Bhushan Mhapralkar

It is not every day that an opportunity to meet a football player of such height as Diego Forlan presents itself. Not in a country like India for certain, which worships cricket over any other sport. So, when Balkrishna Tires Ltd. (BKT) got Diego Forlan to India, it made big news of its partnership with the Spanish football team LaLiga. Specialising in the manufacture of off-highway tyres for vehicles in the agricultural, industrial, earthmoving, mining, ATV and gardening sectors, BKT found out that its clients most liked to connect to football in their past time. It, therefore, decided to connect with LaLiga to highlight the fact that it believes in the philosophy of performance having no limits like it is in the case of a sport like a football. Choosing LaLiga since it has a global presence (and a rapidly increasing fan base in India too), BKT has made it clear that it is no mood to let go of any opportunity that will take it closer to its clients. The partnership taking immediate effect, and valid for three years until the end of the 2021/2022 season, should promise the off-highway tyre major scope to score some very decisive goals as far as its reach in the exports markets and the domestic market is concerned. Expressed Rajiv Poddar, Joint Managing Director, BKT, that the football world with both its rules and dynamics is in-line with his company’s values regarding determination and an uncompromising wish to win.

Present in 160 countries in the world, and with offices in Europe and US, BKT has been associating itself with many sporting organisations the world over to increase brand awareness. Looking at sports as an instrument, which perfectly supports its message on a global level because of its characteristic traits such as fair play, respect for the opponent, competition and strategy, the company, through LaLiga is looking at engaging with its clients at a different level altogether. Especially in Spain, which is a major strategic market in Europe for its agricultural equipment tyres. Elevating its capabilities through the establishment of world-class R&D centre and well-equipped manufacturing facilities at Aurangabad, Bhuj, Bhiwadi, Dombivali, and Chopanki respectively, BKT has been steadily gaining a share of domestic market. Offering articulated dump truck tyre, dozer tyre, grader tyre, load haul train tyre, load haul dump truck tyre, loader tyre, tipper truck tyre, rigid dumper tyre, scraper tyre and underground mining vehicle tyre under the OTR range, BKT is today witnessing close to 40 per cent of its production going into the domestic market. Putting its plan to build a plant in US on hold by citing ‘difficult macroeconomics’ and ‘volatile climate conditions’, the company has been quite successful in reducing its dependence on the exports market, which was at one time as high as 91 per cent.

Riding on the boost the Indian government has provided for infrastructure development and rising farm mechanisation, BKT has been going to great lengths to increase brand awareness. In terms of capabilities, it has been steadily ramping up production of carbon black at its Bhuj plant. Starting trial production earlier this year with an initial production capacity of 60,000 metric tonnes, it is keen to take the capacity to 80,000 metric tonnes in the 2021 financial year. Chalking out plans to upgrade its Aurangabad plant at the cost of USD-five billion to turn it into one of the most advanced integrated units that the company has, BKT is confident of achieving good growth in the exports as well as the domestic markets. In anticipation to that, the company, apart from hiking the capacity at the Bhuj plant to 5000 metric-tonnes, is said to be looking at building a warehouse and a mixing plant at the same location. Leaving no stone unturned to keep growing despite the challenging business environment, BKT is elevating its capabilities to increase its brand recall. It was perhaps not for no reason that Jose Antonio Cachaza, Managing Director, LaLiga India mentioned, that they are excited to welcome BKT, a brand that shares the same values as LaLiga, as their partner for the next three years to keep both the brands growing internationally.

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