Quality Remains the Watchword for Hycount

Kollam: Hycount Plastics and Chemicals (www.hycount.com), the 36-year-old PVC pipe manufacturer based in Kollam, now has a new face at its helm. Fahad Hameed, son of M A Mahaboob, Managing Partner of the company, has recently joined the business as Partner. A mechanical engineer by profession, Fahad completed his post graduation in engineering with management from Kings College, London and now looks after the daily operations of the firm, computerisation and automation.

The pioneer of PVC pipe manufacturing in Kerala, Hycount was founded by M K A Hameed, grandfather of Fahad and son-in-law of ‘cashew king’ Thangal Kunju Musaliyar. After completing his post graduation from the University of Mississippi, Hameed returned to Kerala and started promoting PVC pipes at a time when GI pipes were largely used in the State for plumbing works. Over the years, Hycount has become a synonym for quality in the sector. The company manufactures products at its own facility, having an installed capacity of 20,000 metric tonne per year. Currently, it brings out around 20 products, including CPVC (Chlorinated PVC) pipes, garden hoses, water tanks, solvent cement, electrical wiring pipes and rain harvesting units.

“Quality has been the hallmark of Hycount. It is the reason why we continue to be one of the most sought-after brands in South India. Our products are preferred by those who are quality conscious,” says Fahad, sitting at his office at Kilikolloor in Kollam. “In Kerala, we are the number one player as far as premium pipes are concerned. Only pure raw materials are used in production. We never produce low quality pipes though there is a market for that. Many low cost pipe manufacturers compromise on thickness, overlookng ISO rules and market low quality materials. When you take the cost of pipes, it will come to only less than one per cent of the total cost of building a house. But if you try to save on that, problems will crop up in your plumbing system after a few years. It may also affect the very structure of the building. Hence, it is important that you keep an eye on the quality of pipes that are used for building construction,” he adds. For Hycount, Kerala is the main market along with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The products are distributed directly to traders and the company has over 4000 dealers across the State.

“We have plans to expand the market in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the near future. Already, we have a depot in Nagercoil. Besides, we have plans to export our products to the Gulf countries. But considering the economic slowdown in the Gulf, we have slightly deferred the plan. However, we will be doing it at an appropriate time,” he adds.

Recently, Hycount ventured into electrical products segment by producing wiring pipes. However, according to Fahad, the company is not looking at an exponential model of growth. For the time being, it is also not thinking about roping in investors from outside. “We have always been proponents of sustainable business model giving emphasis to society and environment. Currently, we are focusing on vertical integration. The primary objective is to achieve the full production capacity of the existing unit. There is a general trend among businessmen to start multiple units sourcing huge capital. However, managing all those units will be a challenge, particularly in a state like Kerala,” he says.

Right from his childhood, Fahad has been groomed to play the role of a business leader. “I used to come to the office along with my father. Still I am trying to learn and formulate ideas that suit the value system being followed by the company. The most important aspect is our relationship with dealers. As of now, my father is taking care of that. I do not want to create problems due to my inexperience. Even now, we are running the firm with the same guidelines and principles laid by the founder, who passed away in 1999. He always believed that we should do business to live and not live to do business. This has created goodwill among the staff, dealers and customers. It does not mean that we should not grow. But it should only be in a phased manner,” he sums up.