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Interview Home > Interview

Interview with Mr. Devang Chowdhary, Managing Director from Thyme Group


Refwin: Dear Mr. Chowdhary, Thanks for accepting Refwin interview. Would you please introduce the achievements and development of Thyme in recent years?

Mr. Devang Chowdhary: Thyme was founded in 1990 and is now established in various business segments (e.g. refractory raw materials, machinery, insulating materials, refractories, chemicals, and cement) in a global business environment. In 1990, my father started to work as a sales and Project agent for Calderys. Till 2012, refractory products were our main business. We still sell refractories and insulation materials as well as stainless steel anchors, but raw materials are our focus now. We offer a wide variety of alumina-based raw materials (including fused materials). For refractory producers, we are one-stop shop as we supply all refractory raw material, including Calcined, Fused & Tabular Alumina, Fused and Dead Burnt Magnesite, Spinel, SiC, Mullite, Kaolin/Chamotte, Bauxite – both calcined and raw. We are specialized in also developing high grade customer specific raw materials at our client requests. We have developed a high grade calcined bauxite with larger microstructure, and a pure form of white fused alumina with lowered impurities against special requests and close working with some of our esteemed clients. We also deal in used refractory bricks to recycle and reuse.

We also supply the aluminium industry, for example, with fluoride-based chemicals, and the steel industry with equipment for roller mills. We serve the paint industry with titanium oxide or kaolin as whitening agents. We also supply synthetic monofilaments and yarn for brush making and other industries.

Refwin: How do you think Indian refractory raw materials market, especially against Covid-19? What difficulties did you face in the past year of 2020? How did you overcome the hard time?

Mr. Devang Chowdhary: There was a brief lull for a month. Apart from that, we haven’t been affected much by this. In fact, we have grown by almost 35% over last year. Refractory raw material and chemicals are sold mostly to core sector. This sector hasn’t really been affected by COVID-19 in the larger picture. In fact we are seeing good growth in 2021, fueled by increase in demand from our clients, due to our strong delivery commitment fulfillment during COVID. We delivered material amidst all the doubts and uncertainties to our clients all around the world. Thyme trusts its clients and is dedicated to their welfare and smooth operations.

Refwin: Do you see any changes for refractories demand in India in 2020 and how do you foresee the market in 2021?

Mr. Devang Chowdhary: India refractory market has seen an upsurge in demand lately, given certain policy changes from the Government, which aim to increase refractory production in India and reduce imports. This has given a boost to refractory production domestically and has seen an increase in demand for raw materials.

Refwin: For Indian steel market and downstream industries, what changes is predicted in coming 5 years? What would be the most difficult points for global player entering this market?

Mr. Devang Chowdhary: India is an ever growing market, and we feel that it will see rise in steel and other core sectors, with the developing economy, and the increasing global integration of India. We predict there will be good growth in steel and refractory sector in India, however there shall be more emphasis and support for production in India rather than import. Global players would have to set up base in India to exploit more benefits.

Refwin: India import large quantity of refractories, especially from China. How do you see the role of trading company in refractories trading between India and China?

Mr. Devang Chowdhary: Trading companies play a vital role in connecting global markets, as trust is the main element of business between two parties. Trading companies understand both the sides, and work to ensure that they can satisfy and comply with the needs and demands of both parties involved. It is necessary to ensure that the suppliers can find good customers for their products and that the customers can find the right suppliers for their products. Although most of the sources are known in the market, clients prefer to work with trading companies in order to ensure quality control, have multiple sources in hand, have better financing options, and have better logistics arrangements supported by higher volume brought by trading companies. Producers can focus on their own production and new product development, while trading companies take care of the market research, new raw material development, logistics and finance. Thyme ensures 100% stability for its customers with assured quality control, timely order fulfillment and constantly developing new raw material sources. We also keep working closely with existing sources to improve on their quality and suitability to our clients. We have a large network of suppliers to ensure that we can deliver large quantity materials to our clients in time, even in the face of adversities and crisis. Similarly, we also support our suppliers by helping them to identify the right market for their products, and to optimize their products for suitability in the market. We also offer Export Finance to our suppliers to help them realize higher sales volume without financial burden.

Refwin: How did you develop your geographical presence in the last decade - in general and specifically in the refractories business?

Mr. Devang Chowdhary: It is has not been a cake walk. Competition is stiff. Going by the importance and role of raw material in production, Customers prefer to do business with existing sources. Despite this, we have been able to carve a niche for us in the market, through perseverance and continuous efforts. Our motto is to offer the Best at the Lowest with Best Services. We have proven us, time and again, and customers keep coming back to us with repeat orders.

We started with India and Middle East and now have footprint in EU. We have plans to commence business in USA, soon.

Refwin: How do you build your competition to remain sustainable development?

Mr. Devang Chowdhary: Competition is something we look at as an inspiration, and not a threat. How much ever the competition may be, there is always enough room for everyone. The market is always in expansion and there are always new developments going on. We strive to offer high value of service to our clients and high level of commitment. We also value our suppliers and help them achieve their targets for sales and for higher net realization. Thyme works on the principle of GIVE rather than TAKE. We are known in the market for our ever adapting attitude and for listening and supporting to all our associates, be it our clients or our suppliers.

We are now present in India, Hong Kong, China, Turkey, Italy, Germany and London. We have also initiated warehousing services in Rotterdam, to service our European clients. Our London office has been established to support our global outreach. Soon, Thyme is planning a new office in USA and Canada too.
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