Dr. Peter Mrosik, profine Group Owner & CEO, and Farid Khan, Director & CEO, profine India, share insights on the growth potential of the Indian market, their strategy for positioning their brand strongly amidst the competition, and why they believe in investing continuously in India despite the challenges.

Dr. Peter Mrosik

How important is India as an investment market for the profine Group?
Dr. Peter Mrosik: We first touched down in this country in 2004 and since then we have continued investing in it: first in warehousing. When I took charge of profine in 2012, we set up our first production unit in India in 2013 in Vadodara, and given the developments in this market, we expanded our capacities and set up another plant in 2017. We also enhanced our product program - going from uPVC to aluminium under the Alupure brand. Today, both the segments are growing significantly. To invest in India you have to first understand India.

How is the market for modern fenestration systems growing in India?
P. Mrosik: Over the last 13 years, I have seen the fenestration market of India changing drastically… be it the level of exhibitions, the products, and the increase in demand. It is because of these reasons that we decided to go for aluminium profiles as well. We realized that India has a huge potential for fenestration systems of all types and every demand cannot be met by PVC alone. The idea was to give more options to our customers. The growth that we are seeing in the fenestration and façade industries is going to increase in the future. When we started in India, the market for uPVC was 2-3%; today it is 17%; and we this growth happening in aluminum as well.

What growth are you seeing of the Koemmerling and Alupure brands in India?
F. Khan: Over the last 18 years we have done installations across the country - from Ladakh to Kanyakumari - and nothing has happened to our windows till date - no discolouration and no degradation in the quality of our systems. Presently, we have about 125 window fabricators with whom we interact directly. These fabricators have about 50 experience centers, besides dealers and sub-dealers. Since our factories are in the western region, our major business is coming from here and a good amount from the southern and northern parts of India. We are a key player in eastern India, which has been the most neglected region.

Dr. Peter Mrosik
India has a huge potential for fenestration systems of all types and the growth that we are seeing in the fenestration and façade industries is going to increase in the future. When we started in India, the market for uPVC was 2-3%; today it is 17%; and we this growth happening in aluminum as well.

Dr. Peter Mrosik

There is a perception in the price-conscious Indian market that Koemmerling is a very high-end brands. How do you justify this?
P. Mrosik: Not only in India, but all over the world Koemmerling is viewed as a luxury brand. This is because we position our brand on the highest quality level with the best products - even amidst the intense competition. Somebody building a 30-crore villa or somebody building a 30-lakh apartment can equally afford our products since we are offering different product portfolios to cater to the varied Indian market.

Dr. Peter Mrosik

F. Khan: Every company has its own marketplace, but we have branded ourselves as a premium product – albeit at an affordable price - in the luxury segment. We have various products in various price ranges, but we never compromise on their quality. Our wide product portfolio can cater to any market segment - we have systems for a high-end villa, and we have systems for a one bhk as well. In terms of quality, we do not lose any sleep, but we do have to fight for the pricing. In fact, we would like our competitors to raise their bar as regards quality and not focus on pricing alone.

P. Mrosik: In fact, our window systems installed across Europe have remained intact since the last 60 years, though we had calculated their life for 50 years!

Dr. Peter Mrosik
We have planned a further investment of 3-4 million euros in 2023 and another 4-5 million euros for 2024-26. This is because we are very positive about India, and we are also exporting about one billion euros worth of products from our Vadodara facility.

Farid Khan

What new trends are impacting the fenestration industry of India with respect to materials, designs, and colours?
P. Mrosik: India is a country of colours; in South India especially, you will see houses in various colors. However Germany and even the rest of Europe are far ahead of India in terms of colour preferences. In Europe the percentage of coloured windows is exceeding 50%; which means every other window is in a different colour, while in India, coloured windows comprise only 10%. This is emerging as a bigger market for us and for our competitors as well.

F. Khan: The colour white is a natural white which is got through extrusion, while a solid colour is obtained through lamination on the profiles. There are hundreds of soft colours that can also be customized as per customer preference. It is easier to create colours in aluminium profiles as colour is achieved through anodizing. In our Alupure brand we are offering about 150 colours. In the future, the share of colours is bound to grow further.

Dr. Peter Mrosik

Where does steel as a fenestration material figure in India’s door and window market?
F. Khan: Sustainability is a major focus and will be a paramount subject for any player in this industry. Currently, the market for steel doors and window is very small, and largely limited to areas where people are looking for security as a priority. Steel is being used mostly in the doors in retail houses and in the residential segment it is very niche. In rural areas, the homeowners mostly install the cheaper variety of wood and aluminium, while in urban areas it is predominantly aluminium.

What are your plans to further grow your business in India and even export from here?
P. Mrosik: The profine Group is a one billion Euro turnover company (Rs. 8500 crore) of which India contributes a small portion as of now but in near future will be a very significant one. We have planned more investments in India in coming times . In 2013 , we had invested about 15 million euros in buying land and in setting up the infrastructure. Subsequently in 2017, we made investments of some 2-3 million euros. In 2023, we have planned an investment of 3-4 million euros for setting up a mixing unit, new tool development for Koemmerling, and another 4-5 million euros are planned for 2024-26.

So, we are very positive about this country’s potential and we are also exporting from here. About one million euros worth of products are currently being exported to Phillipines, Brazil etc from India, and moving forward, we will look to cater to the Middle-east markets also.

F. Khan: But the market has to show us the way; if the market is walking, we will try to run. And if the market is progressing, the investments will keep flowing. Today, India is a market which no one can ignore because of its fast growing economic power. As regards exports of different systems as per individual market requirements, profine has 20 factories across the world and a presence in about 65 countries, which makes it easy for us to synergize all the locations. Since different regions have different preferences, we are able to facilitate export of the required systems easily.

What challenges do you see in India’s fenestration market?
P. Mrosik: We have to educate people on mega trends like energy saving, climate protection, especially in hot climates. Energy saving is a trending topic all over the world as energy prices are rising. If you have new window systems installed in your house, they can save up to 60% energy; this is a big factor for motivating people to invest in new doors and windows.

F. Khan: We have to convince everyone - be it builders, the government, or the end-users. It is also about educating them. This awareness also has to come down from the top (the government) and their programs on energy saving and sustainability etc, which will then trickle down very fast. Even in Germany a lot of educational programs are still going on even though the fabricators have been making these systems for the last 60-65 years. So, it’s a continuous process of learning.

I am currently the vice chairman of UWDMA (formed almost 18 years back) which is doing a wonderful job in creating awareness of uPVC doors and windows, and has on board hardware manufacturers, silicone, accessories etc. As a premium association, it is coordinating with government bodies and the BIS to get uPVC approved for application in different places.

Do you see the concept of standardization being adopted soon in India?
F. Khan: In Europe, there are norms and standards, and we are also ready for standardization so that the products will be of the same size in terms of typology. In India, this issue has been in discussion for over a decade; we are now in the last phase of discussions so hopefully the norms will be set soon.

What are the features and quality of Koemmerling and Alupure brands that set them apart from competitors?
P. Mrosik: Koemmerling offers a large number of window systems. So, every design wish can be fulfilled with different frame and sash heights and depths, double-sash elements without fixed centre post, transom/mullion combinations, real Georgian bars etc. The product range is rounded out with windowsills, safe roller and French shutters, uPVC sheets for the building industry (used for example as residential door panels), cladding and balcony systems.

Dr. Peter Mrosik

profine India products meet the highest requirements for safety, quality, strength, and durability. AluPure aluminium elements are extremely durable and require low maintenance over their life. Moreover, the aluminium elements are non-flammable, colourfast, and 100% recyclable. We ensure functional efficiency along with aesthetics, and environmental protection with responsible handling of raw material resources in the development of all our brands.

F. Khan: Our Alupure aluminium systems come as a complete package, but for our other brands, the systems are fabricated as per customer preference with respect to the type and brand of glass to be used (like Saint Gobain, Asahi, etc), the width of the glass (which can range from 5mm to 6mm to 22 mm), and type (toughened, annealed etc). We hand hold the fabricators throughout the fabrication process and also train them on all aspects of window fabrication, including installation. This way, we are able to monitor the quality of our systems closely so that there is no room for error.

What R&D and training does the Group undertake?
P. Mrosik: We undertake continuous R&D in uPVC and window technology. With new-style materials, intelligent chamber systems, and computer-optimised designs, we minimise the use of materials while maximising the benefits. Our innovative products provide a fresh stimulus for architecture and modern lifestyles. We are well on our way with intelligent solutions like water resistance, sound resistance, thermal insulation, dust resistance, energy efficient, wind resistance, termite-free, and eco-friendly window and door systems. Our products are the best for all kinds of residences, high-rise buildings, offices, factories, hospitals, hotels, etc.

Over the years, we have invested in state-of-the-art production technologies and plants with advanced extruders to meet high product quality standards and respond rapidly to market requirements. In India too, profine’s manufacturing facilities at Vadodara, Gujarat, are equipped with machinery and tooling from Germany. The large-scale automatic mixing equipment conducts the pre-treatment of the raw material scientifically and accurately. There is also a lamination set-up for producing wood finish profiles.

F. Khan: We have set up ‘profine Akademy’ at our extrusion facility to provide skill development training to the workforce under international guidelines and standards. Training lessons include knowledge on window manufacture and technology, operation of assembly machines, fixing of hardware, window and door design, and installation procedures. The training also creates job opportunities for the youth in the region.