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ABM Exide to introduce revolutionary quick charge battery

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Associated Battery Manufacturers (Ceylon) Limited (ABM) plans to double its battery exports in 2017/18 and introduce a quick charge battery to the market, said ABM Director, CEO M Ramachandran.

The Director said they plan to focus on more innovative technology this year and has signed an agreement with Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) to increase charge acceptance where the batteries will get charged in a very short period.

This will create a revolutionary change in the automobile battery market in Sri Lanka, he noted. Further, batteries for electric vehicle will be manufactured targeting electric three-wheelers and when the Sri Lankan market shifts to electric vehicles their products would be ready.

ABM also plan to build solar batteries which will be charged through solar panels to coincide with the government’s efforts to promote small and medium scale installations of solar which will need more solar storing facilities like houses,offices and shops. Rs 200 million will be allocated in capacity enhancement and new battery projects and Rs 6.5 million in research and development.

He said the ABM was able to achieve a 17% growth in its top-line and bottom-line in the backdrop of Government policy changes affecting its battery sales in the three-wheeler OEM segment by 50% in Sri Lanka.

“Despite decline in the three wheeler market, particularly in OEM, due to the changes in government policy we recorded a growth of 17%and this was possible mainly due to the new strategies that we adopted particularly in the manufacturing and sale of motorcycle batteries and commencing battery exports overseas last year,” he said.

ABM meanwhile has recorded a healthy financial performance registering turnover of over Rs 150 million from battery exports and posting a profit before tax (PBT) of Rs 241.65 million in the financial year 2016/17. In 2017/18 ABM intend to double their export targeting an export revenue of Rs 300 million with sales expected to reach Rs 3.1 billion.

Ramachandran said they have recorded significant inroads in battery exports overseas last year and have now established their EXLAN and ABMEX brands in Dubai, Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar and Maldives.

The feedback and performance for these exports has been very encouraging. Particularly the most severe application of the company’s brands has been in the taxi segment in counties like Dubai where the temperature goes up to as high as 50 degrees Celsius and the car bonnet temperature going up to 70 degrees Celsius. Also taxis run on average 70-80,000 km in six to seven months in these countries, he said.

In that segment the feedback was that EXLAN and ABMEX batteries were doing very well whereas other battery brands had trend to fail within six months, the CEO/Director said.“This is mainly because of the quality and the consistency of the performance of our batteries. We have checked some of our batteries that have completed more than seven months and the usage of more than 80,000 km used in taxis and found that they were in very good condition and we expect the batteries to easily perform perfectly for over one year.”

The overseas distributor wants to project this battery with a one year’s warranty and ABMis prepared to provide this guarantee to their dealers in Dubai which will change the game in the taxi segment having more penetration, the Director/CEO, said. Ramachandran expressed optimism of a good future in the Dubai market for their brands EXLAN and ABMEX in the future.

He said they were doing well in Singapore and the distributors in Myanmar were very happy with the performance and all these achievements have been made competing in a very price competitive export market. “It is not that we go with a very cheap product in terms of price but by offering new technology, quality and consistency in performance and providing one year’s guarantee against six months guarantee we get a better premium,” he opined.

Ramachandran said they were also doing a lot of cost reduction activities by adopting Kaizen methods in their production line under the supervision of the newly appointed Kaizen committee and that has helped immensely in cost reduction.

The CEO disclosed that they will be venturing into two new areas this year by exporting batteries to the African and Pakistan markets and last year they had made a breakthrough in the motorcycle battery market in Sri Lanka by entering it with their own products.

Among the significant achievements has been the drastic reduction in warranty claims from 7% three years ago (2013/14) to 2.4% and this has helped them increase their market share which went down to 45% has now reach the 60 %penetration, with a year-end target of 65%, he said.

He said with the good feedback they have been able to convert dealers of competitors into their fold and have been able to introduce new products with different warranty terms to the market.

They have also strengthened their service network and battery replacements were done quickly when required and this service applies to other brands as well.

A new website was also been formulated that will give firsthand information of their products and troubleshooting solutions to customers and function as a user guide, he added.

ABM CEO/Director M. Ramachandran

ABM Exide battery exports expand to new markets

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Associated Battery Manufacturers (Ceylon) Ltd. (ABM) has increased battery exports to overseas markets bringing in foreign exchange to the tune of $ 324,166 till October this year.

The demand for ABM Exide batteries overseas has been good and the company targets $ 1 m revenue in 2016/17 on battery exports to foreign markets, said ABM CEO/Director M. Ramachandran. The company mustered export revenue of $ 144,081 in the finance year 2015/16.

This year plans have been also made to produce electric three-wheeler, solar application and industrial batteries, he said.

The CEO said by 2020 they target Rs. 5 billion turnover with a 65% local market share and that was part of the expansion plan which had asked for more exports and new products added to the company’s portfolio. The company has also projected a PBT of Rs. 500 million in the same period.

The new office complex building with an investment of Rs. 30 million is now commissioned and the two wheeler battery manufacturing plant with an investment of Rs. 50 million is scheduled to commence manufacturing in January 2017, the CEO said.

Exide has captured close to 60% of the local market in Sri Lanka. An aggressive export campaign has been also launched by ABM after setting up its international marketing division and a good response has been received from different counties, Ramachandran said.

Ramachandran said they were now to enter the Myanmar market and had already started with Singapore and through the company CBSEA enter Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. Myanmar is a huge potential market and they were confident of penetrating that market. Dubai is another potential market and ABM has already sent the first consignment there, the CEO said.

Officials from the Maldives, Singapore, Myanmar, Dubai and Seychelles had earlier visited the ABM factory premises in Ratmalana and were very impressed with the product, the changes and the quality systems of the plant, he said. Orders started to flow in subsequent to these visits, he opined.

Furthermore, a Rs. 76 million assembly line has been ordered from the UK as a part of expansion drive in addition to the investment in the office complex this year, he said. The marine battery project which commenced this year too was gaining momentum with consignments already dispatched to Maldives and Singapore.

The International Marketing Division was formed in April and up to October had exported batteries to the value of $ 324,166  and the projected target  for 2016/17 is $ 1 million, said Dharshana Thudewattage, Head –International Marketing and TQM.  He said they plan to market the battery under EXLAN and ABMEX brands particularly to Myanmar which is a huge potential market and was in the process of negotiating to appoint exclusive dealers for Myanmar within six months.

Associated Battery Manufacturers (Ceylon) Ltd (ABM) has increased its battery exports overseas formulating new initiatives to become a major global player.

ABM Exide extends global footprint with US$ 1 mn revenue target for 2016/17

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Associated Battery Manufacturers (Ceylon) Ltd (ABM) has increased its battery exports overseas formulating new initiatives to become a major global player.

The response to ABM Exide batteries in foreign countries has been good and the company was targeting US$ 1mn revenue in 2016/17 on battery exports to foreign markets, said ABM CEO, Director M Ramachandran.

Plans have been also made to produce electric three-wheeler, solar application and industrial batteries, he said.

The company mustered export revenue of US$ 144,081 in the finance year 2015/16 and up to October this year has earned foreign exchange to the tune of US$ 324,166 from battery exports.

By 2020 the CEO said they target Rs five billion turnover with a 65% local market shareand that was part of the expansion plan which had asked for more exports and new products added to the company’s portfolio. The company has also projected a PBT of Rs 500 million in the same period.

The new office complex building with an investment of Rs 30 million is now commissioned and the two wheeler battery manufacturing plant with an investment of Rs 50 million is scheduled to commence manufacturing in January 2017, the CEO said. Exide has captured close to 60% of the local market in Sri Lanka exhausting 80% of its plant capacity and further expansions were on the cards.

An aggressive export campaign has been also launched by ABM after setting up its international marketing division and a good response has been received from different counties, Ramachandran said.

“We are trying to be unique and have a technical edge on other batteries. We analyze the batteries available in countries that we export and do the product at par of those batteries or products with better advantage in that market in terms of technology or price. This technical expertise will also be passed onto the local customer,” he said.

Ramachandran said they were now to enter the Myanmar market and had already started with Singapore and through the company CBSEA enter Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. Myanmar is a huge potential market and they were confident of penetrating that market. Dubai is another potential market and ABM has already sent the first consignment there, the CEO said. Officials fromthe Maldives, Singapore, Myanmar, Dubai and Seychelles had earlier visited the ABM factory premises in Ratmalana and were very impressed with the product, the changes and the quality systems of the plant, he said. Orders started to flow in subsequent to these visits,he opined.

Furthermore,a Rs 76 million assembly line has been ordered from the UK as a part of expansion drive in addition to the investment in the office complex this year, he said.The marine battery project which commenced this year too was gaining momentum with consignments already dispatched to Maldives and Singapore. The International Marketing Division was formed in April and up to October had exported batteries to the value of US$ 324,166 and the projected target for 2016/17 is US$ 1 million, said Dharshana Thudewattage, Head –International Marketing & TQM. He said they plan to market the battery under EXLAN and ABMEX brandsparticularly to Myanmar which is a huge potential market and was in the process of negotiating to appoint exclusive dealers for Myanmar within six months.

A delegation from Dubai’s one of the largest spare parts companies Parts world who own 7,000 Toyota Camry taxis visited the ABM factory and has decided to source batteries from ABM, now, Thudewattage noted. Orders from Singapore have increased with Singapore Ports Authority and Singapore Army also placing orders for ABM batteries. Thudewattage said last month they shipped a US$ 50,000 consignment to ALIA Investments Maldives who is the Yamaha agent there and a consignment of Marine batteries was dispatched in August to MTCC which is a Government company in the Maldives. He said that the General Manager from Executive Motors from Seychelles had also visited the factory and discussions were underway to supply batteries to Seychelles and through Seychelles to Mauritius and other African counties.

ABM targets 80 % increase in PBT in 2015/16

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Associated Battery Manufacturers(Ceylon) Limited’s (ABM) profit before tax (PBT) is tipped to increased by 80% in 2015/16.

This is in the wake of a total management restructure and revamping of machinery and factory with an investment of over Rs 250 million.

The company’s battery sales is expected to reach a target of 440,000 in 2015/16, an increase of 46% from 310,000 units in 2014/15. The company’s production capacity has also increased to 50,000 batteries per month with the company holding a 60% share in the local market.

ABM, the only ISO Certified battery producer in Sri Lanka manufacturing Exide, Lucas and Dagenite branded batteries is now showing tremendous progress in all spheres after the restructure process, said M. Ramachandran who assumed duties as Director/CEO in July 2014.

A new office complex with an investment of Rs 25 million and a two wheeler battery manufacturing plant with a total investment of Rs 50 million will commence operations in the first quarter of 2016/17, said the CEO who has been instrumental in the restructuring progress of ABM.

“The factory has changed, when compared with what it was two years ago. It is a massive change and the changes were made starting at the grassroots level. First with people who are very important to the organization,” Ramachandran said.

Therefore a new organization, grading structure and roadmap for employee growth was formulated and introduced to redress employee grievances and anomalies and instill motivation in them.

In addition a Collective Agreement was signed with an overall increase in productivity of 7% (productivity linked settlement) and in addition a lot of welfare schemes introduced for staff including technical training, Ramachandran said. The next challenge the CEO had to face was the necessity to improve the work environment of the factory which was lagging way behind.

For this the landscape and aesthetic appearance of the factory building was drastically improved as part of the new facelift given to the factory which is clearly visible now.

Also measures has been taken to improve health and working environment by introducing fume extraction system connected to a wet scrubber spending Rs 15 million to prevent environment pollution and introducing heavy duty vacuum cleaners in the factory floor to remove dust. This prevents led dust being thrown out to the environment.

He also said there is a regular monitoring system for water and energy to prevent waste of natural resources. Ramachandran said with proper approval they have constructed a shed to store slag in Telewala and moved out 1,500 tons of waste material which was stacked in the factory premises to the new shed.

Sakunda Tennakoon, Head of Finance said they have now implemented SAP ERP By design system and have also launched the latest version of maintenance free battery, the MaxxMF with a 4 year warranty last week.

The reduction of company tax from 28% to 15% by the budget 2016 is beneficial to the industry and they now target an annual turnover of Rs. 2.5 billion, he said.

Tennakoon said after commencing manufacture of batteries for two wheelers they plan to capture 30% of the motorcycle market and already Bajaj has approached them for motorcycles batteries for their motorcycles imported to Sri Lanka.

He said they have got two export orders to Kuwait and Armenia which has to be shipped before December 25 and plan to enter the Maldives market with Marine batteries next year.

Exide Industries Limited, India has a 61.5% stake of ABM while Brown & Company PLC 38.5%.

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