MANN+HUMMEL is a 4 billion Euro company having presence across 80 countries worldwide. Could you take us through your journey in Indian market?

MANN+HUMMEL Group is a leading global filtration specialist and a well-known brand in India, in the automotive sector. We have been in business since 1941 and in India over the last 13 years. In recent years, we made a number of acquisitions in life science and environment space, including HVAC filters. In 2018, MANN+HUMMEL acquired Tri-Dim Filter Corporation, a USA-based air filtration company. We are actively growing our business in this area as we are committed to filtering out harmful pollutants in the environment, whether it is from automotive perspective or from an indoor air perspective. In this context, the company launched the ‘OurAir’ brand in the Indian market in September 2018.

We consider Asia, particularly India and China as focus markets, because in emerging economies where the growth rates are so high, air quality and health are often sacrificed in the face of rapid urban development.

What are the solutions you offer under ‘OurAir’ brand?

OurAir offers an IoT-enabled, end-to-end indoor air quality solution, where air quality monitors, filters, purification and ventilation systems, integrate seamlessly with the OurAir digital platform. With OurAir solutions, building owners, facility managers and tenants can “know, improve and manage” the air quality in commercial and industrial buildings.

How much environment business segment contributes to the Group’s turnover?

Our Europe and US business, has been established in the last few years, and strengthened with new acquisitions such as Tri-Dim; however, Asia business is still growing. We are looking at growing this business aggressively over the next 5 years, through organic and inorganic growth.

With the launch of OurAir brand in India, what sort of opportunities you look at?

Globally, indoor air quality has become a trending topic. People have been talking about sustainable and energy efficient buildings for the last 10-15 years. Of late, the conversation has evolved and started to focus more on the benefits to the end users, which includes health and well-being, and indoor air quality is an important component of what a sustainable building means.

Sustainable building is not just about sustainability for environment but also sustainability for people, and one of the most impactful ways to address health and wellbeing within the building is through air quality.

When you talk about Indian and Chinese markets, what will be your key focus areas?

Growth would come in different areas. The requirement for commercial space is still very low in India and China. However, people are becoming more aware in China thanks to different policies in place, especially after China’s “Airpocalypse” in 2015 and have announced environmental policies to stop industries from polluting the environment, particularly small and medium-sized companies in industrial sectors. In India, there still needs to be a lot of education. From the commercial building sector, through education and awareness raising, we are helping tenants and occupiers be more aware of the pollutants within the indoor environment. Particularly when there is poor filtration between indoor and outdoor, we generally see PM2.5, PM 10 levels elevated. However, if the building operator tries to reduce fresh air to limit contaminants, there will be a built up of carbon dioxide, which hampers cognitive function and affects employee productivity.

Considering economic growth in China and India, where do you see the growth is going to come from for your business?

Our solution adds intelligence in the filtration process. In China, the building market is fairly sophisticated and tenants are generally more aware and conscious about the indoor air, and are finding ways to obtain credible data about the indoor air quality. Indian building market, in terms of understanding and corporate response indoor air quality, is still at infancy stage, which corresponds with the lack of industrial and corporate action against the state of air quality today in India. The growth will come from where clean air is an economic necessity, for instance, in sensitive manufacturing and facilities such as pharmaceutical, semi-conductor plants, data centres, hospitals. Growth would also come from grade-A offices where talent retention is a priority, and companies are willing to invest in protecting their people.

What is going to be your sales strategy?

Ours is a B2B business model and we are building strategic partnerships in our target segments. For instance, in the building markets, we are working with consultants to help educate the developers and building owners, as our solutions can be implemented at any point of a building’s lifecycle, whether it’s a new construction, retrofit project or even building in operations.

Do you wish to collaborate with any Indian manufacturer?

We are still in the midst of discovering the market and looking forward to establish a lot of partnerships. We are targeting around 20 OEMs in Indian market.

Any particular category of OEMs you are looking at?

In terms of applications, we are targeting commercial buildings, pharmaceutical and semi-conductor industries.

What sort of investment are you putting in India?

We are reviewing the market opportunities at the moment, and exploring manufacturing in India – we are cognizant that ‘Make in India’ is important for Indian market.