Great Sports Infra gears for bigger play

Great Sports Infra gears for bigger play
Highlights

India despite being home to 12 billion population and a large number of aspiring athletes and sports persons, suffers from lack of proper sports infrastructure Hyderabadbased Anil Kumar, an athlete himself winning Bronze medal in junior nationals, saw a business opportunity in this and established Great Sports Infra GSI in 2004

Hyderabad: India despite being home to 1.2 billion population and a large number of aspiring athletes and sports persons, suffers from lack of proper sports infrastructure. Hyderabad-based Anil Kumar, an athlete himself winning Bronze medal in junior nationals, saw a business opportunity in this and established Great Sports Infra (GSI) in 2004.

And he never looked back and GSI has many firsts to its credit now. First to launch new-generation artificial grass in India and several other innovative technologies as well as products in sports infrastructure space, it has built 12 million (1.2 crore) square feet of sports facilities across 5,500 sports and landscaping sites in 25 states in India and seven countries abroad.

But notable among GSI's achievement is SubAir technology that provides mechanism to continuously drain out rain water from the outfield in a cricket stadium. That way, a stadium will be ready for play immediately after rain stops. "Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru is that first cricket stadium in the world to use this technology. Many cricket matches have been saved there after we deployed the technology.

It cost just Rs 7 crore," said Kumar, also the company’s Managing Director. The company has a range of other products on its diverse menu. They include modular gallery seating, synthetic turf for sports, synthetic athletic tracks, interlocking modular sports flooring, all-weather multi-purpose domes, turf protection system and retractable seating solutions.

"If top level sports persons don't have access to proper infrastructure, it will be difficult for them to compete at international level. All of our products and solutions are aimed at providing world class sports infrastructure in the country," Kumar explained. The company builds stadiums for all sports and games including hockey, football, etc.
On the fund-raising plans, he said GSI initiated steps to raise Rs 20-25 crore through NSE Emerge. "Major chunk of these funds will be used to meet our working capital requirements as we are logging in higher growth and payment cycles from the government are getting longer," he said.

Besides, the company is gearing up to foray into two new business areas - modular gallery and turf protection system rentals. "Funds being spent on constructing stadiums for cricket, hockey and other sports is currently a dead investment as they are hardly used for 15 days in a year. We want to change this and transform stadiums into multipurpose avenues so that they can be used for concerts, public meetings, events, round the year. A stadium can be used for any purpose by using turf protection system," he said.

GSI will use some of the funds for expanding its sales and marketing network across the country. The company's revenues reached Rs 79 crore last financial year with EBITA of Rs 12. 5,crore, from Rs 61 crore the year earlier. The company employs close to 90 people with two-thirds of them in execution side.

On the size of the sports infrastructure market in India, he said the market was growing though there were no precise estimates on its size. "We typically take up high-value projects. This segment is growing faster because government is increasing budgetary allocations for sports every year. Under Khelo India programme, the central government is allocating 100 per cent of the project cost for building sports infrastructure by the states or municipalities", he pointed, adding that projects in the private sector space were relatively smaller. He however said GSI also developed some play and pay facilities undertaken by private entities.

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