Ampcontrol wires up for India


The Australia-based Ampcontrol Group is a leading international supplier of electrical and electronic products to the mining, energy and power sectors. Its strategically positioned operations around the world – China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom – allow the group to meet the needs of its global customers. The company, which was in Kolkata recently as part of the Association of British Mining Equipment Companies (ABMEC) delegation to the International Mining & Machinery Exhibition (IMME), 2014, has been offering electrical solutions to the mining industry for over four decades. The company now has major plans for India, Paul Briggs, Sales Director, Ampcontrol, reveals to Madhumita Mookerji of Coal Insights.

Does Ampcontrol have any India plans?
We are looking to expand business here in India. We are looking to build resources and may also set up a manufacturing base here. That’s the route we are taking.

Are you looking at acquisitions in India?
Well, that is one of the options.

Are you in talks with any players?
No, not yet. That is a strategy that we developed in the last three-four months. We would be looking at acquiring a company with a topline in the range of £2-5 million. We want to mainly acquire an electrical engineering business in India – one that is possibly already involved with the mines.
We want to get a business which has a good reputation, observes safety standards and quality procedures. We are looking at various ways in which we could grow the business here. We could have a start-up in India. We could also explore a joint venture here instead of a start-up; or, we could have a contract arrangement where some player company manufacture products for us.

What are your investment plans in India?
Probably half a million pounds of investments till we get into a position where we can manufacture some products – say over the next 2 years. This could be in the form of an acquisition, start-up, JV etc.

Which sectors would you be targeting?
Underground coal mining. In India, we know that at present most mines are surface. But, in the future, more and more mines would be underground. That’s where our expertise is. We are involved to some extent with oil and gas but predominantly our business is with underground coal mining.
Ampcontrol is an electrical engineering and manufacturing company which offers services like automation and software, conveyors, environmental monitoring, lighting, longwall, power distribution in underground coal mines across the world.
What is Ampcontrol’s turnover like?
Ampcontrol as a corporate entity has a presence in three regions but headquartered in Newcastle, in New South Wales, Australia. Ampcontrol Africa deals with Africa and the UK business looks after exports everywhere around the world except for South Africa and Australia. We do business in South America, Russia, China, India, Iran etc. Last year, our total turnover from the UK was £13 million. Globally, it is $300 million or £160 million. Exports are generally a profitable business.

What sort of projects are you targeting?
We are looking at big contracts in India over the next five years that should amount to 1-1.5 million pounds per annum. One reason we want to get into manufacturing in India is because of the competitiveness. It could bring manufacturing cost down.
And coal should contribute a good 90% to our business in India. We are also working with some of the big OEMs in India. We are not new to India. We have been supplying for the last 40 years. The fundamental change over the years has been that the UK had a good home market and overseas competition was much lower and we had a reputation (and we still do) for high quality technical ability. But I think the world is catching up. The global scenario for coal mining is not too hot and as the European market diminishes they either have to diversify and move to different industries or look for markets elsewhere, the latter being more probable. For us it would be important to offer surface applications. So we too are looking to expand. But it will be mainly through OEMs.

Coal Insights, December 2014