Montra Electric, the electric vehicle (EV) brand of the Chennai-based Murugappa Group, is gearing up for aggressive growth, targeting an investment of around Rs 500 crore in FY24–25 and aiming to capture a 15% share of the Indian EV market within the next four to five years.
In an interview with Autocar Professional Managing Director Kalyan Kumar Paul of Tube Investment (TI) Clean Mobility, which owns the Montra Electric brand, said, “The capex will be used to fuel our expansion across various verticals.” This includes setting up facilities for small commercial vehicles, bolstering R&D and prototyping capabilities, and other critical infrastructure for bringing EVs to the market. A significant portion will also be dedicated to talent acquisition, with the company aiming to double its workforce from 800 to over 1,600 people.
When pressed about funding for these ambitious plans, Paul, an industry veteran, remained tight-lipped, only assuring that “much of the raising has already happened and is out in the public domain, and more will be done soon if needed.”
For context, TI Clean Mobility, in its Q2FY24 presentation to investors, informed investors that it has invested Rs 250 crore into TICMPL, one of its subsidiaries, as equity and Rs 500 crore as compulsory convertible preference shares (CCPS). Secondly, multiple private equity along with their co-investors, invested Rs 1,200 crore in TICMPL as CCPS. Furthermore, the company has raised funds of Rs 1,950 crore so far.
“But actually, we are trying to be very cash-prudent to manage ourselves without raising money,” Paul continued, emphasising that “frugality as a virtue.”
The top executive went on to say that the plan and business strategy to be among the best EV companies in India has been laid out and resources have been provided. The next obvious step, as he pointed out, is to go and execute it. “Executing well is also a big challenge in the market in terms of all the marketing mix,” he explained before adding that the company will be launching most of its products under the ‘Montra’ brand name. While the efforts undergoes made to scale up, the company is not shying away from spending on its marketing
needs, primarily using digital means.
A 123-year-old conglomerate with a presence across India and the world, the Rs 742 billion Murugappa Group has diverse businesses in automobiles, agriculture, engineering, financial services, and more. Within the EV space, the company has been trying to focus on four distinct segments: electric three-wheelers, electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks, electric tractors, and electric small commercial vehicles. Within the automotive space, apart from EVs, the company claims to be a market leader in automotive drive and cam chains. It also has a significant presence in roll-formed car door frames in India.
When asked about the company’s absence in the remaining other segments, particularly the buses, Paul noted that at present he would like to focus on the things at hand. “My plate is full,” he remarked, adding that while he is not averse to getting into the bus segment, a lot will also depend upon how the segment is emerging.
Paul further went on to add that his group’s motto has always been to adopt a strategy of under promise and over deliver, rather than saying too many things and delivering less. He added that his team has the discipline to run businesses, as most of them have come from the group itself.