The scenario has not been the best in Europe. The recession has slightly slowed down the sector that is generally overflowing with work. I am not sure if it has grown at all in 2009, whereas it was on the rise all these years.
We have had a fairly good year compared with other industries especially those in construction equipment, material handling, steel, cement, mines and coal where the values have declined by 50 – 70%. So, this year has been quite good for us. We didn’t grow but let’s say that we could maintain our position – the same standard we had maintained in 2008. 2008 was a good year too until October but in the last three months, everything came to a halt. Yet, we had a growth of about 15%.
In general, we have faced the situation where contract cleaning has maintained more or less its part of turnover and municipalities have continued to buy even if they have problems in paying.
How are Dulevo India operations?
In India, we have developed very well. Though we are just beginning here and developing a team of people, we are happy with our progress. We started just one and half year ago. But we have a team of experienced people on board. They know the market. Our plan for India is to grow and penetrate the Industrial Sweeper market really well. We intend to focus on the heavy industries where we already have a good presence. The Jindals, Tatas, chemical factories, steel plants and airports can be our major clients. We also want to increase our presence in big industrial groups. We are working with the dealers of construction equipment company JCB. We have created four main distributors of Dulevo within the JCB structure and this gives a good infrastructure to service this construction company. We will focus on the distribution network of cleaning equipment and grow from there.
India is a huge market and we have to have the forces to penetrate everywhere geographically. And our target is to grow in to municipal business. We can tell the municipality the importance of our equipment that help the environment. It will ultimately go on to help the public. For example, we are now pushing the first CNG sweeper in the market of cleaning. The CNG market in India is incredibly huge. In just a few years, Delhi, Mumbai and other big cities have converted successfully to gas, to this source of power that reduces the impact on the environment. I believe you all know that given your population and number of vehicles on the road, your cities would have been adversely affected had you not converted your vehicular fuel to gas. Your buses, three-wheelers and taxis run on CNG. We Europeans find it quite impressive because the governments have been pushing CNG solutions in our countries since a long time but the results have not been so successful.
Tell us a little about your machine Zero
We have already sold the first unit of this new sweeper, Zero. It has won several prizes as the ‘Product of the year – 2009’ because it is the first sweeper with zero emissions. It reduces the emission of exhaust gases by using engines that work with CNG, and by utilising filtering systems that limit or avoid the emission of PM10 into the atmosphere completely. When you are sweeping, you have to collect garbage from the land, streets. But then, you have to pay attention to where you put this stuff and how you filter it taking care that you do not blow it into the atmosphere again. So, with the application of filters that we have patented, the machine takes care of this aspect. The machine’s noise emission is reduced by 10% when compared with other vehicles. Also, the machine is able to sweep without any use of water. So, in our own way, we are helping ecology. That is the reason why we are pushing this aspect strongly to the municipalities and the governments.
Who have been your buyers so far?
The first big tender has been of the municipality of Rome. We delivered them 20 units two weeks ago. We have delivered units to the municipality of Prague and Czech Republic too. We have delivered a few to Dubai and we are introducing the concepts in Milan and the northern municipalities like Paris. Here we are already offering the vehicle. The sweeping is identical to that of the diesel version. The revolution is in the application of the CNG to this vehicle. The machine is ready and we hope to deliver it very soon.
What are your strategies in India?
Our plan is to structure our company in a way that we are very near our customers. They require a level of quality not only of the machine but also of our service. Of course, India is big and the machines are at different places. But we are committed to giving our subsidiary service for machinery everywhere and very fast. The fact that we are here in India ourselves, with our own staff, trained technicians, having our spare parts on the shelves and having good machines in stock helps us in rendering good service.
We will be working with the contractors because all these contracts have been sub-contracted by the municipalities. We will surely help these contractors with the machines and show the public authorities how well done their work will be with these machines. But, for these high-class services, the municipalities have to pay a certain price per annum. They have to appreciate the fact that you cannot create high-quality service with low budget.
In which countries do you have presence?
We have our subsidiaries in Melbourne, Australia at three locations. We have a factory in Mexico that caters to the whole American continent. In the US we have only dealers. We don’t have direct presence in that part of the world. We are strong in the Middle-East – Dubai, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt and Syria. We also work a lot in Asia between Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
We clean almost 70% of the formula one track in the world. This year, we were awarded with the cleaning of the Spanish One, Momp-Melo near Barcelona. We were also awarded with Singapore Grand Prix. This year, we had put in service fifteen machines for the cleaning of the Singapore municipality and also the Grand Prix. And then, we are awarded the new Abu Dhabi formula one track. We also clean in Monaco, Hungary and Germany. They require a very high speed of cleaning.
What is your goal for the future?
For having the best solutions, you need to clean, you need to sweep. The market is growing and that is very interesting. Of course, in the beginning, there was a lot of confusion. The important thing is that you should not underestimate the level of service for different nations. The countries can be different, the cultures can be different, but the level of quality has to be the same because, a badly maintained machine gives you a bad image anywhere in the world.