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A company with over 6 decades of experience and one of the largest in India

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Phillips Carbon Black Limited (PCBL),  a part of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group of companies is engaged in manufacturing carbon black for over six decades. It has presence in more than 40 countries with its global rank being 7th and largest exporter of the carbon black from India .

PCBL 

Current market price on the date of publishing this report-: 133 Rs

Introduction

PCBL was founded in 1960 in collaboration with Phillips Petroleum, a US-based firm. However, the business did not begin commercial manufacturing until 1962. For over a decade, PCBL also maintained a technological relationship with Columbian Chemical.

Philips Carbon Black (PCBL) is a part of the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, India’s youngest business group. The Company was incorporated on March 30, 1960 as a Public Limited Company. The name of the Company changed from Phillips Carbon Black Limited’ to PCBL Limited’ pursuant to issuance of fresh Certificate of Incorporation dated December 29, 2021. The Company is the largest Carbon Black producer in India. Carbon Black which is the main raw material in the production of automotive trye is produced using carbon black feedstock (CBFS) and tar oil.

The Company is a part of large conglomerate having interests in Power and Natural Resources, Carbon Black, Retail and Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Media and Entertainment, Infrastructure and Information Technology (IT) and Education and Sports, amongst others. With its efficient supply chain and distribution network, PCBL a market presence in more than 30 countries. The company has a well-organised distribution network and its consignment agents cover the entire network of tyre manufacturing units, tyre re-treading units and other consumers all over the country.

PCBL is the first manufacturer of carbon black in India covering the manufacturing, marketing and designing functions.

The company commissioned a facility to produce 50000 MTPA carbon black at its Kochi plant during Q4 FY 2014. With this, the Company’s total capacity increased to 472,000 MTPA.

Starting with manufacturing capacity of 14,000 MT per annum, company has evolved over the years to current capacity of 6,03,000 MT annually across four strategically located plants in India.

Today, PCBL is the largest carbon black manufacturer in India and a strong global player with a significant customer base in 45+ countries.

Subsidiaries

Company has three subsidiaries as on date, namely, Phillips Carbon Black Cyprus Holding Limited, PCBL Netherlands Holdings B.V. and Phillips Carbon Black Vietnam Joint Stock Company. Company produces Carbon Black which is the main raw material in the production of automotive trye is produced using carbon black feedstock (CBFS) and tar oil.

Business Products

PCBL offers a comprehensive portfolio spanning multiple grades of carbon black as classified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards, alongside customised, high performance products to cater to next generation business needs. 

Rubber Black

Rubber black is a major reinforcing filler used in rubber compounds. The enhancement in rubber properties is a function of the fundamental physical and chemical characteristics of carbon black. Various applications off rubber black include

  • Tire treads, bus & truck tire tread and ultra-high wear resistant rubber products.
  • Used as reinforcing filler in tire belt ply, tire inner liners, tubes, profile compounds, molding, hoses, hose covers, shoe soles and heels.
  • Conveyor belts requiring high tensile strength.
  • High performance truck, bus and passenger car tire tread.
  • In tire carcasses, tire belts, truck tire cord rubber, paints, inks and mechanical rubber goods requiring high tensile strength.
  • In tire inner liners, tubing, carcass, profiles, hoses, hose covers, cable jacketing and plastic conduit compounds requiring excellent dimensional stability

Company has various different brands under this product category which includes 

Bleumina, a series of medium and high-coloured carbon black (part of the ‘Royale Black’ brand umbrella), which is used in car exteriors and interiors to improve the aesthetic appeal and durability of the products. 

Nutone is a new range in specialty blacks available in powder form. It is used for printing ink applications such as offset ink, liquid ink and inkjet, owing to its colour strength and gloss. Nutone series is also used in coatings, adhesives and sealants due to its low viscosity, good stability and dispersion. 

Specialty Black

Carbon blacks used for non-rubber applications come under Specialty Blacks segment. With a wide range of applications, Specialty Black is primarily used as a pigment in plastics, inks, coatings and many other applications. 

Specialty Black utilises unique technology and processes to achieve a balance between seemingly contradictory properties going beyond the conventional relationship between various parameters. With special raw material and superior reactor control technology, PCBL has developed capabilities to produce Specialty Blacks for advanced applications and provide cutting edge solutions to its Partners.

This is also used for high technology applications like fiber, rechargeable batteries, premium automotive coatings, conductive and ESD. Produced with special types of raw material, reactor, operating condition and technology, Specialty Blacks are known for the difficult to achieve properties like UV resistance, better dispersion in polymer matrix, conductivity, high colour strength and aesthetics.

Some applications of Speciality black are

  • Pressure Pipes
  • Wire & Cable
  • Consumer Electronics & Home Appliances
  • Automobile interiors & Exteriors
  • Thin black multilayer films used in displays
  • Plastic master batch

Power

The production of carbon black results in the release of hazardous gases. Previously, the Company had to burn the gas, which was costly. With the Electricity Act of 2003 allowing for the selling of excess electricity generated by companies, PCBL installed power production units at all of its locations.

PCBL is the world’s first carbon black firm to acquire UNFCCC carbon credits for its captive power plant in Baroda.

After fulfilling the in-house power demand, any extra electricity is exported to the State Electricity Board grid. In a country that relies on a rapidly diminishing natural resource like coal for a substantial portion of its electricity generation, this results in a beneficial contribution to long-term economic growth, conservation of natural resources, environmental protection, and reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

PCBL presently has a green power producing capacity of 76 MW per hour. The growing importance of the power industry in PCBL’s revenue profile is projected to cushion overall profitability.

Clientele

Company’s clientele includes global and Indian tyre manufacturing giants such as MRF, CEAT, JK Tyre & Industries, Apollo Tyres, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Michelin, Yokohama, TVS Group, Continental, Toyo, Nexen, Kumho, Contitech, Giti Tyres, Trelleborg, Camso and Petlas among others. Besides, it also caters to the specialty black needs of prominent Indian and global companies. 

Financials

For Q2FY23

  • Net Sales stood at Rs 1,627.85 crore in September 2022 up 52.48% from Rs. 1,067.60 crore in September 2021.
  • Quarterly Net Profit stood at Rs. 116.39 crore in September 2022 down 4.61% from Rs. 122.02 crore in September 2021.
  • EBITDA stood at Rs. 192.34 crore in September 2022 up 0.85% from Rs. 190.72 crore in September 2021.
  • PCBL EPS has decreased to Rs. 3.08 in September 2022 from Rs. 3.54 in September 2021.

For the year ended March 22

  • For the year ended march 22 volumes grew by 17%, our revenues grew by 67% reflecting a focus on value addition. EBITDA @26% & PAT @37% also represented healthy growth. 
  • 17% acceleration in volume translated into carbon black revenues of `4,332 crores during the year. 
  • Continuous focus on cost optimisation and enhancing realisations led to a 26% improvement in EBITDA to Rs660 crores in FY21‐22.
  • The company’s EBITDA in FY22 was Rs 660 crores, up from Rs 524 crores the previous year. Despite the prolonged worldwide slump in the car industry, PAT for the year was Rs 427 crores, about 1.37 times that of the previous year’s PAT of Rs 312 crores.
  • Carbon black production during FY22 was 4,56,484 MT as compared to 3,84,786 MT in FY21, which is 18.6% more on YOY basis. 
  • The company’s power segment revenue (excluding inter segment income) was Rs 93 crores in FY22, up from Rs 67 crores in FY21, a Rs 26 crore increase due to increased sales volume and better realisation.

Capex

To further improve capabilities, the management has begun two growth projects: a greenfield project in Chennai through its fully owned subsidiary, PCBL (TN) Limited, which is projected to be operational by Q3 FY2223. The project, when completed, will add 1,47,000 MTPA of carbon black capacity and 24 MW of green power.

The second is a brownfield project that will be built in Mundra, Gujarat. The plant’s capacity is projected to be 40,000 MTPA and will be built in two parts. The first phase is scheduled to be completed by the end of FY2223.

An additional 7 MW of green power capacity is being built in Kochi, Kerala. This will result in a total production capacity of 7,90,000 MTPA and 122 MW of green electricity.

Managements comments

Company is planning on Developing new specialty chemical grades

Management has also expressed its view of moving up the value chain in tyre and performance chemicals grades along with Customisation of grades.

Company has various New product development – inks, coatings, conductive, batteries, etc as well as New carbon black manufacturing process and Hybrid filler in the process.

Greenfield expansion in Chennai is making steady progress, which will add an additional 1,47,000 metric tonne to overall capacity. Despite the execution challenges faced owing to external factors, management expect to commission the plant by Q3 FY22‐23. 

Additionally, management has also embarked upon a brownfield expansion in Mundra, Gujarat, with specific focus on production of specialty chemicals. 

Sectorial Outlook

Economic expansion sustains the worldwide carbon black business, which feeds growth in infrastructure, construction, autos, and consumer durables, boosting demand for carbon black.

Tyres account for the majority of product usage, while the performance chemical is used in extruded profile, industrial hoses, injection moulding, agricultural films, and pipes. ‘Specialty chemicals,’ which impart specialised qualities such as highquality colouring, UV protection, dispersion, viscosity control, and electrical conductivity, cater to highend applications.

Despite the sector’s issues, there looks to be a silver lining caused by carbon black supply interruptions caused by ongoing consolidation in China’s carbon black business and the possibility of different trade penalties against Russia as a result of the current war against Ukraine.

Automotive demand in North America recovered by an estimated 3.4%, while the European market demand grew by an estimated 3.2% in 2021. Chinese economy’s quicker recovery from the pandemic vis-à-vis the rest of the world, resulted in an estimated demand growth of 3.8% .

Domestic tyre demand is strong as OEM sales volumes recover. Some demand problems exist in the export markets, with Western Europe accounting for 18% of worldwide carbon black consumption due to energy diversion from industry to domestic homes.

The global carbon black industry is concentrated, with 10 players accounting for almost 60% of the global production capacity. 

Conclusion

PCBL a part of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group which has an asset base of 48500 crores offers a wide portfolio of carbon black grades to address the requirements of its global customers across tyres and niche applications. The rubber black portfolio caters to customers of all the renowned global tyres and industrial rubber goods, reinforcing the physical properties of their products. 

Leveraging an efficient supply chain and distribution network, PCBL has carved out a presence in 45+ countries. Besides, the Company has established its mark as a key global player in the specialty black segment .

Company’s portfolio addresses non-rubber high-margin applications, plastic being globally the largest by market size. The specialty portfolio addresses more than 90% of the plastic market by product segment in various industries worldwide. PCBL possesses deep capabilities in the areas of engineering plastics, fibres, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved food contact grades, and conductors and cables, among others. The Company also intends to build its capabilities in ink, paint and coating applications. 

Although weakening economy of European countries and softening demand cannot be completely ruled out. 15% approx of total revenues of the company are dependent on the European countries which if Europes slips into recession can impact company severely. Despite that managements strong aspirations with significant capex undertaken in the past as well as in the upcoming period, management seems very confident of achieving decent set of numbers in the coming period. Thus pcbl is worth exploring for long term.

(Pcbl was previously suggested previously on 21st Nov 2022 when the stock was trading at 115 Rs. Since then company has announced 5 Rs interim dividend and the stock is up over 20% including dividend.)

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