Mr. Pragun Jindal Khaitan, Vice-Chairman & Managing Director at Jindal Aluminium Limited

Please give us a brief about the journey of Jindal Aluminium Ltd.

My grandfather, Dr. Sitaram Jindal, is the fourth of five brothers who jointly set up an industrial empire unparalleled in modern India. While studying at Kolkata (then Calcutta) University, he worked with his brothers towards setting up a steel pipe factory. After establishing the factory in Kolkata, he and his brotherset up a giant steel pipe factory (Jindal India Ltd) in Hissar, Haryana. Back then; this was one of the firstcompanies to manufacture steel pipes and tubes on a large scale in India.
Post this success, he envisioned a future beyond steel and wanted to do something that could lay the foundation for another vital industry fuelling growth, and the foundation of now Jindal Aluminium Limitedwas laid in 1968 (It is to be noted, the company was incorporated in 1970). Aluminium was relatively a newmetal at that time. Many people could not even spell it correctly – putting a double ‘’L’’ in the wordAluminium.This is how Dr. Sitaram Jindal started his journey setting up the largest Aluminium extruder inIndia – Jindal Aluminium Limited.
Over the last five decades, Jindal Aluminium Limited’s commitment towards quality and customer satisfaction has led to its association with the growth and success of some of the world’s finest companies. Our leadership in aluminium extrusions is undisputed and we are one of the leading companies in aluminium flat-rolled products in India.
Currently, we have a production capacity of 1.75 lakh metric tonnes, meeting 25-30% of the Aluminium extruded and 10-12% of India’s Aluminum flat-rolled products.In FY 2019-20, Jindal Aluminium Limited reported an INR 30 billion (USD 435 mn) turnover with a production of above 1.25 lac ton.

Please brief us of your newly launched programme ‘SAHAY’.

The pandemic has been both emotionally and psychologically taxing for many. While the nation is fighting it together, emotional and mental well-being is the most neglected part, needing intervention.
At Jindal Aluminium, we feel responsible for caring for employees by supporting their overall well-being, including mental and emotional health. SAHAY is a part of this belief aiming to improve the motional well-being of our employees and their family members. It provides safe and approving space with a specialist to discuss psychological conditions related to anxiety, stress, or emotional difficulties.

What has been the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on your Industry? What are the preventive &safety steps you have taken to resume your manufacturing units?

At the beginning of the first lockdown, the overall demand for Aluminium had sharply condensed compared to the normal conditions. Segments like construction, electrical, automobile, and other industries were unable to operate to their fullest capacity, many of our customers paused their production too. The economic slowdown is bound to happen as a reciprocal effect of the lockdown. The months of April and May 2020 saw a reduction in the overall output. But by June, an average 65-70% rise in demand was recorded, and by November (2020), we were nearing pre-Covid levels. Exports have continued at 15-20% of the total output during this period. As of today, we are functioning at pre-Covid levels.
Jindal Aluminium is highly focused on safeguarding people, society, and resources. Throughout the pandemic and the lockdowns, the central and state government guidelines have been a dependable framework for us. Our value systems as good corporate citizens have stood the test of time over 50 years now, and the COVID19 pandemic is no exception. Even in this unprecedented situation, our focus has been on standing with our people and society, ensuring that no lives are adversely impacted. There have been multiple steps taken in that direction. Currently, we are in the process of getting our entire workforce vaccinated starting by the middle of this month (Aug 2021).

Please brief us on JAL’s success mantra. It’s secret behind the growth since the last decade.

It was a long journey with multiple path-breaking decisions determining the growth of the company today.But if I have to put this across as a part of the foundation of the legacy, I would say the decision to stick toquality even though it was not demanded (by customers or industry) has set the tone for the industry and abenchmark for our products. We have customers to whom we have been supplying for decades. The cost-optimization-focused business approach has built a fiscal discipline culture, driving spending and costreduction while maximizing customer value. It has helped us maintain profitability and, thus, low leverage. Itwas a challenge to establish a robust distribution network during those times, but it was a bold decision thatproved to be wise to build and invest in a unique distribution network. It now forms the backbone of oursales. It kept our focus on core competencies and, at the same time, gave us access to a broader market.Leveraging our distribution network to grow sales was only possible by providing better value and earningsfor our dealers, and hence this network has continued for decades. All this would not have been possiblewithout the support of our employees. We have been investing in our people from the very beginning. It hashelped us elevate team members up the value chain and provide the necessary support for the company’s ecosystem to function efficiently.
So, producing only quality-focused products, following a fiscally disciplined approach, providing value to ourdealers, and building an extended family of employees are the core decisions that have shaped the companythat it is right now.

Jindal Aluminium is a business with a rich heritage. How does it feel to be a part of such a legacy? What is the way forward for the company?

The legacy is truly remarkable. The values that we have built over these decades are my most significantassets. I feel fortunate that the transition was natural, given that I got the opportunity to work with mygrandfather, Dr. Sitaram Jindal, who has prepared me for this role. Since I joined the company in 2013 and even before, he has been a torchbearer for me on this journey. I have tremendous gratitude towards my grandfather for the way he has built the company and how he has guided me. The solid foundation laid by him gives me a lot of confidence to make sure we are only growing it from here.
We have recently introduced SAP technology that will allow us to leverage digital solutions in our business strategy. Over the next several months, the company will witness a leadership-driven initiative paving the way to implement a digital ecosystem across our business functions. We want to combine Jindal Aluminium’s legacy knowledge base with the use of the latest technology and create a distinct advantage. We see this as the way forward that will position us well for the future and also benefit from it.