Jupiter Wagons plans 1,000 cr investment for capacity boost, EV foray

Jupiter Wagons managing director Vivek Lohia
Jupiter Wagons managing director Vivek Lohia

Summary

  • To aid its expansion, Jupiter Wagons will also launch a 700 crore qualified institution placement before the end of current fiscal

New Delhi: Mobility solutions provider Jupiter Wagons Ltd plans to invest around 1,000 crore over the next 18 months to boost wagon manufacturing, operationalise recently acquired Stone India, and foray into commercial EVs making, managing director Vivek Lohia said.

In an interview with Mint, Lohia said that investment is also proposed for the company’s push on backward integration of its wagon business, where Jupiter will start making railway wheel sets apart from braking system and foundry operations that it has recently started.

To aid its expansion, Jupiter Wagons will also launch a 700 crore qualified institution placement (QIP) before the end of current fiscal, supplementing funds it mobilised in May with its 125 crore QIP that has been used to fund the acquisition of engineering firm Stone India, modernisation and expansion of wagon-making capacity.

JWL took over Stone India last year for about 25 crore in a corporate insolvency resolution process under the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The plant, which was closed for the around five years, was engaged in producing braking and engineering systems for Railways.

“There is buoyancy in Railways as well as orders from the private sector this year that is pushing us to expand our own operations. We will be spending about 1,000 crore over next 18-20 months so that we become 1000 car (wagons) per month making company by FY25 from our present capacity of making 700 wagons per month," Lohia said.

Railways had last year announced a plan for securing about 1,00,000 wagons over three years to expand its freight operations that had become a major revenue generator for the national transporter. This has created a buzz in the wagon-making industry in the country with all manufacturers looking to ramp up capacity to meet the Railways order.

With record capex allocation for Railways this year, there is also an expectation that more orders may flow in. Already, 20,000 wagon tender of Railways is closing on 15 November and two separate tenders of 10,000 units each for deferent design wagons, including aluminium wagons, are expected before the end of current fiscal year. In all, 1,50,000 wagon tenders are expected from Railways out of which tenders for 72,000 have already been completed.

Jupiter’s expansion involves strengthening its foundry operations attached to its wagon manufacturing facility at Bandel in West Bengal and setting up a new foundry in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh near its existing wagon facility.

“We have currently around 25-30% share in the wagon market, and we expect to retain that kind of market share. Again, the focus is also a lot on the private business there. We have more than about 50% market share there. So, continue with that kind of domination in that space. Acquisitions are also being looked but it’s too premature at this stage," Lohia said.

Braking system operations which Jupiter started are expected to be a 200 crore operation from next fiscal and half of its production of roughly 100 crore expected from exports. 

Jupiter has also tied up with railway engineering and consulting firm RITES for export of wagons to Africa. 

Another big investment for Jupiter Wagons would be in making electric vehicles. “We expect that ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) certification for our commercial EV would be available by December or January," he said.

Work on the plant is already underway. “I think sometime in March or April of 2025, we are going to do our first commercial rollout of that vehicle and hope to 2000 vehicles in n the first year," Lohia said adding that launch would be with vehicle having a payload of 1 tonne with the plant adding 2 tonne and 3 tonne payload vehicles subsequently."

Jupiter’s EV arm Jupiter Electric Mobility (JEM) has entered into a strategic alliance with North America-based GreenPower Motor Company specialising in commercial electric vehicles in the passenger transportation and freight transport markets.

Shares of Jupiter closed at 315.30 on the BSE on Wednesday.

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