Vedanta Group, led by Anil Agrawal, wants to capitalize on the Semiconductor PLI scheme of the Modi government. After almost four years when eco-fascists, churches, and China came together to shut down its Sterlite Copper Plant in Tamil Nadu, the group is bouncing back with the rise in prices of metals and raw materials in the last two years.
The companies of Vedanta Group are posting record profits and buoyed by this success, Anil Agrawal led company has formed a joint venture with Taiwan-based Foxconn to enter the semiconductor sector. Foxconn is one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers and in the last few years, the company has invested heavily in India.
Vedanta plans to make a 15 billion dollars investment in chips and display manufacturing in order to capitalize on the 10 billion dollar PLI scheme announced by the Modi government. Foxconn is also very bullish on India’s electronics demand and has invested 350 million dollars in the last few years. Now the Taiwanese company is expected to make investments worth billions of dollars to get a minority stake in the Vedanta led venture.
Vedanta Group has a history of making comebacks after a steep fall. After the coordinated protest by leftist and anti-national elements forced the closure of the company’s Tamil Nadu based copper plant, its shares were trading at very low prices and analysts were predicting possible bankruptcy of the firm. During the Coronavirus-induced lockdown, its shares tanked once again and the company was facing an imminent threat, but with the revival of metals, energy, and petrochemical prices, the company made a comeback.
Starting from the 1980s, Vedanta faced multiple challenges and has been on the verge of collapse many times, but every time it makes an even stronger comeback. The Agrawal family that started very small by dealing in scrap metals, has billions of dollars empire today, and probably this is the reason that they do not shy from taking big risks.
The Vedanta group has made attempts to enter the semiconductor manufacturing business earlier as well, but the lack of government support and vicious bureaucrats scuttled the attempt.
Ever since the pandemic began, the rise in demand for electronic equipment has led to an increase in the demand for semiconductors. Usually made of silicon, semiconductors are a strategic technological asset in today’s globalized world.
From car batteries to laptops to smartphones to household appliances to gaming consoles and everything in between, semiconductors perform the fulcrum of the job in powering smart electronic devices. The global semiconductor industry is valued at around 481 billion dollars as of 2018 and is dominated by companies from South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.
Semiconductors are a strategic asset and manufacturing semiconductors is a tedious as well as an arduous process. It takes months and the government of India can no longer afford to wait for such a long duration if it wants to realize the $5 trillion economy dream by 2025. Thus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aggressively batting for bringing Semiconductor manufacturing into the country.
Given the fact that India is already the second-largest player after the United States as far as the software industry is concerned, an edge in hardware manufacturing through government support would make the country a tech powerhouse.
A company like Vedanta, which has experience in the metals and energy business, will be perfect to deal with the complexity and boom and bust cycle of the semiconductor business. The business cycle of the metals is very similar to that of semiconductors although the complexity of getting involved in it is even higher. Thus, Vedanta has chosen to ally with Foxconn, the undisputed leader in electronics manufacturing. The Joint venture of Vedanta and Foxconn will definitely make the country Aatmanirbhar in semiconductor manufacturing.