Over the past few years, the sugar industry has been quite crestfallen due to a prolonged glut and depressed sugar prices in the global market, following which even the established players of the industry have refrained to take a major move.
Apparently, the Indian sugar industry is also making an uproar over not able to make sufficient profit and claiming to find it difficult to sustain, however, going ahead; someone is making an effort to foray into the industry amid the current scenario. Mr. Mansingh Khorate, a sugar broker, is aiming to make the industry a profitable business and change the perception as the industry sees it. His entry into the sugar industry as a miller is exemplary.
Mr. Khorate, who hails from Kolhapur, began his career as a chemical engineer with a private chemical factory as a production officer. He spent a few years in the factory and worked rigorously until he managed the entire unit as a factory manager. His experience and audacious goals pushed him to try his luck over doing something on his own. He initially began with exports in oxalic acid which is also produced from sugarcane, sugar and many alternative sources. Progressively, Mr. Khorate, Director of Atharv Intertrade Pvt. Ltd started to export sugar. Though he had a tough time being a new player in the industry, within a short span, he managed to become a prominent broker with leading companies. Later, people in the sugar fraternity even encouraged him to step into domestic trade after seeing his impressive dynamics in exports. Currently, the company has its full-fledged operations in domestic trade and exports having a turnover of over Rs. 1,000 crores. Recently, the company has acquired Daulat Sugar Mill, Halkarni on lease for 39 years.
In an exclusive interview with ChiniMandi.com, Mr.Khorate talks about beginning his journey from a broker to a sugar miller.
Following are the excerpts:
Q: Undoubtedly, your massive investment, optimistic outlook, and dynamic leadership will make this acquisition flourish, yet what are the other factors that encouraged you to strike to a decision towards becoming a miller?
A: Being a hardcore chemical engineer, I always had a dream to impart my knowledge and experience by running my own factory. This dream along with my journey in the sugar industry made me confident of acquiring this mill. The additional factors like the monumental support from the team of workers at this mill, the abundant availability of cane crop around the mill, the superior quality of machinery installed and many other more factors made my vision even more robust.
Q: While running this mill, what will be your forefront strategy?
A: The sugar industry can be called one of the most volatile ones; the right decision at the right time is what counts the most. My priority will always remain to ensure that the supply chain isn’t harmed with untimely payments and more importantly I would always try to keep my accountability away from the burden of interests.
Q: Where do you see this mill in the upcoming 5 to 10 years?
A: I am aware that the current scenario exhibits low ex-mill sugar prices, liquidity crunch with mills, various banking issues in the sector and of course tall stockpiles around the nation. I wouldn’t also deny that there are some issues in the cooperative mills’ sector, like constraints to decision making which of course hampers the growth of the mill at a quicker pace. Comparatively, private mills are performing well. I even understand that our industry dynamics work more on sentiments; however, as I mentioned, striking while the iron is hot is always better than getting laid back by the market sentiments.
In the next 5 to 6 years, I anticipate expanding the TCD which is currently 4000 MT. Also, I intend to diversify the existing distillery to an ethanol plant. The Government is taking commendable steps on ethanol procurement through higher ethanol pricing considering the capacity constraints, the spread of geography, competitive demand from industry-based alcohol and demand for ethanol blended petrol. With this, my binocular vision makes me see a good future for mills having distilleries linked.
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