Monday, June 21, 2021

Interaction - Muthu Kumaran, DGM, Head-Façade & Roof div., New Market Development, Wienerberger India

Sustainability is an integral aspect of Wienerberger India’s strategy with relentless focus on green products and manufacturing processes



Wienerberger is the world’s largest producer of bricks (Porotherm, Terca) as well as number one on the clay roof tile market (Koramic, TONDACH) in Europe and on the concrete paver market (Semmelrock) in Central-East Europe. With over 204 factories across 30 countries, Wienerberger has become the foremost authority when it comes to natural, sustainable, green building material solution provider. In 2009, the company started delivering high quality clay building materials to the Indian market which are manufactured in the state-of-the-art production facility in Kunigal, Karnataka.

In an exclusive interview MUTHU KUMARAN, DGM, HEAD – FAÇADE & ROOF DIV.,NEW MARKET DEVELOPMENT, WIENERBERGER INDIA, speaks to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, on the roofing market in India, his company’s offerings, new launches and a lot more.



Give an overview of the Roofing market in India in terms of cost/quality equations, sector challenges, and growth prospects.

The Indian roofing market, particularly the clay roof tiles market is majorly driven by the retail market which consists of Individual homes & Villa projects. In this segment, the consumers play a key role as aesthetics/ elevation/ architectural design of the project is a deciding factor.

In terms of cost and quality, on one hand we have discerning customers for premium roof tiles from Europe, while on the other hand there are is also a market for mid-range clay roof tiles that offer functionality and aesthetics at an affordable price range.

However, the key challenge is to service the market with timely supply and provide after sales technical support. This is where a trusted and well-established brand like Wienerberger comes in. Wienerberger range of clay roof tiles (Koramic, Tondach) are imported from Europe and is readily available through Wienerberger India ensuring uninterrupted supply to the retail markets.

Currently, the awareness for this segment is not very high and is limited to certain regions in India. However, with more architects opting and exploring endless design possibilities, we are optimistic about the demand increasing for high performance, world class clay roofing solutions.



What has been the impact of Covid-19 on your business, your expectations from the govt and what are your strategies to overcome these sluggish market conditions and expand market share.

As any business associated with the construction and real estate space, Covid has been an unprecedented challenge. However, through the last few quarters the real estate industry has been slowly and gradually gaining momentum to cater to the pent-up demand.

We see a significant potential in roofing segment as the market preferences are changing post COVID and preference for villa and individual home projects are increasing. This trend is particularly common in South India. In fact, our tropical climate demands a pitched roof in this segment. New flat roof tiles designs are a preferred choice for contemporary design.

Market reports and empirical data suggests that luxury is the fastest growing segment in residential housing. Investments by NRIs in luxury housing units, including penthouses, villas and bungalows, have increased. This segment holds promise for the roofing category as NRI customers look for investment in luxury residential units which have a distinct character.



Detail us on the range of products offered by your company , the USP’s of your products/solutions Vis-à-vis competition Advantages in terms of savings on construction cost, time, and labour.

Wienerberger India primarily imports and markets two of the leading Wienerberger brands of clay roof tiles - Koramic and Tondach.

Koramic is Europe’s premium brand in clay roof with over 120 years of rich know-how and comprehensive production experience. Koramic allows possibilities for the expression of regional identity and cultural heritage, versatility in design, finer aesthetics and durability.

Apart from the clay roof accessories, KORAMIC Roof solution components offer complete protection from heat and moisture, and long-lasting products that makes protects your roof from water leakage at all vulnerable areas of the roof and facilitates easy installation by roofers.

The market demand for clay roof tiles has been steadily growing in the last few years. In order to cater to the mid segment market, we also introduced affordable clay roofing tiles from Europe, known as Tondach Roof Solutions.

Tondach is a clever combination of functionality and design aesthetics, delivering a perfectly engineered economical roof solution. It is a great choice for incorporating European design with traditional architecture and is suitable for all forms of pitched roof designs.



Which sectors are major demand drivers?

In terms of architectural design, the concept of pitched roof design, which is a mainstay of roof application has been the favorite of homeowners and architects alike. A noteworthy trend is the resurgence of pitched roof designs not just in traditional architecture, but also in contemporary architecture.


Have you launched any new products or launching new products in the near future?

We are quite excited to expand our offerings in the market over the next few months with the introduction of contemporary European profiles and colours to help architects realize their client’s vision and express their own design intent.

In the recent past, we have launched a complete range of KORAMIC non-clay roof solution accessories, which addresses all the vulnerable areas roof and protects from water leakage and also special reflective under lays for excellent thermal insulation and prevent heat gain on the roof.

To address the affordable segment, we are expanding our product range in TONDACH roof tiles with addition of 2 new profiles

In terms of application of roof tiles itself, the latest architectural and design trends, especially in Europe, we see that clay roof tiles are being used as a mono cover, ie., as a cladding material. This means that entire building envelope is clad with rooftiles. Besides a very pleasing and aesthetic look, the house clad with clay roof tiles has low energy consumption, is natural and ensures comfort of the occupants. It is also possible to visualize and realize wall cladding projects in various roof tile models and colors. Roof tiles used a cladding element in the independent homes segment, ensures a contemporary look with traditional durable materials.



What is the company’s approach towards innovation, environment and sustainability?

Sustainability is an integral aspect of Wienerberger India’s strategy with relentless focus on green products and manufacturing processes. Wienerberger India’s manufacturing unit is situated at Kunigal, 70 kms West of Bangalore. This is the first ever manufacturing plant in Asia commissioned by Wienerberger AG and is state-of-the-art, environment friendly plant that manufactures Porotherm Smart bricks.

Porotherm Smart Bricks are highly engineered bricks manufactured deploying European technology. Porotherm by itself is designed with a 55% void ratio, making it ideal for Indian climatic conditions and very efficient and sustainable both in terms of raw materials consumption and product performance.

The raw material, Clay, which is used for manufacturing of Porotherm clay bricks is sourced from the desilting of the tanks in the vicinity. This rejuvenates the local lakes. As a proactive measure, in 2020, Wienerberger India commissioned the conversion of kiln fuel to natural gas from coal for its kiln firing process. This measure reinforces Wienerberger’s philosophy of providing sustainable solutions to all stakeholders.

The key benefits of the newer firing technology for the kiln firing include:

  • Higher fuel efficiency, reducing Carbon Monoxide emission by > 75%
  • Reduction in Carbon dioxide emissions by > 40%
  • Considerable reduction in particulate matter emission during firing process
  • Consistent and higher quality of the fired bricks

As a result of this switchover, the factory’s emission norms match the strict EU emission norms and surpasses the norms set by the Indian environmental standards.

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