WE EXPECT DOUBLE-DIGIT GROWTH OVER THE COMING YEARS
Business Today|March 07, 2021
The $9-billion US-based Air Products, the world’s leading industrial gases company, has extensive operations in India. Industrial gases are an integral raw material in energy, hydrocarbons and chemicals. Richard Boocock, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer and Special Advisor to the Board's Chairman, tells P.B. Jayakumar that the policies announced in the last few months for Atmanirbhar Bharat will boost manufacturing in India further. Edited excerpts:
P.B. Jayakumar

Since you assist numerous companies in manufacturing, do you see recovery in India post-Covid?

Air Products is among the leading industrial gases companies globally. Our market capitalisation is around $60 billion. That makes us one of the bigger American specialty chemical companies. Our industrial gases business is growing in double digits. Obviously, there was some disruption related to the pandemic. India is a growing market for manufacturing. The policies announced in the last few months around self-reliant India are supportive of continued growth of manufacturing in India. This means consumption of industrial gases will continue to grow. A lot of industrial gases are used in iron and steel manufacturing, semiconductor manufacturing, food processing, glass manufacturing, tyre production, and so on.

With Air Products and INOX Air Products ( joint venture), we are definitely the leading industrial gases companies in India. India is a developing market for industrial gases with some steelmakers owning a lot of captive capacity. Then there’s the Build Own Operate capacity that Air Products and INOX Air Products have built over the years. I think the Indian market for industrial gases is around 4,000 tonnes per day, probably around $500 million a year.

Industrial gases have numerous applications in chemical and hydrocarbon sectors. One of the areas where we have a world-leading position is gasification of coal. If India is going to gasify coal, as announced by the prime minister, to take advantage of domestic coal supplies, Air Products has a leading position in gasification technology as well as supply of oxygen to gasify the coal. This is an area where we are looking to invest — on a Build Own Operate model — to make world scale gasification complexes in India.

What is coal gasification? What are its applications?

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