"People have asked me if all this was really necessary, so much in such a short time," Rajiv Poddar, joint managing director, said. "The goals we set ourselves when we decided to open the Bhuj site were proportional to the financial solidity of the time, but above all to a vision which is as great as it is concrete.
"Analyzing the market and anticipating it, with passion and foresight, is what we have done in all these years. Growth has always been in step with demand, not without — let me say it — courage and creativity, but never without our objectives and investments having solid foundations.
"Global tire demand is growing and we see no signs of it slowing down over the next five years. This is a demand which started to rise during the 2020 pandemic, and which today is above pre-Covid levels," he said.
"Will it be difficult? Will it be a challenge? Our vision is simple, which is why it is very concrete."
The anchor of BKT's growth strategy is its Bhuj factory in northwest India, which opened in 2015 after a three-year, $500 million construction project at a greenfield site in India's Gujarat state almost entirely unsupported by local infrastructure.
As a result, BKT was compelled to build its own power-generation station, water-treatment plant, worker housing and captive carbon-black production.
Since then, BKT has added capacity for larger tires, expanded the carbon-black plant and overall has increased daily capacity nearly five-fold to 436 tons per day. Early in 2022, BKT added radial agricultural tires to the production mix at the Bhuj plant and boosted capacity for 51- and 57-inch rim-diameter OTR tires.
Since opening the Bhuj complex in 2015, BKT has more than doubled the size of the grounds there to nearly 700 acres. The site, which also includes a research and development center and test grounds, eventually will encompass 800 acres, BKT said.
What's not part of the strategy is a plant in North America. BKT announced in November 2018 it would build a plant in the U.S. but eight months suspended plans for that $100 million endeavor, citing "business uncertainties" related to difficult macroeconomics and the "volatile" climate conditions.
After suffering a 9% drop in revenue in fiscal 2020 amid the COVID-19-induced global economic slowdown, BKT rebounded in fiscal 2021 to pre-pandemic levels, posting sales growth last year of nearly 49% — eclipsing $1 billion in annual sales for the first time — and is on track thus far this year to exceed that by over 65%.
According to BKT's most recent financial statements, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, Europe is the company's largest market, accounting for 49% of revenue; India represents 21% and the Americas 19%.
According to BKT Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Poddar, North America should represent 25% to 30% of the company's global sales.
Besides the plants in Bhuj and Waluj, BKT operates two other plants in India, in Bhiwadi and Chopanki, Rajasthan. Together they represent roughly 360,000 tons of annual capacity.