical decisions in mind transforms the process which is what this Young Turk brings to the table.

India Young Achievers Award 2020 is an initiative to recognize and felicitate Young Achievers and Leaders of tomorrow from various sectors of society. This helps to support and celebrate inspirational young people from all over the country who have existing initiatives, products or services tackling some of the planet’s biggest sustainability challenges.

Vatsal is one of the most intellectual and young entrepreneurs of India and his success is unbeatable. He is one of the top entrepreneurs to receive this award. It was his strong will, determination and power to take risks in life that led him to the pinnacle of success.

He has a strong vision of making India free of its dependence on China for met coke. He has identified a very big opportunity that exists in India for met coke post-COVID-19 where the government of India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the scheme of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat with the mantra of ‘Local is Vocal’.

Simplex Coke is currently the 4th largest merchant manufacturer and trader of met coke in India. He holds a vision of taking the company pan India. He has already managed to scale his company from a modest turnover of Rs.4 crores to Rs.100 crores in a span of merely 4 years with many key customers like Tata Chemical, Nirma, Hindustan Zinc, Hindalco, Jindal Saw, Essar, Kirloskar, JSPL, etc.

They have tied up with 7 coke manufacturers to build a pan India presence. Met Coke has the potential to become one of the most critical pillars of the Aatma Nirbhar (Self-Reliant India) movement, as it is an essential import substitution product. He has also recently taken over a BSE listed company, Stratmont Industries Limited.

The 2020 Young Achiever Awards, taking place in India, recognizes the innovators and products poised to change the world in the fields of technology, mining, infrastructure, and more. Business World  is proud to announce that renowned industrialist and entrepreneur Vatsal Agarwal will be the recipient of the 2020 Young achiever Award. Vatsal, who is currently the young and dynamic promoter and director of Simplex Coke and Refractory, Stratmont Industries and several other start-ups, is being honoured for his pioneering contributions to the mining and infra industry.  

Met Coke

COVID 19 has literally driven home the need and importance of building a self-reliant economy in these uncertain times. Met Coke has the potential to become one of the most critical pillars of the ‘Self-Reliant’ and ‘Make in India’ movement during coronavirus unlock phases, as it is an essential import substitution product where India is dependent on China, according to Vatsal.

India has meagre reserves of coking coal and coke making capacity which is the reason it’s dependent on China, a dominant player in this industry. China dictates the coke market by either increasing coke price or dumping the coke price to such a level that the Indian government had to impose the anti-dumping duty of USD 25 per ton on imports from China which increases the profit margin of domestic producers like Simplex Coke.

India has meagre reserves of coking coal and coke making capacity, so it does not figure in the world rankings. It has earmarked a huge expansion of the steel industry to meet the population base. Existing capacities at various steel plants within India have aged and they need immediate replacement.

Met coke is used mainly for the reduction of iron ore in blast furnaces. Seeing this as a good opportunity in Coke, Vatsal Agarwaal has recently signed an MOU with the Gujarat government, under ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ to set up new manufacturing capacities.

India produced 106.56 million tons of crude steel in 2018-19, making it the second-largest steel producer in the world. China currently has almost 800 million tonnes of steel capacity. 

“As per Steel Policy 2017, India has a target to produce 300 MT of steel by 2030. To achieve this target 30 Million Tonne of coke-making facilities are required in addition to the existing, envisaged facilities and coke import. Presently India is importing approximately 3 to 4 Million Tonne of Coke per year,” said Mr P.K. Rath CMD of RINL.

“India will overtake China to become the largest importer of coking coal by 2025,” Fitch Solutions Macro Research said recently. Also as per the KPMG report of April 2020, the Potential Impact of Covid-19 on Indian Economy, revealed that goods imported via ocean are in major danger of supply chain disruption.

Infrastructure

The government initiative to infuse investments in infrastructure is going to play a key role in reviving growth. The government has already included Infrastructure as a crucial part of his ‘5i agenda for economic revival’. Almost all sectors rely on a strong infrastructure set up right from transportation, logistics, to agriculture, and telecommunications.

The construction sector in India is considered to be the second-largest employer and contributor to economic activity, after the agriculture sector. The construction sector also accounts for the maximum inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) after the services sector and employs more than 35 million people in the country. 

The Indian government has an ambitious target of becoming a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2025, for which it has planned to make Rs.111 lakh crore investment in the infrastructure sector. The high margins in the equipment rental business were relatively unexploited, significantly that of piling rigs, causing Vatsal Agarwaal to successfully expand Simplex Coke & Refractory Ltd to become India’s largest piling rig rental company. 

Pile foundation is the most important aspect of all infrastructure projects. The company opted to make piling rigs its priority due to the fact that since it’s used in the initial phase of a project, payment receivables are always prompt and have low chances of turning bad.

Moreover, the high margins in the equipment rental business were not sufficiently exploited, especially that of piling rigs, causing Vatsal to successfully expand Simplex Coke & Refractory Ltd to become India’s largest piling rig rental company.

The country's economy and the construction industry both have faced adversity following the COVID-19 enforced lockdown. This unprecedented scale of events had forced the industry to come to a halt. While in the initial stages of revival, infrastructure investments will help boost employment, generate income, in the long run, it is set to boost the growth of the ancillary sectors, allowing stronger revival.

Vatsal believes that post-covid 19, the rental industry shall see a rise as construction companies and contractors will defer buying brand new equipment due to market instability. The company is already receiving inquiries for rental from many construction companies. Equipment taken on rental as machinery part is approximately 21% of any project. This brings down the cost of the project comes down by approximately 10% while increasing its profit margin.

The company has executed high-speed rail, river linkage, oil & gas, ports, power, bridges, building, realty and various other projects. He has been involved in most of the metro projects for companies like Tata Projects, HCC, Larsen & Toubro, HPCL’s Barmer refinery with Keller India and currently executing Andaman-Nicobar Islands’ National highway project.

IT Ventures

In these difficult times, Vatsal is not letting his entrepreneurial spirit simmer down and has come up with a brilliant new concept, Commodity Banks.com whereby a 100% solution is provided to any manufacturing enterprise where both ends that is inwards/raw materials and outwards/finished products both being commodities are financed by Commodity Bank. It is a bankable proposition as at any given point of time there shall be a commodity under control.

Agarwal also has an ideology of a marketplace named ‘worldofcoal.com’ where It will integrate real-time stock positions of various traders at different ports present, directly on the portal screen, such that buyers and sellers can match their price expectations as per market conditions.

Vatsal Agarwal is also launching an online platform ‘Equipment Banks’ through which Re-rental, used equipment sale, common parking yard on an all India basis with state government participation on PPP model and regional skill development centres for operators will operate.

A smaller businessman can quote for bigger projects based on a commitment letter of the equipment hired through Equipment Bank. A contractor can ensure that there’s “no capital wastage” as it earns from idle assets. A member parks his idle equipment in the Equipment Banks and earns money when it is rehired.

Coal mining auctions

Despite having one of the largest coal reserves in the world, India is the second-largest importer of coal. And this situation has been for many years. However, the government coal mining auction has literally changed the face of this sector. The recent auction process for 41 coal blocks for commercial mining is all set to open India’s coal sector for private players.

Early childhood

When he isn’t busy in the boardroom, Vatsal is a completely different man. Like guys of his age, he enjoys playing video games like FIFA and Call of Duty. On a day off he relaxes by binge-watching movies, especially comedy, action and drama. He also loves sports, his favourite being football and cricket. And for the record, he is a loyal Real Madrid supporter and a Cristiano Ronaldo fanboy. He follows Bollywood music very closely with his favourite artist being the ever popular Arijit Singh. In his free time, he also loves to write on myriad subjects, primarily concerning business and current topics.

Conclusion

As an entrepreneur it is his vision to ensure that all his business decisions act as a catalyst in the growth of the construction equipment market by creating meaningful interactions between various stakeholders of the industry – that includes customers, suppliers, investors, users, etc. He wants to create several platforms to showcase new path-breaking technologies, and solutions for the industry to ascend to the next level. And for that he has set in place processes to ensure his dreams turn into a reality. And as they say nothing is impossible when you have the determination and grit – something which this young achiever has in abundance!


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