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Delayed monsoon powers sales of inverters, batteries in India

According to reports, sales of inverters and batteries jumped about 30% for the quarter to June, as a delayed monsoon pushed up power consumption in energy-deficient India.

Manufacturers of power backup systems say they expect good profits this year, as the increase in sales will offset the rise in input costs due to a weak rupee.

The country’s largest battery maker Exide Industries said growth was robust despite a 4%-5% rise in prices. “In the power inverter market, including batteries, growth has been 25%-30% in the first quarter compared with the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal,” said executive vice-president, marketing and sales (industrial), Subir Chakraborty.

Growth was driven largely by higher consumption in southern India, he added. Manish Pant, managing director of inverter maker Luminous Power Technologies, said first-quarter sales grew manifold and the company plans to double capacity at its Baddi and Gagrit facilities in Himachal Pradesh.

“This has been a unique year where prices remained stable. Input costs of copper and lead increased due to rupee depreciation. But prices were good,” Pant said.

India does not generate enough electricity to meet the rising demand from urban areas and industry. The shortage becomes acute during the summer months, forcing households to switch to power inverters.

The domestic market for inverters this year is expected to touch Rs 2,000 crore while that for batteries is estimated at Rs 5,000 crore.

Microtek International’s national sales manager Sumit Datta said, “This summer has been great for Microtek sales, which grew about 25%.” Datta added that the industry was forced to increase prices by 10%-15% due to dollar appreciation. Enthused by higher sales, some manufacturers have started tweaking their sales strategy.

For instance, Luminous has introduced ‘haats’ or markets in the rural areas of UP, Bihar, AP and Rajasthan to promote its products. The company has also launched solar-based lighting and power storage systems. Exide Industries’ Chakraborty said the company hopes to garner a larger market share this year with its new range of inverters.

Inverter maker Microtek has introduced high charging and multiple battery compatibility features in its products. “With a lot of wealth creation happening, power backup solutions have turned into a utility business from being a lifestyle and luxury business,” Luminous’ Pant said.

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