Braithwaite & Co Ltd is betting big on domestic demand for wagons after the Russia-Ukraine crisis has derailed its export negotiations for shipping out over 5,000 railway freight vehicles worth more than Rs 1,000 crore to war-torn Ukraine, an official said on Sunday.
The PSU under the Ministry of Railways was negotiating with Ukraine to secure an order of 5,400 wagons, the largest export bid for the company.
“The war derailed the export negotiations. The company could be in trouble if it had broken out in the execution phase of the proposed shipment. However, domestic wagon requirement has gone up substantially and the delay in securing the export order has compelled us to focus on Indian supplies,” Braithwaite CMD Yatish Kumar told PTI.
The engineering firm along with the Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO) has been working for the "RO-RO truck on train concept", he said.
"A prototype has been manufactured with RDSO design and the conflict pushed us to focus on the extra order in the domestic market," he added.
Kumar remained optimistic about increasing Braithwaite's revenue by four-fold to Rs 2,500 crore with the strong domestic demand and order flow.
The company posted a revenue of Rs 609 crore with a net profit of Rs 31 crore in 2020-21 fiscal (FY' 21).
It supplied 1,023 wagons to railways for Rs 322 crore in FY' 21. This year, the ministry has released more wagon orders, which will the company keep "capacity utilisation at a very high level", the official said.
Speaking on the proposed Ukraine export order, he said there was a delay due to Covid-19-induced disruptions but negotiations were progressing well and a positive outcome was expected.
"The war turned out to be a spoiler. We are still hopeful for future demand from the war-hit Ukraine as it will require wagons when the rebuilding of the country will begin," the official said.
Braithwaite & Co Ltd had earlier executed an export order of 350 bogies to Myanmar.
"But, now there are no export orders for the company in the last two years," he said.
The engineering firm had diversified into new areas such as the construction of bridges, factories and office buildings.
“The revenue dependence on the core activity of the company has come down from nearly 90 per cent to 55 per cent. However, the Ukraine export order would have helped us to grow faster,” Kumar said.
He said the public sector undertaking has also forayed into the manufacturing of containers as the country faced an acute shortage of such goods carriers for exports during the pandemic.
“We have created a capacity of making 200 containers per month and we will take it up to 500,” Kumar said.
The current order book of Braithwaite is over Rs 1,700 crore from the core and non-core activities, he added.