History in the making

 Mr. Satish Pai

Living in a globally connected world, we are constantly in the midst of rapid events with history being made around us.

This year alone, we have a war in Europe with the simmering threat of escalation. Wordle caught the world’s imagination as millions pitted their wits in a game that the NYT called a ‘love story’. The spectre of Covid has raised its ugly head again in China putting global supply chains at risk. An AI chatbot called ChatGPT is conversing with people and writing human-like poetry, fiction and code. Extreme weather events have dealt shocks to life in countries across Asia, Europe and North America. And then we had the breath-taking FIFA World Cup – which was as much a sporting event as a masterclass in spirit, teamwork and sheer perseverance.

At Hindalco, we have been making quite a bit of history ourselves.

Sustaining, achieving, rising

We started the year with Covid behind us and our business performance touched a new high. And despite geopolitical headwinds, inflation and high energy prices, Hindalco delivered sustained financial and operational performance.

In November 2022, Hindalco was ranked the World’s Most Sustainable Aluminium Company by Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, for the third year running. For us this is not only a business differentiator, but an affirmation of our well-honed resilience and future-ready approach to business.

Riding market trends

The aluminium business is riding on favourable global trends in favour of lightweighting and the surge in EV mobility has supported demand. The Technology Team and plants worked together to have our Aluminium Primary Foundry Alloy certified by Japan’s Nikkin Lab, which opens doors for potential OEM tie-ups. 

Our greenfield unit Silvassa has produced its first extrusion section on time, under budget and will ramp up to full capability in 2023 as one of the world’s most advanced extrusion plants. Renukoot, Alupuram and Kuppam have all set records in downstream manufacturing productivity. Work has started on the Sambalpur rolling plant expansion. To reflect the importance of value-added business, we have made changes to the Downstream Organisation to lead us in the next decade.

Reimagining mobility

One of the highlights of the year was the launch of the first aluminium rake in Bhubaneswar by the Union Railway Minister. The aluminium rake is a game changing project conceptualised and developed by Hindalco with its partners. The commercial vehicles team has delivered lightweight trailers to three cement companies -- each trailer will save 28 tonnes of CO2 in its lifetime. More such mobility projects are rolling forward. 

Leading the market

The Copper Business delivered one of its best performances in 2022. Hindalco became the most preferred Copper supplier in India, serving two-thirds of the country’s Copper needs. Value-added product sales rose to a new high, supported by solid contributions from the Precious Metals and Sulphuric Acid segments. The business made steady progress on its downstream expansion with the successful commissioning of the alloy rod plant at Bhiwadi and the launch of the Inner Groove Tubes project. With significant improvements in quality, reliability and customer service, the Copper Business achieved an industry-leading NPS of 86%.  

Driving sustainable growth

The Specialty Alumina business saw a rise in profitability and an improved product portfolio. The business is enhancing its global brand and footprint through global trade events and infrastructure setup in key markets like Japan, the US and Europe.

Specialty Alumina has initiated the transition to green, with a 33 TPH bio-mass project set up at Belagavi and the commencement of a hybrid solar and wind project to meet almost 100% of its power requirement.  Red mud has been consistently dispatched at more than 100% level at three of our refineries, further reinforcing our sustainable and circular economy agenda. 

Raising our capability quotient

Getting closer to customers and creating new solutions for them generates new value streams for Hindalco – and it also creates exciting new career opportunities for our people. It’s heartening to see our people stepping up to manage roles that call for cross-functional collaboration and solutioning at an unprecedented level. People are our most powerful differentiator and 2023 will see even more investment in people development.  

This change within Hindalco is getting further strengthened through our continuous culture journey that we started 5 years ago at Shillim. This year we focus on ‘Apni Zimmedari’, ownership and accountability. About 200 Culture Change Ambassador (CCAs) are involved in driving new compelling experiences like the ‘Bhoomika Board Celebration’ which recognises high performance behaviours. About 5,000 cards have been given out already. The Hindalco My Resolve card is being rolled out to align each individual towards progress on decided commitments/actions. History is made when we pull together.

Looking forward

As 2023 turns the corner, we face it with the conviction that whatever the year holds in store for us, we will keep aiming for the goal like Argentina, try harder like France, and cheer for the goals we score. Resilience, positivity and audaciousness will take us forward.

The year ahead promises to be an exciting next-leg of our journey, tough and promising. I am confident we will prise opportunities out of every uncertainty, as we have always done before.

I wish you and your loved ones a very happy 2023!

Satish Pai