MNCs dominate analytical balances market
Major multinational players offering high-end analytical balances in India include Shimadzu, Mettler Toledo, Precisa Instruments, Ohaus Corporation and Sartorius. Besides these multinationals, there are about 10 local players who have been in the business of analytical balances for quite sometime. The major local players include Contech Instruments, Citizen Scales and Afcoset. The other players in this space include Suntech Analytical, Milton Instruments, Shambhavi Impex and Sensortron.
Some of these local players have entered into tie-ups with multinationals for technology in developing analytical balances. For example, Afcoset, a Wadia group company has been in this business since 1988 by collaborating with A&D Co.Ltd of Japan. Similarly Citizen Scale has entered into an exclusive tie-up with a German company to market their balances under its brand name in India.
Multinationals such as Mettler Toledo, Ohaus Corporation entered the Indian market through the dealership route. Now these companies have their direct operations in India. Precisa Instruments and Shimadzu continue to sell their range of analytical balances through distributors like Niulab Equipment and Amkette Analytics, a group company of ANM Alliance respectively.
Sharing his views on the analytical balances market in India, Rakesh Valeja, product manager, Niulab Equipment Company, which has joined hands with Precisa Instruments AG, a Swiss company, in March last year, said, "The multinationals dominate the market share with over 75 percent of the analytical balances space while the rest belongs to the local players. This is mainly because of the accuracy and high quality that matter a lot in biopharmaceutical space."
He continued, "The market for analytical balances has been on the rise and growing at 15-20 percent. About 2,000-3,000 units of analytical balances are sold every year. Half of these are in the high-end range while the rest are from medium to low-end range of products. In the high-end range, these balances are available at a price band of Rs 50,000-Rs 1.7 lakh and the medium range balances are available in the range of Rs 40,000- Rs 75,000 per unit."
Echoing similar views, Rajendra Parkar, product specialist at Amkette Analytics, which represents Shimadzu Analytical for whole range of balances in India, said, " The market for analytical balances is huge and growing at 22-25 percent. About 2,000 units are sold every year in a price range of Rs 80,000- Rs 1.5 lakh per unit."
As noted earlier, these analytical balances are available in different segments such as premium, standard and budget. Premium segment balances fulfil the highest requirements with regard to measuring accuracy, standard features and use in quality systems: Standard Segment balances meet all the demands for practical performance of all weighing applications in the laboratory. And budget segment balances are rugged, easy-to-use balances that are ideal as school balances for the educational market, for use as a second balance, and for portable use in the field without line current.
Analytical balances from Indian companies more or less are sold in the medium to low budget range as these balances are still not meeting the industry requirements. To overcome this barrier, they have to invest in R&D activities. At the same time the government should also encourage these companies by offering incentives to take up more R&D activities so as to build competency and to face the competition in the globalization era.
There are hundreds of equipment manufacturers in India of which a few companies have already invested in R&D activities. The need of the hour is more incentives from the governments to enable these equipment manufacturers take up R&D activities.